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Zero waste: Simple steps toward living a more eco-friendly life.

Posted by Kali Canedo on Jun 20th 2024

As the impact of climate change grows more serious every day, people are looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint even further—and that's where the "zero waste" movement comes in.

But what does zero waste actually mean? Where did it start and how does it work in practice? Read on as we discuss the origins of zero waste and share some easy tips for living a more planet-friendly life.

What is zero waste and how did it start?

The concept of the zero-waste lifestyle isn't new. Many indigenous cultures and communities throughout history had a standard of zero-waste in their daily lives and practices. However, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, many civilizations began to embrace single-use products and materials.

In the 1980s, environmentalists like  Daniel Knapp recognized the need to evaluate the concept of waste in our society, and many called for eliminating waste entirely. Over the years, people everywhere have adopted and advocated for zero-waste practices. To put it simply, the zero-waste movement is all about creating as little garbage waste as possible and reducing one’s environmental footprint.

For many in the modern world, switching to a zero-waste lifestyle can be an intimidating challenge. Even if you’re not aiming to go completely zero-waste, small changes can make a big impact for the environment. That's why we’re here with some handy tips to help you reevaluate and reduce waste in your everyday life.

Hiker drinking from a reusable water bottle.

Reduce.

It may seem intuitive, but it’s worth repeating. The easiest and most effective way to reduce waste is to use less in the first place. There are many single-use items that can easily be reduced to lessen one’s impact on the environment. Here are two examples to give you a place to get started.

Ditch the plastic bottles.

Although many are recyclable, more than  60 million plastic water bottles still end up in landfills and incinerators every day. These single-use items are a prime example of waste that can be reduced with a simple swap.

If you’re ready to part with plastic, a reusable water bottle not only has a much longer use life, but can help prevent microplastics from ending up in your drinking water. If you’re into cleaner, fresher water and want to hydrate with the best, consider a  water filtration system that can help reduce contaminants. With a reusable water bottle and a water filtration system as your dynamic drink duo, you’ll always have the convenience of filtered water at your fingertips—and you’ll never go back to plastic bottles!

Wash, don’t wipe.

Toilet paper is another single-use product that  wreaks havoc on the environment. Not only does it directly contribute to waste, but its manufacturing process isn’t good for the planet either.  Manufacturing just one roll of TP takes 37 gallons of water, 1.3 Kilowatts per hour of electricity, and 1.5 pounds of wood from trees, according to Scientific American.

Although using toilet paper seems like a human necessity, there are helpful products that can reduce and, in some cases, eliminate TP usage.   Bidet seats and attachments use fresh water to get you clean, rather than wiping, reducing waste with every flush. Bidets also get bonus points for their luxurious, spa-like features!

Reuse.

Investing in reusable goods is another great way to shoot for a zero-waste lifestyle. More than that, reusing materials that would otherwise end up in landfills can make a huge difference. Before you throw out those food scraps or that worn or broken item, consider how you can give it a new life. Here are two innovative ways you can maximize your positive impact by reusing.

Turn trash into treasure.

Composting is a great way to reuse organic waste. It’s easy to start  composting at home, and many cities across the US even offer community composting programs. Participation provides cheap fertilizer to local farms, contributing to sustainable agriculture and giving waste a new life. If your city doesn't collect compost, consider doing it yourself. Using compost in your garden is an affordable way to ensure it grows healthy and strong.

Mending, fixing, and repurposing broken items and materials is also a fantastic way to get more mileage out of the things you buy. Try to find innovative ways to reuse the items you would have previously thrown in the trash. For example, we love repurposing bottles to create  DIY drip systems for our gardens and plants!

Shop sustainably.

Another way to put your reusable containers to use and reduce waste is to shop at  refill and eco shops. These types of stores often sell goods like laundry detergent, personal care products, cleaning supplies, and more. These products are just as good, if not better, than what you can find in plastic bottles at the grocery store—the only difference is that you bring and fill your own containers.

The best part about shopping at a refill store is that you’re shopping locally. That means you’re helping to reduce carbon emissions and supporting your community at the same time. You may even meet some new friends that can help support you in your zero-waste journey!

Shop products made with recycled materials.

Today, many brands are embracing low-waste solutions—even when it comes to designing and manufacturing their products. There are plenty of products out there made with recycled materials, so you can shop knowing you’re doing good for the planet, too. For example, our  Swash Eco Thinline T66 Luxury Bidet Toilet Seats and our Simple Spa Eco Advanced Bidet Attachments are both made with recycled plastics—the first in the industry of their kind.

For an even bigger impact, you can also shop our product partnership with 1% for the Planet. A portion of proceeds from each bidet attachment in this lineup goes toward supporting environmental nonprofits!

Modern light wood bathroom with gold accents featuring the Brondell Swash Eco Thinline T66 Luxury Bidet TOilet Seat installed next to a large soaking tub with aromatherapy candles.
Product in photo: Swash Eco Thinline T66 Luxury Bidet Toilet Seat

Recycle.

When it comes down to it, we can’t all be perfect all the time. Although recycling is often considered the last line of defense, we can all agree that it’s the best bet for single-use materials like plastics and paper.

Follow your local guidelines.

Recycling got started in theUS in the 18th century, and it really took off in the 1970s with curbside programs. Today, recycling is a common practice in many cities. Take a moment to look up the recycling programs and processes in your community and be sure to follow local guidelines for sorting and cleaning used containers.

Join the movement.

Reducing, reusing and recycling are key steps to achieving a zero-waste lifestyle. Embarking on a zero-waste journey will look different for everyone, but with a few small changes, you can make a big impact. Let's work together to create a better future for generations to come.

Follow Brondell on social media to get more sustainable tips and join a community of planet-friendly folks looking to make a difference.