Going Low Waste: Where to Begin

Updated: Jun 26

Ever feel like there's so much pressure to be perfect when pursuing sustainability, or don't even know where to begin?

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming to take it all in at once. Especially because most of us didn't learn any of it in school and we're figuring it out as we go. Mistakes are bound to happen. We'll know more in a year than we know now for sure. But if we're constantly worried that we're not doing enough, this is a habit that will be hard to keep.

SO. What to do?

Start somewhere. That long list of things 'you're probably supposed to be doing' is full of great ideas! Pick one that speaks to you and begin there. It'll get the ball rolling and you'll be on your way to becoming low waste in no time. Also - I don't know about you but I'm not a money magnet, so the bonus that many of these swaps are cost-effective is what makes them to easy to step into.

Where to Begin

1. Start by looking at habits already in practice.

Where is there excess? Which habits could you do without?

That daily coffee from Starbs, the weekly takeout, the products in your daily routine.

These are all things that produce waste and actually drain your wallet.

Instead, you can make delicious coffee at home, learn new recipes to whip up in the kitchen, and keep a smaller selection of more effective products in your home.

Unconscious excess -

How many paper towels do you use?

How long do you let the shower run? How often do you leave the lights on?How much of what you buy will end up in the trash?

Start by asking yourself questions like these and answer them honestly (no one's listening). Once you acknowledge these habits, then you can start working to improve them.

2. Consider the materials you're buying

Including packaging! This is where so much 'hidden plastic' is found. Choose glass over plastic whenever possible, and keep in mind that whatever you buy will either get eaten, thrown out, recycled, or reused. Be mindful of all the extra waste that tags along and try to avoid it when possible. We have so much power in what we purchase.

Everything has to go somewhere when we're done with it, it doesn't just 'go away' after we 'throw it away'


Whenever possible, try to source bamboo products instead of paper products. It's one of the fastest producing renewable resources on our planet, growing 3 feet a day. These products are also becoming more widely available - bamboo paper towels, toilet paper (toothbrushes while we're at it) all easily accessible and affordable online (I get a lot of mine from Grove).

I don't think many of us realize the impact or severity of deforestation in the world and we can't be entirely blamed, it's supposed to be that way. The paper towel industry makes over $6 billion a year, while one football field of forest is lost every single second around the clock. That means loss of habitat, more emissions entering the atmosphere, and a dwindling supply source.

Bamboo, it is.

3. Invest in Reusable Products

Shopping bags, glass storage containers, tea towels. These things generally have up front costs but will reduce future repeated purchases while saving you $.

Glass Products:

Always store your leftovers in them. On top of being more durable, glass can break down into sand after serving its purpose, is infinitely recyclable, and provides a safer way to heat up food in the microwave. You can also find glass jars to store wholesale products and spices in that look -very- chic.

Reusable bags:

There's such a focus on using them nowadays that you can almost make a fashion statement with them, so I'm always on the hunt for ones I like. You can most likely find some at your own local stores and online.

4. Examine your Home Cleaning Routine

It's probably filled with hidden-plastic! Most cleaning supplies come in plastic bottles: Surface cleaner, dish soap, laundry detergent, sponges, toilet disinfectant, hand soap......you get the gist. These are all things that you're going to be purchasing over and over again, often times at a premium price compared to their sustainable alternatives.

Here are my recommendations:

Hand soap -> nourishing bar soap

Laundry detergent -> laundry sheets or tablets

Toilet disinfectant -> DIY with baking soda and vinegar

Surface cleaner -> Glass spray bottle + cleaning concentrate

Sponges -> Biodegradable walnut or plant-made sponges

Most of things are really accessible on Grove.com (no affiliate link, just a link)

Let's start there! Often times when you begin the ideas just start flowing on their own.

I'm excited you're here, glad you're interested, and happy we're saving the planet together - let's do this thing! Keep coming back for more tips on how to step into sustainable living, one day at a time.

x kate

Follow me @neutrallivingkate on IG for more

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