Zero Waste Hero: who are we?
Hey there! Welcome to our first blog at Zero Waste Hero! If you're not familiar with us, we're a Canadian-owned one-stop-shop for sustainable and ethically sourced home and beauty products. Our mission is to make the transition to minimal impact living as easy as possible. Naturally, a big part of this will be educating consumers, so we're going to begin publishing regular blogs aimed at covering the latest news in the world of sustainability, sharing eco-friendly lifestyle ideas, and much more.
To kick-off, we have a special topic that hits close to home for us: the top 3 eco-friendly lifestyle changes for beginners. No one starts as a sustainability guru, eco-warrior, or whatever you want to call it. For most of us, it begins with the gradual realization that our lifestyle has a real, significant impact on the future and world, leading to small one-by-one steps aimed at reducing that impact. If that sounds like you, and you're at the begging of this journey, here is our top 3 simple lifestyle change suggestion for the easiest and most effective way to go green.
Number 1: swap out one-time use items for reusable alternatives
We'll be honest – this one might take a bit of getting used to at first, but once you make the transition, you'll never go back.
When it comes to cutlery, plates, bags, or whatever else, one-time-use items are a waste, no matter the material. It just doesn't make sense – why should all that hard work and processing going into an item that is used for a minute and then thrown out? Of course, some alternatives (e.g. wood and paper) are more sustainable than others (e.g. plastics), and you should opt for those if forced to choose. However, ideally, everything you use should be reusable.
That said, you have to be careful with reusable options and pick and choose your battles. That's because reusable items often have a larger initial footprint than a disposable option (think of a metal water bottle vs. a paper cup). However, as you continue to use that reusable item repeatedly, the impact per use becomes much lower than the single-use items. So when you purchase that reusable alternative, make sure you're committed!
Our suggestion here is to start slow and integrate reusable options into your daily routine one at a time. As you'd expect, taking care of your reusable item and remembering to bring it along for the journey can be hard at first - unfortunately, disposable options are just too convenient in today's busy world. Still, once you adjust, it'll be like second nature. Not to mention, reusable alternatives can be much more premium and enjoyable to use throughout the day.
If you're interested in reusable alternatives, we've got you covered at Zero Waste Hero! We're proud to carry the best, ethically sourced reusable bottles, bags, makeup pads, and everything else you need to make that transition when you're ready.
Number 2: cut back on the red meat
This one is going to let you hit two birds with one stone (figuratively, of course), as cutting back on red meat is better for both yourself and the planet.
It's no secret that scientists worldwide have been taking a second look at red meat and our obsession with it over the past few years. This topic deserves its own deep dive, but let's keep it straight and to the point. Here are some quick takes on red meat:
- Environmental Impact: livestock production destroys the environment like nothing else. This industry alone accounts for 15% of all total greenhouse emissions, 20 to 33% of all freshwater use, and occupies 30% of the planet's land surface. The majority of this impact can be attributed to cattle.
- Health Impact: a high intake of red meats can be linked to a higher chance of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death. The science around this is subject is still rapidly evolving, but, for now, the major consensus suggests that regular red meat consumption is not good news for the health.
All of this goes without mentioning the moral questions around meat production (we tried to stick to the objective facts here). All these reasons make reducing red meat consumption the perfect way to limit your footprint and go green. That doesn't necessarily have to mean going vegetarian or vegan right off the bat (that's still out of sight for many of us), but you should be mindful of what you consume.
This mindfulness can come about in many ways, but the key is to experiment and see what works for you. For example, try setting a target of, say, 3 or 4 meals with red meat per week, having nights of the week dedicated to vegetarian or pescatarian meals, or even just trying out going vegan for a week every month. Overall, reducing red meat consumption will help you create a positive impact while bringing new flavours and diversity to your diet.
You're not alone either - there are some exciting consumer-led disruptions on the way for the meat industry, including lab-grown meats, plant-based alternatives, and the rising popularity of less resource-intensive options such as chicken. We'll cover all of this in a future blog as well!
Number 3: donate, donate, and donate some more! (if you can)
We get it – a full switch to a minimal impact lifestyle can be challenging. However, if there is one quick and easy step to create impact immediately, it's donating.
There is no lack of great environmental charities out there. Some of our favourites include Bruce Trail Conservancy, Earthjustice, and Rainforest Alliance, but you can find plenty of other great options with a quick online search. All you have to do is pick one that resonates best with you and give what you can!
Donations don't need to be monetary either - one of the best things you can do is give away unwanted clothes. The textile industry is one of the worst environmental offenders, and still, only about 15% of clothes are recycled or donated. So next time you visit your cramped closet and see that shirt you haven't worn in ages, know that clearing it out through donation will be a massive favour for yourself, someone in need, and the planet. You can also try volunteering if you want to just get involved with a charity in person and help them grow their reach!
At the end of the day, a zero waste living journey is just that: a journey. That means everyone's path toward reducing their environmental impact is going to be very different. While we think these are the easiest 3 steps for going green, you might find other changes that are a better fit for your lifestyle – and that's totally fine! All that matters is that we keep trying, staying mindful, and making progress step by step.
If you enjoyed this blog, sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of the page here if you haven't yet and keep your eyes out, as we'll continue to release other informative pieces regularly. Also, make sure to follow us on social media and visit us for a collection of the best sustainable and ethically sourced products that will make your transition to a low impact lifestyle as easy as possible.