Waste Less, Live More! By Nancy Lotecki-Neely of Zero Waste Caledon

Waste Less, Live More!

Have you ever wondered if it would be possible to actually go zero waste? I’ve wondered the same, and as it turns out, it’s easier than you’d think.

At the beginning of 2019, I set myself a goal of creating only one small jar of garbage, and to significantly cut down on my use of plastics and packaging. Of course, we’re all aware that waste is huge environmental problem – incineration contributes to air pollution, landfills are a source of greenhouse gases and plastics are contaminating our oceans.

Each of us creates waste, and each of us has control over how much, or how little, waste we actually produce. We often think of waste as a problem that the manufacturers create with their need to over-package everything, but with a little advanced planning and some changes to our own habits, we can reduce our waste and live simpler and more sustainable lifestyles!

So where can you start? The best way to reduce your waste is to not create it in the first place. Here are 5 suggestions for easy and affordable (or even free!) ways to reduce your waste. Pick one or two and give them a try!

Jennifer Lyon checking out the bulk soap options at  Zero Waste Bulk

Jennifer Lyon checking out the bulk soap options at Zero Waste Bulk

1. Audit Your Waste

For the next few weeks, make note of what’s going in your garbage and think about ways to reduce your waste. How many disposable or single-use items do you use? Can any items be swapped for more sustainable packing? Can any of it be re-used, recycled or repaired?

2. Shop Package-Free

Opt for the package-free version whenever you can. Choose loose vegetables instead of the packaged ones. Ask your local butcher or cheese shop if you can bring in your own containers. Shop at the local farmers market.

3. Shop in Bulk

Pop into your local bulk store and see what they sell. Ask how it works. Bring your own jars and shop for some great items like nuts, seeds, rice, oils, nut butters, and even candy!

4. Switch to Reusable

Beeswax wraps from  Wellie & Co .

Beeswax wraps from Wellie & Co.

Make the switch from disposable to reusable. Bring your own grocery and produce bags. Skip the single-use items like straws or coffee cups. Choose beeswax wraps over cling film, or reusable snack bags instead of plastic zip lock bags.

DIY Beauty with  Make This Universe  and  The Eco Well

DIY Beauty with Make This Universe and The Eco Well

5. Make it yourself

There are so many easy and affordable recipes for things you can make at home. Try making your own no-knead bread or almond butter – both only take about 10 minutes to make. Try making your own all-purpose cleaner. Whip up a batch of sugar scrub or moisturizer and give your skin a treat.

I’ve been a living a zero-waste lifestyle for just over three months now, and it’s already second nature to me. Of course, I still face some challenges (I’m still looking for the perfect DIY deodorant recipe) and I still make some waste (e.g. produce stickers, blister package of cold medication). But my life is simpler, I’m saving money and I’m making much healthier choices (I’ve even lost a bit of weight!). I’m also making much less of an impact on the planet, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

So start where you are, give it a try and see what a difference you can make!  

To learn more about how you can reduce your waste or to sign up for a zero waste workshop, visit my Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/zerowastecaledon. You can also email me at zerowastecaledon@gmail.com.

Nancy’s next Zero Waste Workshop will be held on May 25th in Inglewood. For more details or to register, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/808879776135829/?ti=ia

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Nancy Lotecki-Neely is a local Caledon resident and “zero-waster”. Nancy’s goal for 2019 is to create only one mason jar of garbage, and to significantly reduce her use of plastic and packaging. She has a Master’s degree in Science and a Master’s in Public Health majoring in environmental health, and currently works in the public health sector focusing on air quality and climate change. Nancy runs “Zero Waste Caledon”, a local environmental initiative with the aim to inspire residents of Caledon and surrounding areas to waste less and live simpler, more sustainable lifestyles. Her motto is “Waste Less, Live More!”. Nancy plans to write a book about her year-long experience. Follow her journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zerowastecaledonor send her an email at:zerowastecaledon@gmail.com