Sustainable Living

How to Make Zero Waste Living A No-Brainer

Here, we share five painless (and even pleasurable) zero-waste habits you can incorporate into your routine right now.

5 min read

With plastics piling up in our landfills and accumulating in our oceans, many people around the globe are aspiring to live a reduced-waste, or even a zero-waste, lifestyle.

But if you’re been happily partaking in the average North America existence for as long as you can remember (i.e. consuming single-use coffee cups, water bottles and plastic grocery bags without a second thought), moving to a reduced-waste reality can be quite the shock to the system.

Here, we share five painless (and even pleasurable) zero-waste habits you can incorporate into your routine right now.

1) Carry Your Own Grocery Bags with You 

While you might have already purchased a reusable cloth grocery bags for your groceries, how many times have you found yourself at the till, realizing that you’ve left it at home? 

Carrying a thin cloth grocery bag that you can fold up and storing it in your purse or jacket pocket will ensure you’re always prepared for those last-minute shopping trips on the way home from work.

2) Say Goodbye to Plastic Clamshell Containers 

You’ve sworn off plastic grocery bags, but when you find yourself in the produce aisle you’re tempted by those strawberries cloaked in a plastic clamshell container.

Along with a large reusable grocery bag, be sure to bring along a smaller reusable bag for produce items, such as a bushel of spinach or those broccoli stems.

Even better, save your produce shopping for the farmer’s market where plastic containers are used much less frequently.

3) Keep a Zero-Waste Kit in Your Car

Say “So long” to plastic cutlery, paper napkins and single-use beverage containers. Instead, keep a reusable water bottle, bamboo cutlery set, metal straw and cloth napkins at your desk, in your purse or in your car.

4) BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug) 

There’s a reason why celebrities everywhere are being snapped taking strolls with their favourite ceramic mug in-hand. Not only does it look oh-so-chic, it’s also fantastic for the planet. Do like JLo and Selena Gomez and bring your own mug, or to-go cup with you the next time you do a Starbucks run. Bonus: Many coffee purveyors, including Starbucks, give customers a discount when the beverage is poured into the customer’s own container.

5) Shop Only at Zero-Waste Grocery Stores

Packaging-free stores such as Nada, and The Soap Dispensary and Kitchen Staples in Vancouver, B.C. where our Drinkfill’s headquarters are based, are making it easy and convenient to live a zero-waste lifestyle. The retailers sell groceries and household staples such as olive oil, peanut butter, milk, yogurt and soaps in bulk, which can be dispensed into customers’ own containers.

That said, with bulk grocery shopping out of the question since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many zero-waste grocery stores have had to adjust their practices.

In the meantime, if you must buy packaged goods such as cereal, pasta or flour, look for glass, cardboard or paper packaging as opposed to plastic.

Do you have any other tips for making the zero-waste lifestyle easy, painless and even a pleasure?

Share them in the comments below!