Zero Waste Living and Recycling For Beginners

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easy ways to have a zero waste lifestyle

Have you been interested in zero waste living and recycling but thought it would be too expensive or too difficult?

My name is Amanda, and I have always loved recycling. Even before I understood anything about carbon footprints and landfill concerns, donating excess items to charities and thrift stores rather than throwing them away has always made sense to me.

Throwing away anything of recyclable value makes my stomach turn.

When I first moved out, I contacted my apartment complex to beg them for a recycling receptacle. In Iowa, I asked for and then regularly filled 6 recycling bins on a weekly basis. At our current townhouse, I’ve already contacted the front office, asking for a recycling receptacle.

I made the switch to a reusable water bottle and started using a French Press for our coffee (though now we use a Ninja Coffee Bar, which is also zero waste as it does not require any sort of filter).

Being eco-friendly has always been important to me, and as my life has gotten busier, I’ve searched for ways to make recycling and a zero waste lifestyle easier.

Here are 4 easy ways to transition to a recycling and zero waste lifestyle:

Reusable Water Bottles

Reusable water bottles are possibly the easiest switch of all to make to improve your sustainability. Switching to glass or stainless steel water bottles saves an average of 300-1400 plastic water bottles per year.

There are several brand options for you to choose from when it comes to water bottles. Target and Kohls both have large selections of water bottles to choose from, including customizable colors and messages for a personalized encouragement to hydrate smart.

Changing How I Shop

I’m always looking for ways to improve sustainability and go green in our daily life. Enter, my new favorite subscription ever: Mighty Nest.

With MightyNest, I can put my shopping on auto-pilot. $10 a month (that’s it, no extra taxes or fees!) gets me a delivery with something new to integrate into my zero waste lifestyle. Here’s a peek at some of our deliveries:

  • Dryer balls (set of 3) – we love these! They reduce static, eliminate any need for dryer sheets, and you can add a light scent of your choice with just a couple drops of essential oils prior to the drying cycle.
  • Snack skins (1 sandwich and 1 snack) – as a mom on-the-go with two littles, both of whom now eat food, these are lifesavers! I typically put some sort of gluten-free snack in the snack bag for Tristan, and I use the sandwich bag as a holder for Dean’s pureed fruit and veggie pouches, a spoon, a couple carrots (to gnaw on) and a bib. This way, we are prepared if we happen to be away from the house longer than we expect, without risking a mess in my purse. I’ve been very impressed with the strength of the velcro. Plus, they are super cute!
  • Swedish wood towels – I wrote about these paper towel alternatives recently. These are miracle workers. Recently Tristan spilled an entire sippy cup (open, of course) full of orange juice on the kitchen table, and one Swedish towel soaked up all of it quickly.  Apparently they are picking up in popularity – last week I saw some for sale at our zoo!

Mighty Nest has an entire online store as well, with lots of other zero waste products for sale at a discount. I can always add them to our monthly order and still get free shipping. Next month I’ll be adding an order of bamboo toothbrushes to replace our current toothbrushes.

Sign up for your first delivery of 3 dryer balls for $3 by using this link, or use this link to get bees wrap as your first delivery for $3.

(psst…keep reading to learn how to score a free month of MightyNest!)

Recycling Made Easy

Let’s face it, recycling can be a pain. And with varying recycling laws, it can be confusing to know what you can and can’t put in a recycling bin.

As a general rule, anything with a 1 or 2 inside the recycling triangle symbol is safe to be placed in the curbside recycling bin, so start there.

That’s great and all, but what can you do with every other number inside the recycling symbol? Obviously there must be something, but if it involves a trip to the recycling center, suddenly the rates of recycling plummet.

DoSomething.org is an incredible organization, dedicated to all sorts of socially good causes. By signing up with them and pledging to “Rinse, Recycle, and Repeat,” you get access to a free shipping label, which you can apply to a 10-pound box of empty recyclable containers (most commonly personal care products). DoSomething.org will then deliver these empty containers to be recycled into all sorts of things, even park benches!

Are you in college? Getting involved with DoSomething.org puts you in the running to receive up to $5,000 in college scholarships. It makes me so happy to see socially aware college students getting involved and making a difference!

Clothing Donations Made Easy

I love the ThredUp online thrift store for more than just the ease of shopping. My favorite part of ThredUp is actually their selling process. As I wrote in my Completely Honest Review of ThredUp, you get very little back when you sell clothes, but I do it simply because their process is so easy.

How easy is it?

Go online to ThredUp.com and request a clean out kit. In just a few days, you will receive a self-addressed, postage-paid bag. Fill it with gently-used clothes for women or children, and either place it on the porch for your local postman to pick up or drop it off at the post office.

I am totally guilty of driving around for weeks with Goodwill donations in my trunk. This method is so much easier for me to go through things, bag them up, and put them on the porch. It’s one less thing to worry about, which translates into an increased chance of me actually doing it (just being real here).

If you’ve never shopped at ThredUp.com before, use my link to sign up and get a $10 credit to use on your first purchase

Putting It All Together

Hopefully this post has shown you that a zero waste and recycling lifestyle is not only a good thing, but also super easy and inexpensive for anyone to implement, no matter your budget.

Right now, between working full-time, being a present mom to my two busy boys, nurturing my marriage, and writing my book, I don’t have the time to dedicate to many extras – but my conscience won’t allow me to not be responsible with my little patch of earth.

If I can implement these changes, you can too!

Recycling my excess and taking steps towards a zero waste lifestyle help limit what goes in the landfills, and encourages production of products made with recycled materials.

Want to win a free month of Mighty Nest?

I love Mighty Nest and share it with everyone. Thankfully, the wonderful people of Mighty Nest have graciously given me two free month cards to gift to my readers!

From now through April 23, 2018, enter to win a free month of Mighty Nest from me! 

To enter, like the Crunchy Hippie Life Facebook page and share the contest post.

Winners will be announced on Facebook and Instagram on 4/24/18!

Don’t forget, even if you don’t win, you can score your first month for just $3 using this link for dryer balls or this link for bees wrap.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to share with your friends or pin for future reference!

easy ways to have a zero waste lifestyle

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