So you've got the metal straws and enough eco-bags to hold a lifetime supply of shampoo bars and bamboo toothbrushes, what's next?
If you're looking to level up your zero-waste efforts, we've rounded up a few more suggestions for you:
1. Cut down on delivery disposables.
More often than not, the demands of a fast-paced lifestyle leave us with not much choice but to just have food delivered at home or in the office. Convenient, right?
Sadly, this option usually comes with more than a handful of single-use plastic and paper items that can actually be done without.
Think about it: Sauces are packed in individual plastic pouches, plastic utensils are wrapped in tissue inside a tiny plastic bag, meals are placed inside containers made of plastic or styrofoam, drinks are inside plastic containers and straws are included. And all these come inside one or more plastic bags. Yikes!
The next time you dial that delivery number, make it a point to request for no single-use items or just the ones you absolutely need.
We know it can be quite the hassle to make this extra step, but think about how much trash you're accumulating every single time you order takeout. Besides, there are a good number of restaurants that are already making a conscious effort to reduce single-use waste.
2. Be an influencer.
Being an "influencer" doesn't just mean having a bajillion followers on Facebook or posting Instagram stories every minute. In this day and age when just about anyone has a voice online, wouldn't you want to use social media for social good?
If you're a bit more private about your personal life (Relate!), you can start with your circle of closest friends. Give your loved ones gifts that say no to single-use. Start conversations on plastic pollution and more sustainable alternatives. Be that voice in their head that gives a disapproving "Tsk, tsk" when they reach for a plastic straw or get their drink in a disposable cup.
3. Read up!
Educate yourself on why plastic pollution needs to be urgently addressed, particularly in the Philippines. Search for products or brands that support zero-waste efforts and make sure to check for greenwashing tactics.
Why is it important to go for a zero-waste lifestyle in the first place? Nakikiuso ka lang ba?
(Image from Less Plastic UK)
Understanding the impact of plastic pollution on the oceans can give you stronger motivation to sustain zero-waste habits and encourage yourself and others to do more.
(Image from Futurism.com)
4. Wear zero-waste.
On the topic of discovering brands that take extra steps to reduce waste, did you know that you can apply zero-waste efforts to jazz up your #ootd, too?
Candid Clothing is one example. Apart from working directly with skilled garment makers, providing training opportunities, fair pay, and flexible work schedules, the company uses factory surplus fabric and trains communities to create upcycled accessories from fabric scraps like these zero-waste tassel earrings.
Another way to go about this is to refrain from buying from fast-fashion retailers and make borrowing clothes or buying second-hand items an option.
5. Buy refills or larger containers.
This one's pretty self-explanatory. Why buy several small items of the same kind when you can just get refills?
Messy Bessy has refill sizes for most of their home cleaning and personal care products. Our personal favorite is the Be Poolite deodorizer spray that comes in a cute travel-sized spritzer and a much larger bottle.
Apart from cutting back on packaging waste, buying in bulk sizes also helps you reduce transportation costs, be it to the mall or for deliveries. Less carbon footprint for you, too!
It's important to note that, while every little step counts, it's equally important to make these changes at your own pace. Don't be too hard on yourself. And don't be too hard on others just starting their own zero-waste journey either. At the end of the day, it's not a competition and we're all in this together.
Any other zero-waste ideas you can add to this list? ICYMI, we've got 5 Simple Tips to Start a Zero Waste Lifestyle here.