Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste | Miriam Ryburne | Skillshare

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Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste

teacher avatar Miriam Ryburne

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Lesson 1: Introduction and Overview

    • 2. Lesson 2: The Kitchen

    • 3. Lesson 3: The Bathroom

    • 4. Lesson 4: Living Spaces

    • 5. Lesson 5: On-The-Go

    • 6. Lesson 6: Fashion

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About This Class

The Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste is all about reducing your waste to live an environmentally friendly, sustainable lifestyle.  This course covers everything you need to know to get you started on your journey to a zero, or low, waste lifestyle.  We’ll cover why you should go zero waste and how to reduce waste in your home and when you're out and about, from supermarket shopping to eating out at restaurants and purchasing clothes.

I've also compiled a list of helpful links, from blogs and books to online and in-store zero waste shops, to help you along your way after you've finished the course.  Click here to access it.

Meet Your Teacher

Hello, I'm Miriam.  I'm passionate about intentional living, minimalism, and living a low waste lifestyle.  In my spare time, I run the blog minimalistmiri and produce courses for Skillshare.  I'm a post-graduate student at the University of St Andrews, where I study international security studies.

Thanks for checking out my profile and I hope you enjoy my courses.  

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1. Lesson 1: Introduction and Overview: Welcome to the Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste. How to reduce your waist, Help the planet and simple of my life. Hi, I'm hearing I run the Blood Moon was married, which covers zero ways living tips, intentional living and minimalism. This course is broken down into six parts, and today we'll go over what it means to be zero waste. Why you should reduce your waist and we'll also look at some key zero waste concepts. So what is zero waste? Zero Waste refers to a philosophy or a set of goals in which an individual or a group of people tries to adjust their consumption habits so that nothing is wasted. Since the landfill were incinerated, your waist means that there was really no waste being produced from the beginning stages of production through to final consumption. This definition is strict and difficult to achieve. In most cases. Think about the transport of items, plastic involvement, food production, I'm irreparable items that must be disposed of and a central medication we can't live without. Well, there's nothing wrong with using the term zero waste. We're trying to achieve a zero waste lifestyle. Many people have started to adopt to other terms to refer to an environmentally friendly lifestyle, no waste and low impact. But waste is all about reducing the amount of waste produced and aims for progress brother than perfection. The term low Waist acknowledges the impossibility of living a 100% 0 waste lifestyle in a modern society and seeks to mitigate the amount of waste produced and find viable alternatives to call in waste issues. Low impact refers to living a lifestyle which has a low impact on the Earth and societies around the world, such as reducing your carbon footprint by buying locally repairing broken items rather than replacing them. Using public transport and reducing the use of plastics. Veer waste remains the most widely used and widely accepted definition for those seeking a lifestyle of waste reduction, which is why I've chosen to use your waist in my in course. Unless you want to be extremely technical with the meanings and definitions of zero waste, low waist and low impact, then three terms can be used fairly interchangeably. There are a number of reasons to go zero waste, and this list is far from exhaustive. I just I let three very important reasons to reduce waste, climate change, ocean pollution and species extinction. I recommend doing your own research to find environmental issues that are most important to you. We all know the three R's reduce, reuse, recycle, reduce your waste and carbon footprint were used products rather than throwing them out and recycle anything that can be recycled. However, there is one quick note I'd like to make about recycling, and that is that many of the items with the recycle are not in fact recycled and instead are simply thrown away in. Additionally, plastic does have a recycling lifespan and can only be recycled a finite amount of times before it breaks down into micro plastics and Micra. Plastics cannot degrade any farther and remain on the planet forever. Environmental responsibility isn't just about reducing and reusing anymore. There are two very important ours that must be considered refuse and rot. Refuse means to say no to not re useful. Non recyclable items such as plastic bags at the supermarket, food wrapped in plastic and straws been single use. Take away containers at restaurants on these little changes, which don't feel like much in the moment really add up, especially if you imagine everyone was saying no rock when first composing all organic waste rather