Zero Waste 101: Top 9 Things to Know Before Starting Your Journey

Zero Waste

It’s an exciting time to be a Zero Waster. What started as a few people with a great idea is now growing into what feels like a global movement. What you might not know, though, is that it can feel overwhelming when first starting on your journey! There are so many things to think about and do. That’s why we’ve compiled the top nine things for you to know before you start your Zero Waste journey!

Zero Waste Doesn’t Mean Fitting Your Trash in a Mason Jar

I want to start with a small jar that has done amazing things for the Zero Waste movement. It’s also made it seem inaccessible and classist, so let’s talk about what you should know before going Zero Waste. You don’t need to fit all of your trash in one mason jar!

Just because that’s what some popular YouTubers show in their videos doesn’t mean it’s what you need to do. The important thing is to think about what you are putting into the trash and if there is another way to dispose of it.

You Won’t Go Zero Waste Overnight

Sorry, but even if you want to go Zero Waste, it’s not going to happen overnight.

Every step of the process is going to require time to get used to. This is difficult because many people try to step into a lifestyle that they’ve never had before all at once and can’t handle the change.

For example, they start eating vegan or stop using any plastic packaging on their food without transitioning into those lifestyles, and they can’t keep up. What’s worse is that they stop trying altogether because “I can’t go Zero Waste. What’s the point?”

This is not true, and you should keep going! Just ease into it at your own pace. Find out what works for YOU. Not anyone else.

You Don’t Need to Throw Away All of Your Stuff

One of the biggest misunderstandings people had about living a Zero Waste life is that you can’t have anything. What’s actually happening is that you need to take much more time researching what you’re buying and finding out if it has recycling or repurposing options.

It’s not so much about throwing away everything, but how to reuse products rather than disposing of them. What makes this hard is that many people don’t know what they should be looking for when buying items, so they end up just throwing it away before they know it could be recycled. What also makes this hard is that many places don’t have the proper industry requirements in place, as well as the facilities and infrastructure for recycling.

Some of Your Friends and Family Will Think Your Crazy

Some of your friends and family will think you’re crazy if you try to go Zero Waste, but that’s okay. What’s important is that you make an effort to educate yourself about the issues with single-use plastics globally. People don’t seem to understand that the goal isn’t to spend your time going up to everyone on the street preaching about Zero Waste.

This doesn’t work, and it’s not what will make a difference when it comes to making our country more sustainable. What might actually work is just subtly educating someone by talking about how much plastic they take out for recycling every week or what they put in their grocery bag at the store. If they’re interested, they’ll ask questions, and you can talk about how much plastic we use every day. What’s important is that you keep going and don’t give up!

The Zero Waste Journey Isn’t Perfect. Keep Positive and Keep Moving!

It can be really discouraging to see people posting about how little trash they make, especially when you’re trying hard and things keep happening outside your control.

I often wonder how some people can go on a 6 month+ trip around the world without ever winding up with even one plastic straw or water bottle. *News Flash* They probably didn’t but are scared of “not being perfect,” so fudge the truth, which perpetuates this cycle. Things happen outside your control that’s totally OK!

You won’t always make the perfect decision, but just keep trying. What’s important is that you remember why you started this journey and continue to work towards the future!

You won’t always be able to find the perfect Zero Waste product. What you should focus on is finding the best alternative that will still give you your desired outcome. What’s important to remember here is that even though something isn’t perfect, it doesn’t mean it has no value or usefulness.

Things may not work out at first and things might not be as easy as they seem but just keep trying! You will get there. What’s important is that you keep going and don’t give up!

Don’t be to Hard On Yourself

Remember, the world cannot be saved from climate change just by you. Yes, your individual actions are important and necessary to help save our planet but that doesn’t mean you have to be perfect all the time. What’s important to remember is that you are doing the best you can. What matters here is that you keep moving and don’t give up!

You will make mistakes, but it’s okay. What’s actually more important than anything else is just keeping your head held high and continuing on in this journey of a Zero Waste life! Keep going strong and don’t give up!

The world will not be saved by you alone. What’s important is that you make an effort to educate yourself about the issues with single-use plastics in the world. What people don’t seem to understand is that this goal isn’t about going around preaching Zero Waste on every street corner.

Challenge your own viewpoints and learn new things

I’m going to talk about something that is really important in the process of becoming a Zero Waster. What often makes us feel uncomfortable or uneasy when we try to change our behavior is because it challenges our viewpoints and what we know.

What’s important is that you challenge your own viewpoints and learn new things. What I’m saying here is that you should continue to go outside your comfort zone to challenge yourself. What’s important is that you don’t stop learning and staying curious!

Trying new things and challenging your own assumptions is really important when it comes to going Zero Waste.

Thinking About How to Go Zero Waste Will Make you Feel Overwhelmed

Thinking about how to go Zero Waste can make you feel overwhelmed, especially when there are so many things that need your attention. But reducing what goes into the landfill by even a small amount will have an impact on lowering greenhouse emissions and help others understand why cutting down our consumption is important for preserving this planet’s resources.

At some point, everyone who wants to start their Zero Waste journey looks around their house and starts to realize just how much unnecessary stuff they have accumulated. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to figure out the perfect way to get rid of everything they don’t really need.

Don’t let that stop you from getting started. Pick a place to start and just go from there. What’s important is that you make a plan and stick with it!

Remember, making small changes has an impact on the environment even if it doesn’t always feel like much. What people don’t realize is that every little bit counts when trying to keep our planet clean!

Going 100% Zero Waste Isn’t Possible

Living a Zero Waste lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t produce a singe ounce of trash. What’s important is that you are making an effort to reduce as much waste as possible.

Focus on the small changes you can make to reduce the amount of trach you produce. Don’t focus on eliminating all of it. The technology required for that kind of extreme result doesn’t exist yet.


We hope this blog post has helped you understand what Zero Waste is and how to get started on your own journey. You won’t go Zero Waste overnight, but the process of getting there will be worth it in the end. Keep positive and keep moving! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t succeed at first – think about ways that might work better for you or try a different technique altogether. And remember to challenge your own viewpoints so that you can learn even more new things along the way. Zero Waste doesn’t mean fitting all of your trash into a mason jar – we should always aspire towards going 100% zero-waste, but realistically it’s not possible for everyone right now (or ever).

Check out this article to learn about 10 Simple Ways to Start Living Green, without making huge sacrifices.