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Beginner's guide to zero waste| 5 easy transitions

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Zero-waste lifestyles seem out of reach for many families. They see posts from families that have been doing this for years, and some of their tips are very out-of-the-box. The process can become overwhelming when you don't know where to start. Don't worry; you're not alone.

Several people get inspired by the movement and motivated by our social media posts but are discouraged from starting. Do you feel it's useless to change things because you will never be as good as others in the community? Do you think it isn't worth it because you will never be able to change everything you've seen? Our first tip is to pace yourself.

Those people that are inspiring you had people encouraging them once. They started their journey long ago and went through the process at their own desired pace. In other words, don't attempt to change your lifestyle in one day completely. You'll drop out before you even begin. The goal is to make small changes that you will keep through time.

The second tip we have is, don't be hard on yourself! You might switch something and be very good at it. Say, you change your shampoo bottles for a shampoo bar. You think you've finally mastered it. You're so proud of your achievement (we're cheering with upcycled pom-poms)! But then things happen: you move into a new house, your kids are ill, and you forgot to order that shampoo bar.

You feel defeated because they aren't available in your local stores. Due to all those events, you haven't ordered or washed your hair for a week. Despite your reluctance, you enter a big store to buy shampoo. The one you find in the store is organic and contains basic ingredients. When you reach the cashier, you have a plastic bottle in your hand, which emphasizes your feeling of defeat.

We may be exaggerating, but let's pretend that poor mama knows no other tricks! Take a deep breath and let this go. We don't want you to abandon us because of a tiny detail. Consider reusing your bottles if this occurs, and make sure they are correctly disposed of afterward. Then, come up with solutions for the next time.

Nothing is more beautiful than learning new things and getting better at them until you can give your own tips to your friends. It will be impossible for people to try something new if we make it hard and point fingers at their mistakes. Ozeya Life is here to help. Besides posting ideas, new ways, and alternatives, we will also write more and more blogs, so you will know more and understand better.

No one is "zero waste" because it is impossible to be. We aren't perfect, and we are still learning. We don't like the word choice in zero waste, either. Every one of us produces a certain amount of waste, and the ecosystem is designed to be able to repurpose that waste into something else. Look at what trees do when we exhale to provide us with oxygen. The goal is to coexist; we must tame our greedy impact. This is why we use the "almost zero waste family" quote instead. Nobody is perfect, and perfection isn't our goal anyway.

We must have millions of people making small changes for a significant impact.

Having thousands of families do zero waste imperfectly is better than having just one family do it perfectly!

5 tips to help you make your own changes this year.

1- Buy soap bars instead of body wash bottles

It is common for many families to use plastic bottles as soap at home. They usually don't last as long as soap bars, making them more costly. Most contain chemicals that dry out your skin, and some are harmful. The compound Triclosan, found in soaps, toothpaste, shampoos, and other household products, can cause liver fibrosis and cancer, for example.

There is nothing better than a handmade soap bar. You can treat yourself to different ones and even different textures. They will last a long time if you store them properly. As a family of six, we make them last for weeks. Between uses, make sure your soap can drain and dry.

Soap bars are relatively easy to find in local stores these days. People are encouraged to find small businesses that use organic ingredients and plastic-free packaging. By doing this, you help a local family while also helping the environment.

There are a few companies that we have tried and love. Choose one that is close to you or one that is local to your state or province. Another great place to look is Etsy. You may not like the first company you try, so try a few more. We all have different skins and tastes, so what works for your neighbor might not work for you.

Consider an eco-friendly wrapping company, and inquire about the ingredients and where the soap is manufactured. A stay-at-home mom who makes soap in her kitchen is better for your health than soap manufactured in factories. If you prefer a company farther away, consider buying in bulk for a year or several months. If you order 12 soaps from them, they may offer you a significant discount or include some samples and gifts. Keep an eye out when you reach the last 2 or 3, so you can order and receive it before you run out. By doing so, you won't have that dilemma of buying something you don't want because you are out.

2- A shampoo bar and conditioner bar

As another alternative, you can also buy shampoo and conditioner bars. Shampoo bars work well. Finding what works best for your hair type is essential among the many options available. It would help if you also considered that you might be going through a transition period. Depending on your shampoo, residues, including silicon, can be left on your hair. Your hair will need time to remove that residue completely.

You can do a few hair masks during that time, and you can even use baking soda to get most of it out. We recommend washing your hair with baking soda and applying a Rasshoul clay mask afterward. It is best to leave it on your hair for at least 20 minutes, preferably 30. It will kickstart the residue-cleansing process. People are always encouraged to wait a month before seeing the results.

Since making the switch, our hair has been so healthy and growing very fast. The hair is soft, easy to detangle, and shines in the sun. We are often asked what we do, and they think we have a long list of steps, including daily masks. We only wash with our shampoo bar and use our conditioner bar. Sometimes, when we're at the beach for a few days, we use hot oil to protect the hair from the sun, sand, and salt. On a special "spa day" at home with the girls, we might do the Rasshoul mask.