than sending food and green waste to landfill where it doesn't break down properly when you begin is your waist journey. It's tempting to toss out all plastic items and replace them with eco friendly products. However, that pulling creates more waste. Instead, use up all plastic items before replacing them. Some plastic items, like cleaning tools and home accessories can last for years. Furthermore, it's important to always be aware of the potential of greenwashing. Making. A product of here is, though it's environmentally friendly, when in fact it isn't when you're going to buy environmentally friendly approx. I hope you enjoy this first introductory lesson to begin in year zero. Waste Journey in the next lesson will cover how to go zero waste in the kitchen, from the packaging to cleaning products. If you'd like to get in touch for any questions or comments for me, my blog's minimalist mary dot com and I'm also on instagram and Pinterest as minimalist Mary 2. Lesson 2: The Kitchen: way. Welcome back to the Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste Lesson two of six. The kitchen in this lesson will cover purchasing food, food packaging What to do with food waste cleaning products in cleaning supplies. The kitchen is central through a zero waste home. In fact, this is where the bulk of our waste is produced, from food, waste and plastic packaging to what we used to clean the countertops. There are a multitude of quick and easy ways to reduce our waste food, and its packaging is central to finding waste when purchasing food. Whether you do yourself in daily, weekly, monthly or something in between, off would over purchasing and buy only what you need to avoid throwing out wasted food. If you do purchase too much food, get creative with meals by adding in different foods. To keep food from being thrown out, make conscious decisions when you purchase food, opt for low to no packaging on fresh items, purchase items from bulk bins using your own backs and containers, and try to buy locally and seasonally to check out farmers markets for fresh fruit and veg and read the country of origin labels when purchasing food in the supermarket to cut back on the emissions from shipping food from country to country. Although a plant based diet has been proven to be the best diet to follow for the planet, and it's when I follow myself, I don't believe it's my place to tell anyone what they should or should not eat. I'd encourage anyone to try out a plant based diet and see if it's for them. But if you'd like to stick to eating meat, try to buy from local farmers and reduce red meat consumption to lower your carbon footprint. Composting isn't just for those who thoughts about your space. There are options for complex foodways for everyone with three of a tiny city apartment or live on a farm. Tumbler Compositing uses a fully sealed container, which is rotated regularly so mixed materials as the container is sealed. This helps the composite rate down faster. Another option is open or closed composting using an outdoor container, which will need to be mixed regularly. Verma composting is great for those living in apartment. All it requires is a closed container, dirt, food, waste and worms. The worms will then break down all food waste. The buzkashi composting method is another option. It's great for those with limited or no outdoor space. The caution method uses a special been in which food waste is fermented and rapidly broken down. We tend to toss out for composite the little ends of its tools. When we cook to make the most of food, you can freeze those little scraps until you have about a bags. Work the vegetable scraps. This could then be boiled with some fresh veg, a few bay leaves and water to make your own vegetable stock. I do this with all my vegetable scraps, and not only is this cheaper than buying plastic package store bought vegetable broth, it's way tasty or two. One of the best ways to cut back on plastic in cleaning supplies is toe. Opt for natural bars of soap, which nearly always come either package free or in cardboard or paper, or make your own cleaning supplies. Bars of soap are great for washing hands without all the plastic packaging, and some can even be used to wash dishes, too. It's harder to avoid plastic when it comes to liquid soaps, but they're heaps of recipes online to make your own liquid soaps from just a handful of non toxic ingredients. When it comes to laundry detergent and dishwasher liquids or pods, it's often ineffective, if not downright harmful, to your belongings to make your own, unless you're very experience in making these sorts of cleaners. Which is why I don't recommend making your own. If you're just starting out on a zero waste journey instead, offer cleaning products in carport packaging. Some natural and bulk stores will also allow you to bring your own containers to fill upon various cleaning supplies from liquid soaps. Toe laundry detergents. Do make sure cleaning detergents and soaps are SLS free tow. Avoid harsh toxic chemicals entering into the water supply, referring back to the first lesson cleaning supplies or something you don't need to replace right away. It's perfectly fine and in fact, better to use what you have. Both were buying these recommended