Here's a list of ideas for your zero waste / sustainable journey. I hope this helps! As a preface:
- The most environmentally friendly thing you can do is to use what you already have; don't re-buy everything or throw something out because it doesn't align with your zero waste ethos. If it's harmful for your health, that's an exception.
- Shop secondhand first. There's no need to buy all of this new. Allow yourself to gradually transition.
- Everything listed is vegan. It isn't listed per item since that would be repetitive.
- Keep in mind the 5 Rs, as coined by Bea Johnson: "Refuse what you do not need, Reduce what you do need, Reuse what you consume, Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse, and Rot (Compost) the rest."
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- Some cities have free dirt pickup, as part of their composting program. Take advantage of this nutrient-rich soil that supports a circular system.
- Try backyard composting, such as a turnable one with a handle or a worm composter. If composting pet feces, have an entirely separate compost pile for your edible garden scraps.
- Forego grass and plant low-maintenance, low-water plants that naturally thrive in your area. Depending on the rules where you live, in many places you can turn your front yard into an edible garden. It's a more efficient use of space and water.
- If your yard can be easily managed with a push mower, they are very eco-friendly since they don't require gas or electric to operate.
- Try to minimize grassy areas, instead prioritizing low maintenance landscaping.
- Gas-powered blowers create terrible air quality and run on fossil fuels. Opt for an electric one if you really need it; otherwise, use a rake.
- Return unwanted plastic plant containers to the nursery where they can be reused.
- Opt for native plants that thrive with your climate.
- Try drought tolerant plants that require less water.
- Seek out garden centers that sell it in bulk.
- Invest in a rain barrel which can be set up under a rain gutter to catch rainwater. This water can be used to water your garden.
- Invest in a greywater system which can route household water into your garden. With this type of system, you'll need to be careful about the soaps and cleaners you use; they have to be greywater compatible (many are, if you're already using more "natural" products). Check your local ordinances to confirm it's allowable.
- Invest in an irrigation system with a rainwater sensor.