When we created our product line, we were determined to do everything we could to make less of an impact on the planet, but the process was a little easier said than done. While we dreamed of creating a fully sustainable line of products, we hit some roadblocks along the way. But, we continued to search for ways to reduce our impact and waste, like using recycled shipping products and taking advantage of the UPS carbon neutral program. With that mission in mind, we recently connected with zero-waste expert, Ushma Pandya, at Think Zero Home for tips on how we can live "a life that feels less consumed by stuff".
NM :: What are some easy ways we can all reduce waste in our homes?
UP :: One of the biggest areas of waste is food – food represents close to 35% of the municipal solid waste in the US.
- Eat all the food you buy. Make sure you are buying in appropriate quantities, monitoring what is in your pantry and refrigerator/freezer and meal planning.
- Compost your scraps and find ways to donate / pass on what you will not use. I donate to the food bank and I post in my local Buy Nothing Group. For example, recently I bought a new maple syrup brand that received a thumbs down from my kids. I posted the big bottle of syrup on the forum and my neighbor came by and grabbed it for her kids.
Second, identify your high-volume single use items and make a swap (i.e. go from ziplock to a reusable silicone bag). Start small and pick 1 or 2 items to switch out to see what is doable for your family.
NM :: What are some of your favorite products that help reduce waste?
UP :: There are many great products that have come onto the market in the past few years to help people go “zero waste”. But before you buy, see if you can repurpose what you have in your home or if you can source second hand. (e.g., I made a “to go” bag with reusable cutlery and straws that I sourced from items at home). But sometimes one does need to purchase some items; here are a few that we think are awesome.
- WeDueBest – Beautiful to-go cutlery sets and silicone lids. Use ThinkZero15 for 15% off
- Plaine Products – has wonderful beauty care in refillable bottles; you sign up for a subscription and you return the bottles when empty. Use ThinkZero for 20% off your order
- Last Object – Reusable cotton swabs, cotton rounds and tissues. Use ThinkZero for 10% off your order.
- Stasher Bags – Reusable silicon bags that are heavy duty, easy to clean and can be used to pack snacks for on the go. You can even use for food storage.
NM :: What are some attainable waste reduction goals to set for the New Year?
UP :: I think it is important to start with small steps, so it does not feel overwhelming. For example, if you normally use ziplock bags for food storage in the house and snacks on the go – transition to reusable bags (there are many options out there).
Some potential easy first goals for the new year could include:
- Start composting if your city or town provides the service (or contract with a micro hauler)
- Eliminate ziplock bags and saran wrap – switch to reusable containers and covers
- Carry reusable cutlery with you (and when you order in, ask for no plates, napkins or cutlery)
- Call all your junk mail companies and ask to be taken off the mailing list
- Switch to low packaging shampoo / conditioner / body soap bars and eliminate the plastic bottles
The Think Zero Team (Tim Sexton)
If you'd like more help leading a zero waste life, Think Zero Home provides 1:1 coaching and support through virtual (and hopefully in-person soon) consultations. They also recently launched a Low Waste Home Starter Kit. You can book a consultation or purchase a starter kit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Mention code NEATMETHOD for $50 off your home consultation or for $5 off the starter kit.
the NEAT team
Some of the product links are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.