ICO alternatives. Wooden and bamboo scrubbing brushes can replace plastic brushes and sponges and do Justus well cleaning. Is there plastic counterparts? Most could be composited at the end of their life span. That being said, my bamboo scrubbing brushes lasted me years and is still hanging in there. For tougher messes. Consider natural scrubbing pads. These were made from 100% plant based ingredients such as coconut or hemp fibers, which again can buy a degrade in the compost after use again. Be on the lookout for green washed products by making sure the natural scrubbing pads really are 100% plant based and don't contain any classics as plastic containing scrubbing pads would prevent the item from bio degrading. Giving up paper towels and paper napkins is another huge step towards a zero waste lifestyle. Replace paper towels with tea towels for hand drying and use dish cloths and teach house for drying dishes to. And so what? Paper napkins out for cloth napkins, which could be reused over and over again. I hope you enjoy this lesson and found it helpful on your journey to a zero waste life in the next lesson will cover how to go zero waste in the bathroom, from shampoo to dental floss. If you'd like to get in touch for have any questions or comments for me, My blog's minimalist Mary and I'm also on Instagram and Pinterest as minimalist Mary 3. Lesson 3: The Bathroom: um, I Welcome back to the Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste Lesson three of six. The bathroom and this lesson will cover toiletries, skin care and body care products, dental hygiene and toilet paper. And it's alternatives. Hair care has a lot of waste. Plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner, combs and hairbrushes. One easy switches using a bar of shampoo rather than a bottle. It often takes experimenting with a few different brands and types of bar shampoo before you find what that works best for you in your hair. My personal favor is ethics. Hilly Q E Bar shampoo. I listed a few brands on the slide, but I definitely encourage you to check out online schtrops and in stores as well. Another hair care switches going from plastic hairbrushes and combs to ones made of bamboo or wood. They do tend to cost a bit more than plastic brushes and combs, but they last for longer to for hand soap end in the shower switch to a bar of natural. So rather than soap in a plastic bottle, there are so many wonderful smelling, all natural soaps, thes days and in little to no packaging. Then it makes the switch even easier. If you like to exfoliate, consider making your own scripts. There are a ton of natural recipes online, but you can easily make your own with just 2 to 3 ingredients. A scrub based like sugar, salt or coffee grounds, an oil such as coconut oil or olive oil, and then essential oil of your choice. If you'd like a cent. Zero waste lotion can be a bit more challenging than other body care products for a facial , moisturizer and oil like a hobo, oil, which won't clog your pores is an excellent option and can be used as a body lotion to another option is to make your own lotion from Shea butter, coconut oil, vitamin E oil and essential oils of your choice. Skincare, like body care, only requires a few adjustments to go package free. Swap your plastic bottle of face wash for a solid bar cleanser, just like soap. There are wiring package free or paper racked facial soaps, with many made for specific skin types, so there's something for everyone. It's easy to make your official masks, toners and steams, using natural ingredients such as herbs, rosewater and spices. However, be sure to follow recipes closely, as some herbs were not meant to be mixed together and can cause adverse reactions. In some cases, there are specific items we do need, like a dermatologist prescribes. Face wash for a sensitive skin body wash that we just can't live without. And you should never feel like you have to give up those items and suffer to go low waist. Instead, produce your waist where you can And don't worry if there are necessary items in your skin care routine that do involve some plastic for anyone who likes to use makeup. What you've used up the makeup you already have. Consider switching to brands with fully recyclable or reusable packaging. Some of my favorite low waist brands are RMS beauty vapor and the late cosmetics. Another option is to make your own makeup from natural ingredients such as dried beet root and raspberries and cocoa powder. There are several low to zero waste options for hair removal. The most common option is switching from a plastic razor to a safety razor. The safety razor is entirely metal, and the blades could be recycled after use a good alternative to normal waxing which contains plastics and plastic containing materials, is sugar waxing, which is is just sugar, water and lemon juice and come biodegrade, teeth brushing, conceding like it takes a lot of plastic. But there are just a Zeman e plastic alternatives. One of the easiest swaps is going from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one. After 3 to 4 months, thes Beibu toothbrushes could be composted. Just check to see if the bristles need to be removed first, as not all bristles are made of co hostile materials. I found that a bamboo