Shifting to a zero-waste lifestyle is indeed challenging but always worth the try. It is a journey that requires commitment and love for our environment as well as to our family, friends, and countrymen.
The effort one exerts into living waste-free can be turned into a habit and eventually a lifestyle that shall also influence others to do the same. No one can do it alone, as they say. It requires a collective work to make something work especially if it is for the greater good.
In commemoration with the proclamation of January as National Zero-Waste Month, here are some tips on how to exercise a #zerowaste lifestyle:
- Say NO to plastic or single-use straws
We all know that milk teas are in and the use of straws is encouraged to enjoy the drink. However, plastic straws go straight to landfills and even to the ocean after use.
Others have used paper straws are substitutes. However, while they are better than plastic ones, they are also for single-use only; thus, getting disposed right away after consumption. It is advisable to use re-usable and washable straws to enjoy milk tea or beverages with pearls or sago(s).
You may totally eliminate the use of straws totally if it is not essential. Drink straight from the glass or your tumbler. However, straws are pertinent to people with disabilities or under treatment hence discarding the use of it is not advised yet it is encouraged to utilize re-usable ones.
- Bring your own refillable water bottle and reusable cutlery
People on-the-go are often the consumers of bottled water and disposable cutlery. To practice a zero-waste lifestyle, it is encouraged to bring your own refillable water bottle (imagine how much you can save from buying bottled ones). Re-usable cutlery is also important especially if you eat fast food. It is better to consume washables instead of throwing away single-use utensils after.
- Use handkerchief instead of tissue
In less intimate need like wiping the face or the mouth, a handkerchief is encouraged for use. This way, you’d be able to eliminate unnecessary tissues. In case there is a need to maintain a pile of tissues or paper towels, choose a biodegradable one.
- Recycle your old sheets as rags, handkerchiefs, or re-usable tissues or paper towels
Instead of throwing away old bed sheets or pillowcases, turn it into a washable material that you can re-use. You will notice how much solid waste you can reduce and how much money you could save without buying such consumables.
- Donate things you do not use anymore instead of throwing them away
We all like to purchase things and sometimes things we do not need; hence, paved the way for us disposing of items that we have replaced or no longer be used. Instead of throwing these items away, consider donating them to those who are in need especially clothes, bedsheets, and towels.
If you are looking for charities and organizations where you can give your pre-loved pieces, here are some groups you may consider:
Philippine Red Cross
Lourdes 1, 661 Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City
Contact No.: (02) 527-0000
E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will update this list further.
- Use and bring eco-bags anywhere you go shopping
Bringing your own eco-bags can save you at least Php1 to Php25. Malls and groceries usually charged a certain amount in case you want to have your purchases in plastic or re-usable bags they sell.
Eco-bags are better than plastic in holding your items, especially heavy ones. If you have produce, it is advisable to bring your own canisters. In this way, you can directly store it in your refrigerator or freezer without throwing away plastics that can no longer be re-used.
- Purchase products with no packaging or with minimal packaging
Fancy packaging can entice our eyes and affect our purchase decisions. However, too much of a product packaging can also have drawbacks in our environment especially if it is not functional or cannot be turned into another piece.
- Utilize bar soaps and shampoos instead of liquid ones
Liquid soaps and shampoos are usually stored in plastic bottles that we typically cannot recycle after. These plastic bottles though can be sold to junkshops, although some still end up in landfills and particles of it can go directly to our sewage system and ocean.
- Try cloth diapering
For parents with babies, a diaper is a staple item. While it is essential for babies, it is not recyclable nor re-usable and automatically ends up in landfills. To reduce waste products caused by piling disposable diapers, try cloth diapering.
A baby, on average, consumes five to eight diapers per day. If all end up in the trash, there will be around 35 to 56 diapers in a week, 140 to 224 per month, and 1,680 to 2,688 per year. A diaper costs an estimate of Php10 per each depending on the brand, which is at least P16,800 to P26,880 annually.
Cloth diapers are reusable diapers made of cotton and microfiber (please research on the effects of using microfibers and its production, too). A cloth diaper can hold at least six to ten times of pee before it gets soiled. It is easy to clean and quick to dry after washing. It is non-irritating too so your babies can sleep and play well.
- Make a meal plan
A meal plan can help you to cook or prepare food that is only appropriate to the size of your household. In this way, you can reduce or eliminate food waste.
These are only ten of the many ways we can commit to a zero-waste lifestyle. If it happens you lost track along the way, it is the time to go back, and remember that we do it because we deserve a better environment not only for us but for our family, friends, and the entire nation.