5 Easy Steps to Kickstart Your Plastic Free 2023
Whether you love or hate New Year’s resolutions, ringing in a new year gives us a natural fresh start. As you think about what you’d like to accomplish in the months ahead, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed because often, our goals are focused on MORE: do more things, make more money, accumulate more stuff. What if this year, we all focused on the idea of LESS: creating less waste, using less plastic, emitting less CO2? Imagine the collective impact we could have if we all committed to living with less this year.
One way to live with less is to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle. In a nutshell, this means you:
- Refuse what you don’t need
- Reduce what you do need
- Reuse what you can
- Recycle what can’t be refused, reduced, or reused
- Rot the rest (compost!)
At Tare Market, we are passionate about supporting you wherever you are in your zero-waste journey. If you are new to the movement, welcome! It’s never too late to start. Here are 5 easy steps to kickstart your #PlasticFree2023 so you can live with less this year and beyond.
Step 1: Audit your trash
Before we can reduce our waste, we have to face it. Conducting a trash audit will help you gain awareness of what you are sending to the landfill and identify areas of your life that are producing the most waste. You could do your trash audit one of two ways:
- Put on some gloves, dump out your trash can, and sort through it on garbage day. We like this way because the experience can be shocking and uncomfortable. These feelings almost always spark change!
- If dumping out your trash can is not feasible, keep a written list of everything you throw in the trash for a week.
Once you know which items you throw away, categorize them. For example, you might sort your trash items into cleaning, personal care, food, and storage categories. The categories you choose can be unique to you and the patterns you see during your trash audit. Remember, the goal is to understand what consumption patterns are producing the most waste in your life.
Step 2: Set a goal
Based on your trash audit findings, set a specific goal for yourself or your household. Keep in mind that a modest goal you accomplish is better than a lofty one that you abandon. Here are some examples:
- Each month this year, I will replace one disposable item with a reusable or compostable version.
- I will limit coffee shop visits to XXX times per month and start brewing my own coffee & tea at home using bulk package-free beans and loose-leaf tea.
- I will reduce my food waste this year by making a shopping list and buying only what I need at the grocery store.
- I will start composting food waste that cannot be consumed.
Step 3: Choose your starting point
Every zero-waste journey begins with a single swap. Use your goal to determine a starting point that feels approachable.
If you are swapping out disposable items, maybe you start by purchasing a shampoo bar to replace your plastic bottle. Upping your zero-waste coffee game? Swing by Tare Market or your local co-op to pick up some coffee beans in bulk and a reusable coffee filter. If you want to reduce food waste, start by adding a couple easy recipes into your weekly rotation and shop accordingly. See which ingredients you can purchase in bulk to avoid food packaging waste.
The important thing here is to make small, incremental changes instead of overhauling your entire life in one go. Keep it manageable.
Step 4: Learn from others
If you’re feeling stuck, seek inspiration! Check out one of our store locations. Our staff members are always excited to share what we’ve learned, and love to help you find low-waste solutions that fit your lifestyle– no judgment, we promise. We’ve even put together zero-waste bundles designed specifically to help you eliminate waste in different areas of your life.
If visiting us in person isn’t an option for you, you can visit us online to see what sustainable alternatives are available. Our Instagram is also a great place to join in for our live sessions to discuss zero waste tips and to see what others are doing to live more sustainably.
Step 5: Share your progress
As you make small changes throughout the year, we hope you share them with the people in your life: friends, family, coworkers, social media followers, whoever! You never know who your new lifestyle might resonate with– sometimes it’s the people you least expect. If you inspire even just one other person to make a sustainable swap, it’s worth it.
Cheers to a #PlasticFree2023! What are you waiting for? Go start that trash audit!
Written by Rachel, Tare Market Nokomis Store Manager