Simply Your Life: 5 Ways To Practice A Zero-Waste Lifestyle


As a New Yorker, when I first heard about a *zero waste lifestyle*, I thought one thing: this can’t be true. Waste is everywhere — styrofoam take-out boxes litter most streets, cigarette butts thrown out of cabs, + plastic water bottles are overflowing trash cans on nearly, every city corner.

Then, Lauren Singer, a NYU grad + founder of her own company, The Simply Co., started showing up everywhere. New York Magazine, Fox News, MSNBC, + a recent TEDxTeen Conference [check out her TED Talk!]. On her blog, TrashIsForTossers, Lauren notes: “To me, Zero Waste means that I do not produce any garbage. No sending anything to a landfill, no throwing anything in a trash can, nothing. However, I do recycle and I do compost.” All of the trash that she has created in the last three years fits neatly into her 16oz Mason Jar.

I was motivated. I had recently chosen vegetarianism, having learned of the environmental effects of meat production from a sustainability course in college. But transitioning to full-on zero waste seemed impossible [+ in many ways, still does!]. Since learning of Lauren + her lifestyle, I’ve slowly taken on my own version of zero waste + while not 100% perfect, it has helped me live a happier, cheaper [!], + more mindful life.

I know it seems hard + maybe even a little *out there*, but I promise — it’s worth it. Not only are you helping the environment, but this *less is more* mentality will have a positive impact on your day-to-day life. The easiest way to transition into the zero waste lifestyle is to first understand your habits + start with changing the simplest [but most effective!] actions. Check out these five super easy ways to start your own zero waste journey…


This is something you probably already do, because CHAARG girls have the fiercest fit gear! Ditch the daily plastic water bottle for a sleek reusable [even if it’s plastic, that’s okay — you are using it daily!]. I love my CHAARGified Citrus Zinger, because I can change up the flavor + rep CHAARG everywhere I go.


One of the biggest culprits — the plastic bag. Anywhere you go [the grocery store, convenience store, the Nike outlet ; ), etc.], you’re given a plastic bag. It’s estimated that 2 MILLION plastic bags are discarded *every minute*, so this is definitely one of the first things that needs to go. Simply swap out those one-time use plastic bags for a reusable tote. I use mine as a purse every day, but you can easily throw one in your purse or backpack for any spur-of-the-moment purchases or planned trips to the store.


The grocery store is filled with pre-packaged foods + plastic bags, making it hard to make those zero waste choices. As fall begins, it’s still a perfect time to check out your local farmer’s market or CSA program, purchasing fresh produce straight from the farm + without all the unnecessary packaging. That being said, there’s nothing like a good Trader Joe’s run : ). Make sure you always have your reusable totes on hand + for those looking to get more dedicated, check out these reusable cloth bags — perfect for all of your grocery store produce purchases!


*Fast fashion* — think H&M, Forever 21, +  Zara. I’ll admit I love it too, but with the constant production of lower quality clothing, purchasing from these stores is not the most sustainable choice. Buying second-hand is a fun + easy to live a zero waste lifestyle. With trends always coming back into style, check out your local second-hand + consignment shops — many will have really great quality brands for less. Also, go through your closet + set aside everything that you haven’t worn in the last year. Plan a clothing swap party with your friends [I’ve received some of my favorites from swaps!] or donate your clothes to keep the zero waste cycle going.


Finally, one of the best ways to live zero waste [or any new lifestyle//habit//etc.] is to know more. After first learning about Lauren, I ended up reading her entire blog, TrashIsForTossers. From there, I discovered her inspiration, Bea Johnson, a wife, mother of two, + author of Zero Waste Home. I continually explore the zero waste community on Instagram, learning more tips, tricks, + hacks. Go outside of your comfort zone + use knowledge as a tool to better your day-to-day lifestyle, your local community, + our shared world.

Ready to get started? Snap a pic of your first zero waste practice + share with us using the hashtag #CHAARGZeroWaste! OR See how many ways you can practice *zero waste* + share with us on Instagram with the hashtag #CHAARGZeroWaste!

+ Jessica [@jessicasmith_inchaarg] // VirtCHAARG NYC

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