Did you know that the average American produces more than 4.1 pounds of trash per day? Ever think about where this trash ends up? It ends up in our landfill, and not as far as we believe. I’ve written about going zero-waste before and the importance of reducing our consumption and trash. Today, ZERO WASTE WEEK starts (September 5-9), so I thought, why not celebrate by thinking about ways to reduce our environmental impact seriously. How, you ask? Why not a small challenge for every day of Zero Waste Week?

Day 1: Monday, September 5

Awareness is critical, so today’s challenge will be to educate yourself. Do your research and learn about sustainable packaging, second-hand and plastic-free options available to you, and learn about composting and recycling in your neighbourhood. If you’re looking for a quick read about the lifestyle, I recommend Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home.

Day 2: Tuesday, September 6

Today’s challenge may feel a bit funny, but you absolutely must do it: analyze your trashcan. Rummage through it, and see what you throw away daily and every week. Then, ask yourself: can any of this be composted? Avoided? Eliminated or recycled?

Day 3: Wednesday, September 7

Time to wave the disposables goodbye! This means investing in good quality, plastic-free, reusable items such as a mug, water bottles, stainless straws, and bags. Think about the things you use once and throw them away. Can they instead be replaced with items that you can wash and reuse?

Day 4: Thursday, September 8

In addition to refusing disposables, you also want to think long and hard about the plastic items in your home. Many people do use reusable items but, unfortunately, still rely on plastic. The chemicals and toxins are harmful to our health, and they never break down. I’ve written about super easy ways to reduce your plastic consumption before, so check out my post for ideas.

Let’s start with daily challenges and turn them into a Zero Waste lifestyle

Day 5: Friday, September 9

Here’s the final challenge for this year’s Zero Waste Week. This one is ongoing. Think about de-cluttering your home. The first step is to get rid of what you don’t need. This includes interrogating your wardrobe, kitchen, bathroom, office etc. Be completely ruthless. The next step to this challenge is becoming aware of anything that enters your home. Part of minimalism is to get rid of the things you don’t need or love, but the more complicated bit is to interrogate any home item. I have made a list to document all the purchases I make (does not include food). After I have justified it to myself that I need something, it has to go through a ‘test’ before I allow myself to buy it. My checklist ensures that when I buy items, I am buying quality, ethical, vegan, eco-friendly and, to the best of my ability, second-hand.

Are you ready to join us for Zero Waste Week and take care of our earth, the only one? You won’t regret it, I promise.