Upon first discovering the movement of zero waste and the lifestyle it created, I believed that applying the concept to my busy, daily routine would be too difficult to even attempt. The zero waste movement encompasses individually conserving resources by means of responsible consumption and use, shown through using as little non-reusable plastics, micro-plastics and creating little to no trash. Society is partly ineffective in mitigating climate change and achieving sustainable causes due to people acting only within the purview of their lifetime. Our socioeconomic structure doesn’t incentivize the preservation of Earth for future generations, yet the zero waste movement serves as a catalyst toward promoting individual altruistic action and sustainability.
With the application of a zero-waste mindset, the number of toxins released into the air and the use of landfills may decrease. This lifestyle promotes a circular flow of material for sustaining the environment for the future. It may be difficult for students, faculty members or whoever is reading this to see how one can apply this movement to their daily routine, considering we all live such busy lives. However, it is possible, and small choices lead to and impact bigger ones. Check out these small changes that you can make to use less waste and move toward a zero-waste lifestyle!
A Reusable Boba Straw:
We get it, Berkeley is stressful, and what better way to recuperate than treating yourself to boba two or three times a week? Invest in a metal boba straw to reduce your plastic usage and waste. It’s also guaranteed to slice through the plastic top better than a plastic boba straw!
Quite minimalistic, shampoo bars are package-free, multipurpose and have a low-carbon footprint. Bars tend to be more concentrated and longer-lasting than their plastic container counterparts.
You’ve definitely heard this one before: opting for reusable bags is a sustainable practice to decrease plastic usage. Level up by bringing smaller reusable bags to fill up your bulk foods, like almonds, fruits or any loose items that would be otherwise put in plastic containers.
Loose Leaf Tea:
Nylon tea bags, advertised sometimes as ‘silk tea’ bags, are really just micro-plastics that harm the environment and your body — leeching micro-plastics into each cup of tea. If you are an avid tea drinker, consider a tea ball and loose leaf tea.
Beyond throwing your draft essay into the recycling, reuse it for your workout log or writing secret love letters to your crush!
This floss is completely biodegradable, and retains the same functionality and strength as plastic dental floss.
Shop Refills on Beauty Products:
Ask yourself: “What beauty products do I truly need?’’ and buy from eco-friendly beauty companies that refill products.
Minimalist bulk food purchases generally correspond to a reduction in plastic usage and waste. You can also waste less by buying less. Zero waste can be applied to buying individual items, such as individual pens and pencils, rather than packs of pens and pencils.
Reduce Food Waste:
Whether you’re a first-year eating in the dining halls or a fifth year in an apartment, lessening your food waste by any means or degree possible has an impact! Use reusable utensils and containers for to-go meals and take only what you can eat from the dining halls (you can always go back for seconds, thirds and fourths).
You may already be aware of and implement some of these easy changes in your life. Even if so, I highly recommend “leveling up’’ in any way you see fit! Berkeley is a great site to partake in the journey of sustainability and the zero-waste mindset. Many shops promote the concept of zero waste through selling in bulk and providing glass and non-plastic containers. Check out Berkeley Bowl and Lhasa Karnak Herb Company for bulk selection and allowance of reusable bags for checkout and produce items, or Plentea for boba in a reusable glass container. Hopefully, your sustainable action should be based on a place of positivity, rather than guilting yourself into it. Consider implementing a few suggestions from this post into your life!