10 Life Changing Reasons to Switch to Zero-Waste Living
What if I told you that living a life of less waste is not only about bettering your environmental footprint, but that in fact there are many other benefits of living a zero waste lifestyle.
Sure, improving our eco-footprint is at the heart of WHY most of us want to live without waste but there are so many other benefits of living a zero-waste life.
4 years ago when we started our own zero-waste journey, it dawned on me after a few months that we were not only making positive changes to help our planet, but we were also making positive changes to our way of living and our household.
So here are 10 of the life-changing reasons to say no to the waste and start your own zero-waste journey.
1. You will create more space in your life and your house
Less of one thing means more of something else – right? Of course!
Living a waste-free life is about making conscious purchasing decisions. It’s about considering the life span of what you’re purchasing and checking in on what you allow into your household.
Perhaps you often pick up a bargain at the $2 shop, or you’re a little tempted by the sales. I know I was. But since I’ve made a pact to buy less, and to buy with Mother Nature in mind – we have much less clutter in our house.
Less clutter and fewer 'things' in the house allows more space for happiness and less feelings of stress and anxiety.
So next time you go to grab a 2 for 1 item, or a $2 bargain – perhaps think twice about it and ask yourself 'do I really need this'?
2 . Switching to less waste will save you money
Buying fewer ‘things’ means you are spending less money!
It’s amazing what a shift in mindset can do.
Plus, moving towards a zero-waste life means considering 2nd hand items over brand new and supporting a circular economy.
In 2021, I made a pact to buy only 2nd hand clothes for the entire year. When it came time for new jeans, I was a little nervous (as jeans can be hard to buy at the best of times), but to my surprise – I found 3 pairs for just $30 at an op shop! I was thrilled – and probably saved myself about $200!.
Living a zero-waste life is also about choosing reusable items over disposables. When we first switched to reusable nappies over disposable nappies – the savings were HUGE.
Why not make your own pact to only buy 2nd hand clothes this year, or choose 1 reusable item to switch to (i.e. a razor, a drink bottle, or women's essential items). And note down how much money you're saving. By the end of the year you'll be amazed by how much you've managed to save.
3. You're becoming a role-model for and influencing your children
I feel like this is almost the MOST important reason to start living sustainably and to really knuckle down on your household waste.
You see all we have is the future. There is no turning back. And without being all doom and gloom, it’s hard to say what future we will have if we don’t start raising a generation of Earth and Planet loving warriors who genuinely care about their environmental footprint.
It’s never too young to teach children about recycling, or composting and ‘what bin’ this or that belongs in.
My 6 and 4 year old now pick up rubbish out on our walks and say ‘here Mum, I’ve found some rubbish for you’. They’ve obviously learnt from me, as I’m always picking up rubbish along our walks. I can’t help but be so proud of this. They recognize it shouldn’t be there, and they make a conscious choice to pick it up.
If we can raise children to start taking rubbish seriously, then we may be on our way to a brighter future. But it has to start NOW.
Start thinking of ways you can help YOUR children start living a more eco-conscious life.
4. You'll become an inspiration to family members and friends
Your earth-loving changes will be recognized by family members, friends and co-workers, not just your children.
When we start taking steps towards bettering our planet and bettering our environmental footprint, it’s hard for others NOT to respond.
My Mum has started making little changes here and there - like switching from plastic produce bags to our reusable ones. I'm not sure if she would have done this, if it weren't for my own eco goals!
Truthfully, most people do feel guilty about their waste, it’s simply a matter of the ‘too hard basket’. Once they see that change is possible, they're more likely to start making changes themselves.
So, what do you say, is it time to be the zero-waste influencer in your family?
5. You'll no longer be contributing to the plastic that's destroying our oceans & marine life
The amount of plastic trash that flows into the oceans every year is expected to nearly triple by 2040 to 29 million metric tons. (national geographic)
Out of sight, out of mind – right? Here's the thing though, just because we don’t see the plastic waste in our oceans, doesn’t mean it’s not there and causing damage.
Tangaroa Blue have a different story to tell. This non-profit organization are dedicated to removing marine debris from our oceans. Running clean up events around Australia year wide, all in the name of our ocean & OUR plastic waste.
And plastic kills. It’s killing marine life, birds and land animals. There’s no denying the fact that plastic is detrimental to our environment and the wildlife within it.
