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HOW TO LIVE LIGHTLY: A Journey Towards Zero-Waste

We all start somewhere... Right? "Zero Waste is the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health. This set of principles is primarily focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators or the ocean." [from Wikipedia] Does the idea of living a 'zero-waste' life seem like a distant idea, if not unattainable? Don't worry, you're not alone. Lessening your carbon footprint can present itself as a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be this way. At BBCU, we want to take this journey with you through outlining tips and tricks, sharing news and progress reports of the movement, and by hands-on waste removal like we do in our clean-ups within the community. SIMPLE STEPS TOWARDS LIVING A ZERO-WASTE LIFE: 1. BRING YOUR OWN BOTTLE Americans throw away enough plastic bottles each year to circle the earth four times, with more than 80% of plastic water bottles purchased ending up in the landfill. In addition to the harm this incites on our environment, the risk of harmful toxins leaching into the very sustenance you are ingesting also poses a more personal risk. All the more reasons to utilize a reusable water bottle! 2. SAY NO TO PLASTIC STRAWS I know, I know. The cardboard straws suck (no pun intended) compared to the sturdier plastic ones. But do you know what is even sturdier than plastic? Metal or glass straws. Stash a couple in your purse for you and your friends. Why? Because nearly 7.5 million plastic straws were found on U.S. shorelines during a five-year cleanup research project. Extrapolated globally, that is 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on the world's coastlines. Let's change that. 3. BRING YOUR OWN BAG We all know this one. Plastic bags need to be done away with. Many states have nudged this change by charging customers for the plastic bags they need when shopping, thus encouraging reusable bag use. Opting for a cloth tote bag is a great step towards less waste, but want to take it a step further? Consider using an old pillowcase from home, or, go naked! Leave your stuff in the cart and unload it directly into your car or into a personal basket. Plastic bags are out, handmade baskets are in! 4. HOST A CLOTHING SWAP Fast fashion is one of the fastest-growing industries. Statistically, tonnes of fast fashion items are being thrown away every year. Instead of hopping onto your favorite online shopping site, consider hosting a clothing swap and inviting over some friends! It's a great way to recycle clothes that no longer suit your style or fit, as well as foster a sense of community! One man's trash is another man's treasure.. Am I right? Here at BBCU, we know it's not always easy to make every choice an eco-friendly choice. But we start small. We lovingly educate our friends and family. We recognize the world we were raised in and all the unlearning we must do to be better. And with that comes the acceptance that this will not happen overnight! So, don't sweat the small stuff, but take baby steps. Together we can make a change! If you feel inspired, tag @bikinibeachcleanup when you start enacting these changes in your day-to-day! We all thrive off of the goodness of others. If you see a positive impact, share it!

Written by friend and BBCU ambassador, Alexandria Shaw

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