Interested in the Zero-Waste Lifestyle? Here Are Some Tips to get Started!

The City of Vancouver has recently announced its goal to be a zero-waste community by 2040. This ambitious plan includes conserving resources, preventing food waste, finding sustainable alternatives to fuel, and sharing, reusing, and repairing products and materials before recycling them. These tactics represent just a small fraction of the many things we can all do to reduce our impact on the environment and work towards a healthy, sustainable future for our planet. If you would like to be part of the change, here are a few small things you can do to contribute to a zero-waste Vancouver!

Ditch the Paper Towels

We know, we know – paper towels are just SO convenient. But did you know that the paper industry is the third largest economic contributor to global warming? Producing one ton of paper towels requires 17 trees and pollutes over 20,000 gallons of water. In other words, ditching your paper towels is one of the best things you can do at home to reduce your environmental footprint.  This is a great opportunity to up-cycle old socks or any other piece of clothing you don’t wear. Cut the fabric into squares, put them in a basket or drawer in your kitchen until you need them, and throw them in the wash when you’re done. Oh, and stop using paper towels in public bathrooms! Automatic hand-dryers are your new best friend.

Buy Reusable Alternatives to Plastic

Taking reusable cloth bags to the grocery store is one of the easiest lifestyle switches you can make on your journey to being zero-waste. Nearly every grocery store sells cloth bags, so you don’t even have to go out of your way to buy them! Pick up a few next time you shop or reuse bags you already have at home, but either way, you must promise to never, ever use a plastic bag for your groceries again.

You can also extend this tip to other areas of your life where you use plastic – buy a reusable water bottle, take your lunch in reusable to-go containers, get a compostable toothbrush so you’re not throwing plastic into the landfill, or try an eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap (this one is made in BC). The possibilities are endless! 

Shop Waste Free

Ready to make waste-free living a breeze? Introducing Nada Grocery: Vancouver’s first zero-waste grocery store! Their permanent location, which is set to open its doors later this year, can be found at 675 East Broadway on the corner of Fraser and Broadway. In the meantime, keep an eye out for pop-up locations all over the city!

Eliminate Fast Food Consumption

We know you were expecting (and dreading) this tip, but eliminating fast food from your diet is one of the best things you can do to reduce your impact on the environment. Just think – fast food restaurants deliver your food in a paper or plastic bag that is stuffed with paper napkins, plastic straws, plastic cutlery, and plastic-wrapped condiments, with all of your food individually packaged in paper or styrafoam. If that weren’t already bad enough, you will also throw it all away minutes later! Take-out food is an enormous drain on our environmental resources and one of the biggest contributors to pollution in our oceans and landfills, so cutting it out of your diet is a great first step in becoming zero-waste. The planet – and your body – will thank you!

Compost

Did you know that almost 1/4 of your household trash can be composted? You know what that means – time to stop throwing food in the garbage! Terra Crest provides all of our tenants with organics bins, so you have no excuse not to compost your food waste. If you can’t find your bin or don’t seem to have one in your unit, please contact your building manager and they will be happy to provide you with one.

Repair and Mend 

In an age where everything can be bought online at the touch of a button, it often feels much easier to throw away broken items and purchase anew rather than fix what we already have. This tendency to “toss out and buy new” not only rewards cheap production, but it also puts unnecessary pressure on our waste cycle.

So what can you do? For one, consider investing in high-quality products from the get-go so you aren’t forced to replace cheap items when they inevitably break. If you prefer to mend what you already have, consider learning a few basic maintenance skills like sewing, car maintenance, or woodworking. You never know when you might need to refurbish a favourite item!

And, of course… RECYCLE!

This one really should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – RECYCLE! Always check the labels on plastic and cardboard items to see if they can be recycled before you throw them away.

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If you are able to fit just one of these 6 changes into your everyday life, you will be taking a significant step towards creating a safer, healthier, and happier planet for our future. Let us know which of these tips were the most helpful, and be sure to comment if you’ve tried one of them!

Terra Crest Property Management