Not convinced that this will have an impact? Let's say you buy a bottle every month. Every year, that's 12 plastic bottles. 12 plastic bottles will likely end up in our oceans and never disintegrate. Imagine if 1 million people out of the 7.9 billion on earth made that change this year. This would save 12 million plastic bottles from landfills and oceans. We could save 60 million plastic bottles if we repeated this amount for five years. You see how significant the impact will be if we all start today, even if you transition things slowly.

3- Beewax wraps

Can we get rid of plastic "saran wrap"? Beeswax wrap keeps food fresh and tastes better. You can easily make your own with an old cotton shirt or bed sheet. You can buy different sizes and shapes if you don't have time to make your own. Some are constructed like bags so that you can carry things like sandwiches. Some are larger squares that can be used to cover bowls or wrap cheese. Consider purchasing different sizes and shapes instead of plastic and start using them.

They are easy to store and easy to clean. Soap and cool water are all it takes. Ensure you don't soak them in warm water, as you will lose the wax. We use our hands under cool running water and let them air dry. We've had some for years, and they are great even for leftover bread. It helps keep it fresh longer. You will save so much money in the long run because you won't buy plastic wrapping or zip locks; you will use these instead. You could wait for a sale, buy bulk, wait for a local event where a company usually sells bundles with a discount, or use this link here.

Remember that they will last years if you take care of them and you can always buy a refresher wax to put on them if they ever lose their stickiness.

4- Reusable water bottles

For years, our family has carried a water bottle everywhere. Putting a water bottle in your backpack or purse is a simple thing you can do in the morning. In addition to being healthier, you can always fill it up for free. Scientists found that always drinking from plastic bottles affected women's hormones. Leaving plastic bottles out in the sun or a car can lead to contamination in part by the plastic.

Keep your water bottle with you throughout the day, and sip from it often. The taste can be enhanced with fresh herbs, cucumbers, frozen fruits, or lemons. We love mixing things in our bottles, and it's a lot healthier than drinking juice. Most Americans don't drink enough water, so having it on hand can be helpful. It's good for you and the environment!

Think about these things before you buy;

  • How big is it, and how often will you need to refill it?

  • Is it easy to clean, especially if you plan to add fruits?

  • How easy is it to open? Can you take a sip while doing something else?

  • Is it easy for you to carry it?

  • Is it efficient at keeping your water cool and fresh for extended periods?

  • Do you think it will leave an aftertaste?

  • Will it fit in my cupholder?

Avoid buying a reusable plastic bottle; remember that sometimes buying cheap is not always the best option. Invest in a good quality one that will last a long time. Take a moment to think about all the plastic bottles you buy daily, whether it's water, vitamins, or juice. With your bottle, you can now create your own.

We love the following mixes;

* Ginger and citrus fruits

*Lemon and peppermint

*Cucumber and honeydew melon

*Berry fruits and peppermint

*Hibiscus and lavender buds

Try different herbs to see what you like, such as parsley, fennel, stevia leaves, rosemary, tarragon, and lemon balm. Pomegranate seeds are also great additions. For best results, prepare it the night before to let it infuse all night in cold water. You can also prepare tea and pour it over ice before adding it to your bottle to cool it down.

5- Using reusable bags

Last but not least, reusable bags are an obvious choice. There are still many people who use plastic bags and produce bags. It is possible to avoid all of them if you have a good, well-prepared bundle of reusable bags. It would help to keep your bags folded in one bag in the car you often use for errands. Some people keep them near the door in a nice handwoven market bag so that it matches their décor and they see it when they leave. Whatever works for you and your family! Be sure not to forget them. If you forget them, try to figure out why and perhaps move them. If they are in the car, put your paid errands in the cart and wait until you get to your car to pack your bags.

We also keep a few foldable cloth bags in our backpacks, diaper bags, and purses. It's the easiest way to keep one on hand at all times. Several people mentioned that carrying an oversize purse helped them pack their errands. Once again, find what works for you. It might be a good idea to have a few alternatives and keep fewer bags in many places or a bundle of bags in one place. You know your family and yourself better than anyone else, so you're the best person to decide where to have them.

If you have already made those changes, you can always do more. Consider what you buy and what you use around the house. Is it possible for you to make another plastic-free change or choose an environmentally friendly product? Do you try to thrift and buy second-hand as much as possible? Could you teach someone something you do so they can change their routine? We can make a difference together. Don't be afraid to be the change you want to see.

What changes will you make?

Do you have any tips for others?

Do you need more assistance with your transition?

It doesn't matter if it's for your business or your family, we're here to help!

Follow our Instagram account for more tips @ozeyalife

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