Going Zero Waste: The Pitfalls and How to Avoid them

Only a few months into our journey of going zero waste and we have slipped up countless times! Going zero waste is certainly not easy. Our lifestyle and our way of thinking about everyday life needs to alter and adjust. Although we have messed up far more than what we would have expected we have noticed some improvements. The biggest improvement is our awareness of when we do slip up. By noticing our errors, we make a mental note to try and avoid a situation like that in the future.

However, life happens, we get busy, I forget my travel mug sometimes, we order take -out pizza because we didn’t prepare anything for dinner, I purchase cookies in a packet because I didn’t make time to bake our own. All these small little mishaps can really add up, we can see it as clear as day when we open the recycle bin!

This weekend was a busy weekend for us and we didn’t have time at home to prepare lunch or dinner. We are not people who eat out regularly, just because I love cooking and we see eating out as more of a treat than an everyday venture. We ordered take out for dinner which came with recyclable containers, totally forgot when ordering take out about the containers! When I saw George arriving back home after picking up dinner I felt like a hypocrite. Are we not supposed to be zero waste? Why did we not think of the packaging! That right there is what I mean about our awareness. This awareness is great, however now we need to take it a step further and really think before purchasing items if we want to achieve our goal of zero waste.

One massive hurdle to get over to achieve zero waste I believe is to be organized. Plan out our meals in advance, know where to get all the ingredients we need. Shop in a waste free store like Nada, The Soap Dispensary or bulk sections in Wholefoods or Choices. Farmers markets are a great way to shop for package free produce and they are on several days a week around the city of Vancouver. In Kitsilano there is one on a Thursday evening and Sunday Morning.

Being organized also includes having our travel cup with you when we are out and about, always packing reusable shopping bags in our bag, produce bags are great too for small fruits and bulk items like nuts and seeds.

If you are someone who does order take out a lot from the same places, ask them to place your order in lunch boxes you provide the day before. My friends do this, and I think it is awesome. They drop in a stack of lunch boxes to their favorite take-out a week in advance, so they can have take-out all week with no packaging. They obviously do not like cooking and love their local take-out😉

This weekend we remembered our water bottles and travel cups when we were going for our Sunday stroll. We walked to one of our favorite cafes and ordered pastries. We were so delighted handing over our travel mugs that we totally forgot to tell the lady not to place the pastries in bags. These are the moments I am hoping we will catch and remember to say, “we don’t need a bag” or “we have our bag”. I am hoping this statement will become routine to us as we are further into our challenge of going zero waste.


We are moving in the right direction and we are hoping to be zero waste by this time 6 months. We are not placing major pressure on ourselves as we want to figure out a method that works. This is something we hope to carry through for the rest of our lives and not just a phase of our life. Hopefully we can then pass on what we have learned about zero waste to our future children, friends, family and peers.

Please let me know how you have avoided waste and packaging in your life?

If you have any hot tips to share, please do.

Thanks for reading,

Chat soon,

Theresa x

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