toothbrush is just is good at cleaning my teeth as a plastic one to avoid the plastic tubes of toothpaste switched to tooth taps. These little tabs air chewed momentarily, and then you brush. Your teeth is normal, although not this foamy is traditional toothpaste. It leaves your teeth clean and your breath. Fresh Plastic dental floss could be swapped out for floss made of bamboo or silk, like the bamboo toothbrush is, the floss could be composted after use. You can also avoid plastic bottles of mouthwash by making your own at home. There are lots of recipes online, so you confined your favorite one as I mentioned earlier. Don't feel bad of your routine. Still contain some plastic. Your health should always come before a bit of plastic use and consult with your dentist. If you're worried about making any dental hygiene changes, recycled toilet paper has become a bit trendy. Check any supermarket and they're sure to carry it. The benefits of recycled toilet paper versus regular toward the paper aren't too clear yet , but companies like who gives a crap are far more sustainable and offer more sustainable alternatives to regular toilet paper, like toilet paper made out of being boo. I want to give up toilet paper entirely. Many people have made the switch to of a day and family cloth, a reusable toilet tissue made from cloth. I hope you enjoyed this lesson and found it helpful on your journey to a zero waste lifestyle. In the next lesson will cover how to reduce waste in our living spaces, like the living room, bedroom and home office. If you'd like to get in touch or have any questions or comments for me, my blog's minimalist mary dot com and I'm also on instagram and Pinterest as minimalist Mary 4. Lesson 4: Living Spaces: Way E and welcome back to the Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste Lesson four of six living spaces, and this lesson will talk about zero and low waste options for furniture, bedding, electron ICS and home accessories. Furniture is one of our biggest but also infrequent expenses in a home, and it also comes with a block, plastic packaging and waste in the form of transport. One option to lower the amount of waste when buying furniture is to buy used. Not only does this save money, it keeps furniture from being Scinto landfill. Additionally, you would always re upholstered furniture you already own. Or you can repulse for used furniture if it's not your style. If you're buying new furniture, try to buy ethically and sustainably. Lots of smaller boutique shops make an effort to be sustainable, and even large companies have started to put an effort into their environmental and social in backs. You can check the company's sustainability efforts online on their websites, or you can ask in stores. Purchasing from local furniture makers is another way to find more environmentally friendly furniture. Although there isn't a guarantee that local desires will follow environmentally sustainable practices, it can reduce the emissions from shipping furniture long distances and supports positive social impacts, such as the payment of fair wages. As with any new and big purchase, be sure to do your research ahead of time, not only to find the most sustainable items at the best price and to scope out the best in this for ensuring the area, but also to allow yourself time to contemplate whether you really need a new item or not. This can help prevent any unnecessary or impulse purchases that could quickly end up in the trash. Environmentally friendly linens and bedding will not often talked about are an important part to a zero waste home. As with many purchases we talked about throughout this course, it's important to use of what you already have. If your sheets and bedding or perfectly fine then there's no need to go out and purchase new linens right away. However, if you are in the market for new bedding, there are a few important things to consider. One is to look out for organic cotton or pure linen bedding, especially those that use natural dyes. These efforts and natural colors are far better for the environment than other sheets such as polyester, which shed micro plastics when washed. Additionally, look for certified B corporations when making purchases at B certification means that the company is transparent and is held accountable for their actions and also balances making profits with environmental and social responsibility in many cases, sustainably and ethically might. Bedding and linen are more expensive than regular betting if you're on a budget or don't have as much to spend by equality error sheets at an affordable price that are made to last and won't need replacing frequently. After all, it's all about progress rather than perfection. When it comes to appliances and electron ICS we can't live without. It's all about energy usage and efficiency when your electronic Zorn and use always turn them off at the wall or unplugged them to conserve power. When buying new appliances, try to purchase appliances with the best energy rating. It's far better for the environment and can also lower your monthly energy bills. Smart meters, rather than traditional energy meters, allow you to track your uses that power, gas and electricity. Over time, you can see patterns in your energy