And so we end where we began: encourage others. The challenge I undertook to share covered 31 days, but since I condensed some of the tips, it resulted in fewer days and posts. I hoped to share the tips and tricks in the Earth Hero Zero Waste Challenge by giving examples from my own life; while I’ve done that, I’ve learnt things on the way as well.
Pick up trash, join a clean-up, and don’t litter! Having trash floating down the street, snagging in a bush, or flapping in the wind doesn’t just make the world look bad: it also reduces air quality, pollutes waterways, and adversely affects soil. Animals on land and in water may mistake trash for food, affecting their eating habits and eventually killing them.
I would love to bike, walk, or bus everywhere. When I lived in Cape Town, I used to do a lot more of this than I do now. It’s a much more pedestrian- and bike-friendly city and I found the public transport much easier and more accessible.
Samples and freebies are touch and go. I’ve received a gift bag or three in the past with a collection of the useful, the useless, and the unusual. Regardless of what’s inside, accept it; who knows what will happen to the items if you don’t.
Looking back at the tips and tricks, there have been many reusable items listed. Keep a collection of these in your zero-waste bag and be prepared as you refuse single-use straws, plastic forks, and throwaway cups in favour of options like reusable utensil sets, cups, water bottles, and straws.
Work from home. Work from home. Work from home. The tip in the Earth Hero challenge was “bring zero waste to work”, but I’ve been working from home for a year now and my carbon footprint has decreased GREATLY. I’d love to know by how much because the amount of emissions and waste I’ve cut down on since not having to be in the office must be massive.
This goes without saying, right? Whether it’s gadgets and gizmos or clothes and accessories, find things that have been made well and will last. That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive or that you won’t find quality items secondhand.
The next two steps relate to a spot of spring cleaning:
The zero waste challenge I’m undertaking mentions the below tips in relation to taking care of your things, which I’ve put here together since they generally relate to clothing:
Making your own toiletries is akin to making your own household cleaners: you minimise waste and the nasty chemicals found in the typical products you buy. There are all kinds of toiletries you can make yourself: shampoo, lip balm, deodorant, and soap, to name a few…just don’t make it the Fight Club way.