Zero-Waste 101 For Beginners (Like Me)

By Mommy Donna and Kib - August 06, 2018

I started to become aware of taking care of our surroundings when I was in high school.  I attended a talk about waste segregation and the effect of throwing trash anywhere can make a huge impact on the environment.  Since then, I have been very conscious of throwing trash everywhere.  If there is no trash can available, I put the trash on my bag or pocket first and throw it once I see one.

Honestly, I feel sad whenever I see people carelessly throw their trash on the streets especially when they are riding a public vehicle.  I have this urge to approach that person and tell him/her to pick up his/her trash.  There are cases wherein the trash bin is already beside him/her and yet people don't care at all to put the trash inside the trash bin.  In addition to that, people will just leave their mess on food courts, they do not even wipe the table nor organize their trash for the easy pick-up of the busboys.

As early as now, I teach my son how to throw trash properly.  I always remind him to throw it on the trash can and not just leave his trash anywhere.  I am also teaching him to segregate the recyclables so we can give it to our relative for them to sell.  

These days, the talks about having a zero-waste lifestyle is getting raves on social media.  While I am aware of recycling trash, there are still other ways of minimizing trash at home and I am in the learning process on living a zero-waste lifestyle.  

I have been chatting with a friend on Facebook about this topic and I'm so glad that she patiently answers all my queries about Reduce, Reuse, Refuse, and Recyle.

Slowly, I am adapting to zero-waste lifestyle.  While I know that I have been doing some ways little by little at present, I want to step it up and be part of our lifestyle.

I know you're curious about zero-waste lifestyle; basically it's minimizing biodegradable and non-biodegradable trash thrown in the landfills and by using products that can be used over and over again.

Some people say that going zero-waste is something only rich people can do.  Actually going zero-waste doesn't have anything to do with your socio-economic status; going zero waste is something that EVERYBODY can do.  It is more of your willpower and not of your spending power.

Are you ready to go zero-waste?

There are lots of things that you have to change on your lifestyle, but you are not required to do everything all at the same time.  To be honest, it's hard, so just do whatever your energy can do one at a time.  You are not also required to do everything, just do whatever you think you can in your capacity to make our world a better place to live.

I'll give you ways that you can easily do and as a start in having a zero-waste lifestyle:

1.  Bring your own utensils.  Instead of using disposables, bring your own stainless spoon and fork with you.  When ordering take-outs, tell the personnel not to include disposables.  

2.  Refuse the straw.  Drink straight from the glass instead.  If you can't resist, you can have your own reusable straw and always bring it with you together with your utensils.  Reusable straws can be made of silicone, hard plastic, stainless steel, glass, or bamboo.  Just choose whatever you are comfortable using, just wash them thoroughly after each use.

Having your own straw lessens trash

3.  Bring eco-bags whenever you shop or do your grocery.  Bringing your own bag whenever you shop lessens the trash at home.  Some shops give rebates to their shoppers who bring their own bags.  Even if the shopping bags of the establishments are made of paper, better to refuse if you will only buy a small item which can fit on your bag.

In Hong Kong, if you want your purchases to be in a shopping bag, you have to pay extra for that, so it is common for Hong Kong residents to bring a luggage whenever they shop.

Look how much plastic you will accumulate if you will not bring your own eco bag when shopping

4.  Buy in bulk.  Buying in bulk may seem to be heavy on the budget, but if you will do your computation based on the small packages that you buy on a regular basis, you will save a lot too.  Buying in small packs/sachets add to the trash.  Just have small containers at home should you need to bring or use small quantities.

5.  Sort trash.  Recyclables like paper, plastic bottles, and cans can be sold to the junk shops, so have a dedicated space for recyclables in your house and you can either sell it or donate it.

6.  Bring containers when you do grocery shopping.  You can put your meats and vegetables inside the containers.  Some groceries do not accept containers though, so you can try going to the local market for your meats and vegetables shopping.

Road to zero waste: it's my first time to bring a microwaveable container in doing grocery! I always bring an eco bag whenever we go grocery shoppinh and I just took a risk in bringing containers for meats. Good thing SM Hypermarket in Cainta accepted my containers (some supermarkets do not). They even tried to put it in a plastic but I refused. Well, some of the veggies that I bought at the grocery were still in a plastic, what I did I just put all of them in one plastic and all the tags are in that plastic. I still have a long way to go in minimizing waste at home but by doing something little by little will make a huge impact. How about you, what are you currently doing to minimize waste at home? #zerowaste #ecofriendly #ecoliving #reuse #reduce #refuse #recycle #environment #shopping #groceryshopping #smhypermarket
A post shared by Donna Donor (@donababe) on

The list goes on.....just start on those things I mentioned above because if you will try to do everything to go on a zero-waste lifestyle, it will overwhelm you.

If you want to step up the challenge on going zero-waste and if you're accustomed in doing the above-mentioned simple steps, you can do the following:

  • using cloth menstrual pad/menstrual cup/cloth diapers/cloth wipes
  • ecobricking
  • composting (traditional, vermicompost, bokashi compost)
  • bringing containers for take-outs
  • switch on using shampoo and conditioner bars

Going zero-waste is something that needs sheer determination, but you can do it one by one!  No need to do all of the things I mentioned above, it's really hard to be a purist, but by doing something little in your own way will create a big impact to our environment.

Go zero waste!

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