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Don't throw that plastic when starting zero-waste life!

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Looking at various individuals leading a sustainable and zero waste life, one might get motivated to lead the same. Starting out, it may overwhelm you and look difficult but then the constant motivation allows one to look for alternatives making it possible to lead this lifestyle without having to change the fundamentals of living.

The first thing one does is to look online, as today, information is just a click away. The following switches are available and can be found out easily on researching.

Today, we have multiple platforms offering products that can help a person to make these changes. We also have a good number of well-aware people ready to make these changes. So, starting and leading a zero-waste life has become much easier now than ever. 

On detailed observation, you would find subtle deviations from the zero-waste lifestyle that these products promise. There are some common myths about how to bring changes to your present inventory to achieve this lifestyle, however, those feel more like marketing strategies to push their product to the market and make consumers buy more rather than changing habits to look around and make the best possible use of available resources.

Let me make you aware to observe these deviations and set you on the path to absolute zero-waste living.

1. Replacing all the plastic containers with glass and metal:

Resources are extracted and utilized for making those plastic containers, bottles, and other items in your house. And plastic has some really good uses as it is one of the most versatile product.

Instead of replacing all of them with glass and metal, use all of them to its full life and when they are not in the condition of further use, dispose of them properly. Make sure it is not going to the dumpsite and you are collecting and selling it to a kabadiwalas, the informal waste aggregator, or giving it to authorized recyclers in your localities whose list you can find on google.

You don’t need to buy glass jars. We get coffee, jams, ketchup, chutney, and many other products in glass jars. Wash these jars properly and reuse them. Manufacturing of glass is an energy-intensive process and the output should be used for their full lifecycle. Glass can be recycled hundreds of times but it is an energy-intensive process so instead of buying new, use the ones you get with different market products.

Reusing glass and plastic jars for different kitchen items. PC: Preeti Chauhan

2. Buying cloth bags:

Refusing the polythene bags and opting for cloth bags is one of the really good switches. But buying these types of new cloth bags for daily uses is not a good idea.

PC: They are sourced from

I would suggest looking in your cupboards before buying the cloth bags. Look for those old t-shirts, shorts, pants, suits, sarees, duppattas, and every possible thing that you can find there.

Your old bed sheets, curtains can also be a good source of making these cloth bags.

Become a little creative and stitch your own cloth bag. Or if you have doubts about your ability then visit a tailor and get a few bags stitched.

These Cloth bags are stitched and made at home.

PC: Preeti Chauhan

I am sure on your zero-waste journey, you won’t like to contribute to this polluting industry.

3. Getting rid of all the polybags you have:

When one understands how the single-use plastic bags are creating havoc post disposal, one may think of getting rid of all the polybags and completely switching to the cloth bags. 

But I have a different opinion, I would say don’t get rid of them rather keep the polybags which are made up of HDPE(High Density Polyethylene, ), PP (Polypropylene, ), and LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene, ). Save those packaging polybags that you receive on your online orders; those are safe, durable and reusable. 

These are good quality polybags and are of great use, they are lightweight and waterproof and easy to carry. They become very handy when you want to carry your grains and other items or saving your important documents. Wash and reuse them. I use them during my travel, to keep my clothes, toiletries, footwear, etc.

The suggestion is, say NO to the new polybags. Use the one you have to its full life. 

4. Buying wooden/bamboo cutlery:

There is no need to buy new wooden/bamboo spoons and forks, and we don’t need straws, one can drink directly from the glass or jar. Instead of buying a new cutlery set, make your set from the things which are already lying in your kitchen.  

While starting a zero-waste life, go for second-hand products than buying new ones.

The whole point of adopting a zero-waste lifestyle is by utilizing the resources you have to the fullest and be mindful and conscious while buying the new one. 

“The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy”, says Joshua Becker.

Today, we live in a capitalist world where countries primarily focus on maintaining high GDPs. Products are introduced in the markets today, more by creating unnecessary demands rather than the actual needs.

Pushing the products to the markets even when they are impractical has become a new trend. I would like to end this with a request, think twice before buying any product. 


Preeti Chauhan is an environmentalist, a Climate Reality Leader, and a civil engineer with 7+ years of a successful corporate career. She is a zero-waste practitioner and has an undying love for mountains. With her keenness to find different solutions for the Himalayan environment issues, she studied Sustainable Environment Management from SIES IIEM, Mumbai, and Entrepreneurial Leadership from Naropa Fellowship, Ladakh. She believes beyond Reduce, Reuse, Recycle we also need to push for Refuse, Repurpose, Rot, and Recover to achieve sustainable zero waste life. Currently, she is the founder of Little Green World.


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