| Environmental Columns

Your successful transition to zero waste

Transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle is different for everyone. There’s no one formula. While expert advice is helpful, it still has to be adapted to your particular life circumstances.

Knowing your limits

In a process like this, knowing your limits is vital for success.

First, there are non-negotiable limits, such as those related to health imperatives. For example, for someone with food allergies, bulk stores are a challenge since they cannot control cross contamination. Then there are people who have to use special products for health reasons, such as special soap for their skin or a particular toothpaste. The zero-waste option takes a lot more effort when it comes to such specific products.

Other limits have more to do with preferences, but are just as valid. For example, a person who is taking their first steps towards zero waste may not have the drive to immediately switch to washable toilet paper. The best approach is to start with changes that give you a sense of accomplishment and pride, and make you feel good. That way, you’ll be much more likely to keep up those habits!

Lastly, the third type of limit is related to your household: Do you live alone, with one or more people? Do you have animals? Children? Depending on your answers to these questions, your living environment presents limits that you have to take into consideration. The people and animals you live with have their own limits and it’s important to respect them.

If you take into account all of these limits, you can determine what is feasible in your home. Remember, zero waste is not a competition! A one-person household will likely generate less waste than a family of seven. So, there’s no point in comparing.

Zero waste: what’s “the right thing”?

When we want to do the right thing by improving our consumer habits to make them as sustainable as possible, we ask ourselves a lot of questions to make sure we’re making the best decisions. There’s no right or wrong decision. The important thing is to make choices based on your personal situation.

Ask yourself some questions! Much of the work will have been done by questioning the way you live. Take time out to question a habit in your personal or family life. Even if you don’t find a better solution for your current reality, it’s already a step forward in your thought process and quest for solutions.

Always keep in mind that reducing waste at the source is a gradual process. Take it one step at a time, without putting pressure on yourself, and you’ll soon see that you can do it!

Enjoy your journey to zero waste!