usage and make adjustments to cut back when appliances an electron ICS break. It's important to take them to recycling centres rather than to the dump. Where the leak toxic materials into landfill. Most towns and cities have recycling centers where you can drop off old items, and some companies will also collect and recycle your larger appliances for a small fee. Our houses are truly homes until we have some decor. One of the most IK overly options is to add plans to your home. It's a low waist way to decorate, connect with nature and purify the air. Find for local artists and crafters is another low waist way to decorate your home as most items come free of plastic wrap and have minimal transport emissions, check out markets, craft fairs and independent shops. Additionally, shop mindfully and only up for pieces that are practical and timeless. When each item is thoughtfully added and provides value. Thinking last a lifetime and won't be tossed out is clutter. I hope you enjoy this lesson and found that helpful on your journey towards a zero waste lifestyle. In the next lesson, we'll talk about everything you need to stay zero waste when you're out and about if you'd like to get in touch or of any questions or comments for me. My blog's minimalist miri dot com and I'm also on Instagram and Pinterest as minimalist Mary. 5. Lesson 5: On-The-Go: hi and welcome back to the beginner's Guide to Zero. Waste less in five of six on the go in this lesson will cover everything you need to know to stay. Zero waste when you're out and about from shopping at the supermarket to must haves for eating out with family and friends at the supermarket. One of the best things to do is simply pay attention to packaging. Look for the lowest waste options available package free or wrapped in paper or cardboard. Whether the plastic, for example, many things we buy in plastic, such as rice, flour and cereal can be purchased from the bulk section of many stores. Bring your own reasonable containers. You can buy lightweight cloth, bulk bin bags online or in some stores, make your own or even repurpose old pillowcases. Or bring in jars. Just be sure to get the tar way before you add your items to the container. And, of course, always remember to bring your own reusable shopping bags to any store, not just the supermarket. Cotton, linen and jute bags are more sustainable, re useful options and the ones that are so let many supermarkets as they contain micro plastics like polyester. Whether you're buying a coffee in between meetings out to dinner with your friends or grabbing a quick lunch, there are several essential zero waste items to add to your list of on the go must have. And even better, you likely have most of these already keep a reusable water bottle on hand so you don't have to buy plastic ones. The options are endless. From stainless steel to glass, you can find one that works best for you in your lifestyle. If you're a coffee or tea drinker, keep a res will take away muck on and to I personally love my Keep Cup. But there are a ton of options and often thrift store sell on the go mugs and thermos flasks for just a few dollars. Keep a set of cutlery on hand to I like to keep a spoon, a fork and a set of chopsticks with me at all times. This will prevent having to reach for plastic cutlery when getting a meal out about, you can simply use cutlery you have at home to There's no need to buy anything new for this unless you want Teoh. We've all heard about reusing his draught restaurants. And while it's a small change and it isn't going to stop all plastic pollution, it's a wonderful way to raise. Awareness will not necessary as most people do not tend to need straws. It's a great way to cut back on plastic use. I found that when I bring my set of reusable straws, friends and even servers are interested as to why I don't use plastic straws. It's a great way to raise a discussion on environmental awareness and plastic pollution while also reducing your own plastic usage out and about and in the car. I like to keep a few handkerchiefs. This cuts down on paper and plastic waste from all those little tissue packets. Simply throw your handkerchief into the wash after use. You can make your own from spare fabric. I made mine from an old super soft pair of pajamas I didn't wear anymore, or you can buy them in stores and online. Keeping a few sphere containers with you when you're out and about from jars told food storage containers prevents a lot of avoidable waste. You can use them in place of plastic and Styrofoam containers for take away orders and to go containers from restaurants and use them at bullpens. If you forgot your regular containers, learning to improvise is key to any. They're a waste. Ernie tries. We all might. It's super easy to forget our on the go essentials. It's crucial to be able to adapt to the situation and use what you already have to avoid unnecessary waste. For example, if you forgot your reusable packs for the supermarket or bookstore, either store your items in your purse or backpack, or do your best to carry the items without a bag and never beat yourself up for any mistakes. We'll forget things and end up with a bit of plastic from time to time to keep a zero waste lifestyle. It's important to simply learn from