Sadly we all play a part in this worldwide environmental problem. Intentional? Of course not. Plastic is almost impossible to avoid in this modern-day life. Even in our household, we sometimes choose convenience - which means plastic bags with our click and collect food order, and packaged snacks for the kids.
Here’s the thing though, every piece of plastic you can say NO to, or recycle, or replace with a better option, you ARE playing your part in helping our oceans and the wildlife within them.
6. You won't be adding to the toxic waste in landfills
I know I said that living a zero-waste life isn’t all about bettering your environmental footprint. But it is at the heart of it, and there’s no denying that our waste IS detrimental to our planet.
Sending our waste off to landfills is a HUGE problem. Landfill waste emits methane gas, which is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Other materials that end up in our landfills can also leach toxins into the soil (think computers, phones, and other electrical items). Then there’s the leachate, the liquid material that drains from landfill and contaminates our waterways. Need I go on...??
So next time you go to pop your leftover dinners in your bin, or a disposable coffee cup, take a second to consider where it's ending up and what it's doing to our environment. And perhaps make a pact to do better next time.
7. You will feel less guilty about your eco footprint
Take the previous two points and imagine how you’ll feel when you are no longer contributing to this HUGE environmental problem.
I was overridden with guilt before we started our waste-free journey. Every time I’d put our full bins out for collection, I’d hope no one was watching. I didn’t even know the true impact it was having on the environment. I just knew it wasn’t good, and being the nature and animal lover that I was, I really felt like I was letting myself down (and my family!).
Now, we can go 8 or 9 or even 10 weeks without putting our bins out for collection. This year I'm aiming to go for 52 weeks - the whole year!! And I can tell you, the relief I feel is amazing. I feel like I'm playing my role in helping to better the Planet.
Why not do a little self check-in. Next time you go to grab a plastic bag for some fruit n veg, or you go to buy that packaged sandwich – just think twice about it. And remember, that your small impact CAN make a BIG difference.
8. You will feel happier!
Picture this, a house with less clutter (because you’re not buying as much), a house with less plastic bottles filling your bathroom and laundry, and a house with bins that are pretty much empty. How do you think you will feel? Hopefully happier. I sure am!
I may be a recycling nerd (or queen as my son calls me), but I can honestly say I am proud of what we have achieved. I feel immense joy in knowing that we are playing our role in helping to better our environmental footprint, the oceans and Mother Nature.
And once you start seeing results, it gives you more of a reason to do even better, and then even better than that.
It's a dominoes effect, but in a good way!
Why not set yourself a little challenge. See if you can first reduce your weekly waste by half. And then another half. Then check-in and see how you feel. I bet you will feel happier too!
9. Your shopping list will shrink
Choosing to live a less-waste life means choosing to shop consciously. It’s about quitting the disposables and investing in quality products that will last you a lifetime (not just a day or a week).
So here are just a few things that I NEVER buy in my weekly shop anymore. Paper towel, cling wrap, cleaning cloths, disposable cups/plates, serviettes, bin bags (without the waste, no bag required), house cleaners (I choose DIY instead), tampons and pads, zip-lock plastic bags, disposable razors...the list goes on.
Buying less means your shopping list is much smaller, and you probably don’t even need to shop as much – which is a win-win in my world.
10. You will be making a huge positive impact to our precious Planet.
‘We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly’
I’m not sure of the origin of this quote, but I’ve seen it so many times shared on Social Media, and it totally resonates.
You CAN make a difference by living a zero-waste life. In fact, you can make a huge difference.
By just saying to no disposable produce bags, you could be diverting up to 500 bags from ending up in landfills or our oceans in one year.
Or, let’s look at women’s essentials. A standard woman’s pad does not break down, and you could potentially use up to 300 pads a year! Switching to a reusable option, you’ll be making a huge difference to what could be ending up in our landfills and waterways.
No great achievement was ever reached without first believing that it could be.
Every step you take towards zero-waste - Mother Nature does a little happy dance
Whether you take one of the reasons and run with it, or all 10..the fact is that you’re here and that's already one huge step in the right direction.
Choosing to live a zero-waste lifestyle may not come easy to you, but it’s all about taking that first step. Saying no to that one thing. Or choosing 2nd hand over new. Choose one little thing and make it your thing. Write it down. Tell a friend. Switch your mindset into believing it’s possible.
What do you think, is it time to join the zero-waste movement and start changing your life for the better?