The 10 Green Commandments
Thou shalt REFUSE to engage in unsustainable practices.
Refuse food wrapped in plastic. Refuse single-use products. Refuse bargains and freebies that you have no immediate need for. Refuse pamphlets and business cards and simply take a picture. Living with enough integrity to be able to refuse to participate in unsustainable practices is one of the most important skills for living a zero waste lifestyle and will eradicate most of the waste from your home and your life.
Thou shalt REDUCE what you have and what you consume.
Start living a minimalist lifestyle by decluttering your home of needless items and rid your life of excess. If you have not used an item in the past 2 years, there is a good chance you will not use it any time soon. It’s time to get rid of it. To maintain a minimalist home and lifestyle, you must also reduce your overall consumption. Only take in items that add value to your life and simply refuse all the excess
Thou shalt REHOME items you no longer need.
When decluttering your home of excess items, don’t just throw them away to fill up limited landfill space. Find a new home for them. When you upgrade a phone, you can give your old one to a friend in need of one or sell it online. Clothes that you no longer need can also be sold or donated to charities and second-hand shops. Rehoming your excess items allows the next owner to breathe new life into them.
Thou shalt REUSE & REPAIR what you have.
Cheaply-made disposable items are meant to be used (usually just once) before being discarded. Not only does it waste money, since you have to continually buy the same items over and over, but they do great harm to the environment when they fill up landfills or end up as oceanic litter. Zero waste living means ridding yourself of disposables and replacing them with high-quality reusable alternatives that you can find at ZeroWasteStore. And unlike single-use disposables, buying higher quality reusable items are often designed to be easily repaired.
Thou shalt REPURPOSE items that have outlived their original purpose.
Repurposing or upcycling, old items that are no longer useful for what they were designed for is a fun exercise in creativity! Old toothbrushes become household scrub brushes for cleaning tile grouts, faucet handles, and other tight spaces. Old CDs and DVDs make for great table coasters. These are simple repurpose ideas, but you can get as elaborate as your creativity desires. Websites such as Etsy or Pinterest are great places to find innovative ideas to breathe new life into your old items.
Thou shalt RECYCLE your recyclable items.
Picking up the habit of refusing and reducing should eliminate much of your waste, but you may still find yourself with excess plastic, metal, or glass items that you can’t rehome or repurpose. This is why it is good to get serious about recycling to conserve our natural resources and keep these items from entering our landfills. Contact your city’s public works department to find out what recycling program they employ, whether it be curbside pickup or drop-off locations. You can keep a small bin at work and in your car so that you can separate recyclable items. And before you purchase something, read the packaging label to make sure the materials are recyclable.
Thou shalt ROT your organic waste by composting.
Instead adding to the toxification of our air, soil, and water inside of an air-locked landfill for decades, a composting system can turn your organic waste such as food scraps, grass clippings, cardboard packaging, etc., into nutrient-rich, fertilizing soil amendment in just a matter of months. Contact your city’s public works department to see if they have commercial composting pickup program or drop-off locations. Local farms may also welcome your compostable waste. Read blog post on Composting to learn how you can use a personal composting system to turn your scraps into rich fertilizer for your home garden.
Thou shalt REPLANT your fruits and vegetables.
If you have a home garden, hopefully you use a compost system for healthier crops. The next step in elevating your zero waste game is replanting your fruit seeds and vegetable stumps to regrow them for even more delicious food to eat. There are so many fruits and vegetables that can be regrown in the comfort of your home and a simple online search can provide you excellent methods on how to do so. What a wonderful way to take part in the circle of life!
Thou shalt RETHINK your actions and habits.
Transitioning from an environmentally unaware existence to zero waste is a lifelong journey that will force you to adjust the way you view your relationship with yourself, your community, and Mother Earth herself. It requires commitment, discipline, integrity so that your actions will always be tied to your bigger purpose. And as it is with any major lifestyle change, to successfully reach your goals you’ll adopt a new way of thinking and question your actions. Do I really need this item? Is it compostable? How will it affect the environment? Where at a previous point in life you might make a decision based on convenience without a thought, you’ll now take the time to stop and think.
Thou shalt strive to REINVENT new ways to go green.
Just as it is with rethinking, making an impact with zero waste requires a conscious effort to do so. With a new eco-minded way of thinking and a revamped belief structure, you will start to question your actions on a personal level, as well as the actions of your communities on a much larger scale. This investment in time to better understand your personal and communal consumption habits and the effects it has on the planet will cause you to become more self-aware. It is this self-awareness that grants us the ability think outside the box in search of green new solutions to solve our environmental problems and reinvent the way we consume and discard.