Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – The Basis for a Zero Waste Living

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – The Basis for a Zero Waste Living

The amount of waste produced globally each day is INSANE. Aiming at a zero waste living, even if you don’t fully achieve it, will still be progress and you’ll be helping the planet.

The earth’s population is approximate 7.7 billion people and it’s growing every day.  On average, each person produces 4.40 pounds of waste and only 34% of that is recycled.  That means around 3 pounds of waste are being piled daily into landfills, dumped in our oceans or burned every day releasing toxic fumes into the environment. 

lake full of garbage

Zero Waste Living

The concept of no waste has been around for over twenty years.  In 2000 it turned into a zero-waste campaign.  Zero waste living principals aim at eliminating waste by reusing or recycling things instead of throwing them away. 

For example, a bookcase that you want to get rid of might be able to be torn apart and re-painted to make a table and a stool or used as shelving.  By reusing items, waste is eliminated.

Some ways to get started towards a zero-waste lifestyle are to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle.


Say no to products that harm you or the environment. Be conscious about the purpose, ingredients and production process of things. Refuse single-use, disposable items such as plastic grocery bags, cups, cutlery, straws, packaging, etc. Convenience sometimes lacks consciousness.

Instead, say yes to sustainable, eco-friendly products, buying in bulk and carrying a reusable bag, bottle, cutlery, straws, etc. to avoid waste.

RELATED: Check out our reusable stainless steel straws

zero waste living - bulk shop


Reducing refers to cutting out what you don’t need and reducing our carbon footprint, too.  Let go of personal or household items that you don’t use anymore. Donate or sell them to declutter. Also, think about reducing your shopping habits. Buy with purpose, ideally from eco-conscious companies and be conscious about your needs, ‘do I really need this item?’.

There are small things that you can do to make an impact on lowering your carbon footprint.  Here are some tips:

  • Turn off lights and unplug electronics and appliances that you’re not using
  • Use cold water to wash clothes and dishes
  • Switch to paperless bills and statements
  • Ride a bike or carpool
  • Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables
  • Compost
  • Don’t waste water, take short showers and don’t leave the water running
woman riding a bike


Let go of disposable, convenient items and switch to permanent ones. Reuse items multiple times, borrow when possible and don’t buy, save glass containers and use them to shop in bulk stores. Buy second-hand items or do them yourself.

Some items that are worth investing in are:

Also, instead of throwing things away, think of different ways to repurpose them. Make a craft project out of mismatched socks, turn broken crayons into candles, turn old paper into scraps for crafting and making notes, repair things and upcycle them!

embroidery over sweater


Recycling is the last step in the waste management hierarchy. We need to stop considering recycling as our go-to solution for waste reduction, instead, just recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse.

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It takes conscious thought and a proactive attitude to switch to a zero-waste living but it can definitely be achieved.  By refusing, reducing, reusing and recycling you are on your way to creating a better environment for everyone, too.

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