New to zero-waste living? Here’s your starters guide

New to zero-waste living? Here’s your starters guide

Zero waste living might sound like an impossible feat, especially when you consider how much waste most households produce on a daily basis. If you care about the environment, the first step you can take to protect it would be to reduce and ultimately eliminate waste that you produce all together.

By reducing or achieving zero waste status, you can inspire others and be the change you want to see in the world.

So, if you are new to zero waste living and need a little guidance on how to start and maintain your new lifestyle then keep reading. This article will serve as a starter's guide and equip you with everything you need to kick-start your new zero waste life.

What is a zero waste lifestyle?

Before we jump into how you can kick start your zero waste lifestyle, it is important to know what a zero waste lifestyle is?

Zero waste is a movement that aims to reduce the amount of products and packaging we use, which in turn reduces the amount of waste. So in short, zero waste lifestyle is all about adopting sustainable ways of living to eventually reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the environment.

Tips for starting out with no waste living

Zero waste is not just good for the environment, but you can actually save money by adopting a zero waste lifestyle. Here are some tips that can help you reduce your amount of day-to-day waste:

Refuse unnecessary items

Most are surprised to know how much unnecessary stuff they buy on a daily basis. Most of the items we buy out of impulse, we simply never use and often will end up in landfill ultimately putting strain on the environment.

Here is a list of unnecessary items that you can refuse, which in turn will reduce the production on waste:

  1. Refuse free samples or other free items that are offered by various brands as part of their promotional efforts. These free samples or free items aren’t something you need, they often are over-packaged, and they are more likely to get thrown away.
  2. Avoid buying items made out of cheap plastics, such as toys that break quickly and end up getting thrown out.
  3. Shop at bulk food stores and at farmer’s markets to make sure your produce doesn’t come wrapped in plastic packaging that you don’t really need – you will usually get your food a whole lot fresher also!

Only buy what you need

The easiest way you can reduce the amount of waste you produce is by only buying what you need and ditching unnecessary purchases. Studies show that there is a direct link between consumer buying behaviour as a major contributor towards greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, food accounts for 48% and 70% of household impacts on land and water resources, 

Similar to refusing free stuff, buying what you need puts emphasis on buying items that you really “need”, instead of what you “want”. Large supermarkets are designed to entice consumers (similar to a candy store), you are spoilt for choice leading to a shopping cart full of wants and waste instead of needs.

Some questions you can ask yourself when buying anything to make sure you aren’t buying unnecessary items include:

  1. How many times will you use the item you are about to buy?
  2. Can this item be borrowed from someone close to you instead of purchasing it?
  3. Instead of buying new clothes, can you hold a clothes swap party and get rid of some of your old clothes while filling your wardrobe with new one?
  4. Do you really need to buy something brand new, or can a second hand item get the job done?

If you start to ask yourself these questions every time you buy something, you will realize how many unnecessary items you are buying.

Reuse, Reuse, Reuse! 

In this day and age it seems like everything is designed to be disposable. From water bottles, cups, plates all the way to straws, everything gets used and then thrown away.

However, the disposable nature of these items makes them a major contributor towards environmental pollution. So by using reusable items instead of disposable ones, not only will you be able to reduce waste but also cut down the cost of buying disposable items every time you need them.

Some ways you can reuse items includes:

  1. Investing in a reusable cup that you can use when getting coffee instead of disposable cups.
  2. Instead of buying bottled water, purchase a high quality water bottle and refill it with fresh water free of cost.
  3. Buy a reusable razor that only requires a blade swap instead of buying disposable plastic razors.
  4. Use steel lunch boxes with separate compartments for your child’s lunch packing, so you don’t need to use plastic to separate items.


When you are truly living a zero waste lifestyle, you will realize that you will be left with very little waste that needs recycling. However, the waste that is left behind after you have followed all of the tips mentioned above needs to be properly recycled to start with your zero waste lifestyle.

With that said, keep in mind that plastic is not actually recyclable as it can only be down cycled every time it goes to a recycling facility. So every time a plastic is recycled, it gets weaker until it can’t be recycled anymore and eventually ends up in the landfill.

So the goal should be to avoid plastics altogether and only recycle truly recyclable items such as glass, aluminium and paper based waste.


A zero waste lifestyle is not a difficult way to live, and it can in fact save you money. If you need help starting out with zero waste living, we have you covered with everything you will need.

Visit Gram Sustainable today at 350 Brunswick St, Fitzroy in Melbourne to stock up on reusables, bulk foods, and refillable personal, and cleaning products. We have everything you require in store to help you live a zero-waste lifestyle.

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