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Tips For Living A Zero-Waste Lifestyle

by | September 24, 2018

We are Carly and Brenden, the Sustainable Duo™. Over the past year, we have been eco-traveling across North America educating communities on why eco-conscious living is the most sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle. We have a joint experience of seven years of veganism and three years of zero-waste living, so we love to share every bit of knowledge we have with the masses!

We went vegan first, but soon after realized that veganism and zero-waste living go hand in hand. Waste, especially plastic, is taking over many ecosystems like the oceans and is killing beautiful marine species.

Think about it: when you throw your trash away, where exactly is away? The fact is, all of the plastic that has ever been created is still on this planet. Imagine all of the micro-plastics floating in the ocean that is bio-accumulating in marine species and also accumulating in our drinking water! These reasons alone inspired us to reduce our waste and single-use plastic consumption. Transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle is all about un-training your brain from being an avid plastic consumer due to convenience, to an eco-conscious consumer.

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When people initially hear us say zero-waste, they automatically think, “I can’t do that! I don’t have the time or money! I can’t produce absolutely no waste!” A low-impact lifestyle is about minimizing your waste as much as you can to better the planet’s health and your own health! The lifestyle is not about producing no waste at all, rather than doing the best you can to create a minimal amount. Trust us, you can easily reduce your waste and it’s totally worth it!

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Although the initial transition to a zero-waste lifestyle may seem overwhelming, there are many simple swaps we suggest people make right away. These swaps can minimize expenses, exposure to toxins, and waste. Some of our favorite swaps include, bamboo toothbrushes for disposable plastic toothbrushes, stainless steel razors for disposable razors, reusable diapers, shampoo and conditioner bars for plastic hair products, bamboo on-the-go utensils for plastic utensils, reusable bulk shopping bags for plastic bags, and stainless steel straws for single-use straws.

zero waste
CREDIT: SUSTAINABLE DUO 

For everyone, especially you on-the-go parents, we recommend that you carry around a designated ‘sustainability bag’. This is something we implement to avoid single-use plastic at all costs! The bag that we personally carry around includes: bamboo utensils, glass straws, a reusable mug, reusable bowls, to-go containers, bulk grocery bags, and a mason jar. When we leave the house we think, ‘Got our keys? Phone? Wallet? Sustainability bag? Ok, let’s go!’ Make it a habit to bring the bag around with you for constant preparation.

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In regards to zero-waste grocery shopping, we shop with reusable grocery bags, bulk-food cotton bags (for nuts and flours), and mason jars for bulk liquids (such as maple syrup, liquid aminos, and nut butters). Our grocery trips typically include zero plastic aside from the little stickers on the fruits and veggies. Tip: when using the mason jars, bring them to the register before filling to tare out the weight. When checking out, remind the cashier to take off that weight to get a correct price. We eat a mostly raw, holistic diet with little to no processed food.

Since most processed foods are wrapped in plastic, our eating habits definitely help us reduce our waste! Just to name a few, our typical meals are açaí bowls with homemade granola, overnight oats, raw treats using our dehydrator, zucchini noodles, huge salads with tons of sprouts and nuts, and homemade black bean/quinoa burgers if we are craving something dense and cooked. All of these meals can be made 100% waste free, straight out of the fresh produce and bulk section!

We make our own hygiene products such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, and deodorant! DIY recipes are preferable for us because they are cheap, easy, and fun to do with the entire family. Luckily we live near a grocery store that has phenomenal bulk options for skincare, so we simply bring our glass mason jars & organic cotton bag to a local health food store and stock up to make some large batches. If you do not have a bulk section near you, we recommend ordering ingredients in large quantities in online recyclable containers to reduce waste and get more bang for you buck. Here is our zero-waste body wash that is amazing for the whole family!

Our motto is “We exist to make a positive impact on minds, hearts, and the planet. We are just going back to the basics by living minimally and ethically.” The world didn’t use to be this wasteful until our culture became convenience-focused. Simply put, we are just changing our current culture back to what it was previous to rapid consumerism. The zero-waste movement is incredibly eye-opening and an exciting new journey. The truth is, sustainable living doesn’t end at veganism (even though being vegan significantly reduces your carbon footprint), that’s just the beginning. We hope you enjoy your new zero-waste journey!

You can follow us on Instagram @Sustainable_Duo, @Carly_Bergman, and @The_Sustainable_Ceo. 

PARENTS ON TWITTER, trying to go vegan, zero-waste


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  1. Tips For Living A Zero-Waste Lifestyle | Healthy Living Centre Blog
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  2. Ideas For Residing A Zero-Waste Life-style - Google Trends Online
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