mistakes and continue on rather than feel guilty. Don't hesitate to speak up for the environment, but always be respectful to politely declined plastic bags, straws and to go coffee cups. If people are interested in why you're avoiding plastic, tell them about your decisions. Why you made them an offer. Some tips on how they can goes your waist to. It's always better to lead by example, and let people approach you rather than to try to get people to join in. The zero waste movement when they don't seem interested, is that really alienate people and push them away? You can speak up to businesses and other organisations, though. Don't be shy to s your workplace school or favorite restaurant to consider lessening their use of single use plastics. You can also give low waist gifts to family and friends, things like package three soaps and loosely tees or gives anyone with love. You can also sign and start petitions both online and in person to reduce waste and protect the environment and continue to look for areas to reduce waste in your own life. I hope you enjoyed this lesson in found that helpful on your journey towards a zero waste lifestyle. In our final lesson, we'll talk about fast fashion and the alternatives for more sustainable and ethical clothing. If you'd like to get in touch or any questions or comments for me, my blog's minimalist mary dot com I'm also on instagram and Pinterest as minimalist Mary 6. Lesson 6: Fashion: hi and welcome back to the Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste. This is our final lesson fashion. In this last lesson, we'll talk about the problems with fast fashion and ways your wardrobe can reflect a zero waste lifestyle. The fashion industry is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on Earth. In fact, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of the world's carbon emissions. Fast fashion is the mass production of quickly consumed, floating often but not always at low prices. For the average consumer, most closed would be from fast fashion retailers. Environmental destruction, which includes tons of pepper, Exanta, Linville every day and toxic chemicals from textile factories entering into the waterways is not the only problem with fast fashion. It also causes economic and social harm with terrible wages and dangerous, if not downright deadly, living conditions. For workers who almost always come from disadvantaged backgrounds, there are a number of alternatives to fast fashion. Using what you have drifting and buying sustainably too often slow in sustainable fashion has become synonymous with expensive clothing. But that doesn't have to be the case. A sustainable wardrobe never has to be expensive. The first step to an environmentally friendly zero waste wardrobe is simply using what you already have. Stopped purchasing clothes you don't truly need and give up buying from fast fashion retailers. It's perfectly fine if most of your clothes are from fast fashion brands. I haven't purchased any fast fashion clothing in several years, but more than half of my wardrobe is comprised of previous fast fashion purchases. It's simply important to be aware of the issue and to try to avoid future purchases from fast fashion brands. When you do need new clothing, whether it's for a special occasion or your day today, quote simply can't be mended anymore and you need to replace an item. Consider buying used. Their stores are a wonderful place to look for clothing, with unique pieces at low costs. Additionally, there's growing popularity and buying gently used clothing online and in stores by purchasing use clothing. You don't support the devastating effects of fast fashion and keep close from ending up in landfill. Another way to get new to you clothing is to host or participate in a clothing swap free of cost. You trade clothing with other people to get new items without the environmental impact or the expenses if you'd like new clothing, shopping sustainably is central to keeping your wardrobe. Zero waste. Sustainable brands use natural dyes and are careful and conscientious in the use of textiles. Ethical brands will ensure that factories their safe and employees receive fair wages. Well, not always the case. Most sustainable brands are also ethical brands. There are a wide range of sustainable clothing brands largely sold online. Unless you live in a big city where sustainable clothing brands are easily accessible in person and sustainable clothing brands very greatly in price. I have included a list of sustainable and often ethical clothing brands in the lesson description. E. I hope you enjoyed the final lesson in this course and feel equipped with enough knowledge to fully and work on your journey to a zero waste lifestyle. Living zero waste is a continuous process in one of constant learning, so don't worry if you feel overwhelmed or make mistakes along the way, we all dio I've included a hub of links on various aspects of zero waste living in the lesson description below to help you continue on this journey. If you'd like to get in touch, for any questions about living. Zero waste moving forwards. Please don't hesitate to get in contact with May. My bloggers mentalist mary dot com and I'm also on Instagram and Pinterest as minimalist Miri.