We navigate our daily routines making decisions that we may think are innocent, but they're actually killing our earth: things like accepting plastic straws with your iced tea or double bagging your groceries. So what do we do in order to avoid accepting waste into our lives? Be prepared! As someone once said “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.” So we called upon our new friend Armelle Ferguson! A sustainable stylist, helping women build a killer wardrobe guilt-free. By taking away the overwhelm of sustainable fashion, and simplifying wardrobe building.
Q: What’s a mistake people make going zero-waste Armelle?
The biggest mistake most beginners make when trying to implement a new lifestyle: they buy stuff. Even when it comes to a zero-waste lifestyle. Counterintuitive, I know! But it’s not our fault;
we live in a society where we are constantly being sold all types of solutions to all types of problems. There are hundreds of lists of products you absolutely need to buy before starting your zero-waste journey. Well here is the good news: you don’t need to buy anything, you can start right where you are with what you have.
Q: What’s the goal of a zero-waste lifestyle?
The whole point of a zero-waste lifestyle is to create less waste, use less resources, and maximize what you have on hand. There are a few items that’ll help you do that, and I like to call them my essentials; but it’s important to remember: only buy what you truly need - my zero-waste coffee tips won’t apply to those who don’t drink coffee. So just to be clear: even though I have my zero-waste essentials, you can start with what you already have, and it can work just as well!
Reusable Shopping Bags
This is an obvious one, especially if you live in Europe like I do, as we now have to pay for single-use plastic bags. Reusable shopping bags are great, and they are an easy way to reduce the amount of plastic we take into our homes. The biggest challenge is probably to get into the habit of bringing them to the shop - I know I’ve been guilty of buying extra reusable bags, because I had forgotten mine at home.
To take it further, I like to have reusable canvas bags for other errands than groceries. A lot of purchases come with unnecessary bags, and we don’t always think about it. So I make sure I bring my bags when picking up my takeaway food, when fashion shopping; and I also have a cute foldable bag in my handbag, for the odd impulse purchase.
What if we could save the planet and save money at the same time? Well, it’s possible with a reusable coffee cup! Most coffee shops will offer discounts to customers who bring their own cups. I also have a reusable water bottle to refill for free throughout the day, instead of buying individual plastic ones.
Zero-Waste Period Care Products
About seven years ago, I stopped using disposable period care products. This switch was amazing for the planet and my wallet of course, but it also completely changed the way I interact with my body. My menstrual cup has now been with me for many cycles, and I can’t even imagine going back to disposable products. I’m also tempted to try period underwear - they seem so comfortable!
Zero-Waste Coffee Maker
If you like coffee as much as I do, then this is definitely an essential for you too! My French Press and my manual grinder are both part of my morning ritual, and it makes the coffee taste even better, knowing that it creates virtually no waste.
We all know that plastic straws are the talk of the town when it comes to the zero-waste conversation. In addition, a lot of my friends and family can’t stand the paper straws that businesses are starting to implement. So instead of accepting either, invest in a Bamboo straw to keep on your person. Bamboo is a natural resource and it won’t conduct heat and burn your mouth like a metal straw will.
Bamboo Cutlery Set
Keeping up the trend of natural resources, get a hold of a bamboo fork, knife, spoon and pouch to keep on you. This is perfect for your workday lunches or day-cations! Plus you don’t have to accept the plastic-ware most to-go places willingly hand-out. A great resource to find reusable items is on packagefree.com
No-Package Shampoo & Conditioner
There are plenty of toiletries that we can substitute in our daily hygiene routines. For me, the first step was to find a replacement for my shampoo and conditioner. As an ex-employee of LUSH, their naked shampoo and conditioner bars were my first step into the zero-waste lifestyle. Fun fact: Their shampoo bars are equivalent to 3 regular bottles of plastic shampoo bottles. Saving the planet and cost effective!
What are some items you can’t live without since you’ve started your zero-waste journey?
Armelle Ferguson is a Sustainable Stylist, helping women build a killer wardrobe guilt-free. By taking away the overwhelm of sustainable fashion, and simplifying wardrobe building, Armelle has now been able to build a community of several thousands of people, and worked with women from all around the world.
She also shares her sustainable living tips in her Sustainability Column for Red Magazine UK, and helps women implement sustainability in their life, easily.
Download Armelle’s FREE Guide to sustainable lifestyle, and start making easy changes today.