25 questions to help you be a better low to no waste consumer

September 28, 2018

Developing zero or low waste habits is a critical piece of being a circular consumer and living a renewable life. It helps to focus on finding and taking care of what we really need. The beauty of living less wastefully is how easily we can translate the principles across the whole of our lives. 

Living less wastefully means striving to find every use for something before we finally have to retire it. Sure, it would be nice if we could keep finding new purposes for everything that we use, but we also want to be realistic in our expectations and take simple, kind steps towards our circular goal. Here are some questions we've developed to help make the transition to living a low to no waste life.

Mindful buying

  • Do I really need and want this?
  • Can something I already have do the same thing?
  • Is this something that I am just going to use or do once, or will it become a habit?
  • Is this the right option to fit what I need and want?
  • What will happen and where will it go when I am done with this?

Storage Solutions

  • Where will I store the item when not in use?
  • Do you already have the correct furniture or container to store it, or will I have to create or obtain more storage?
  • Will my storage options be accessible so I can use the item again easily? 
  • Does storing and retrieving the object fit with my daily flow, or will I need new habits to get the most out of the object?
  • Does the object require setup when retrieved from storage and maintenance or a compacting process to return to storage?

Single Use

  • Will I want to use the same or similar object more than once in the near future?
  • Is there a less wasteful option with which I can accomplish the same task?
  • If you only need an object for a one-time use, can I borrow it from someone in my circle?
  • If I am only going to use an item once, can it be recycled or up-cycled to fulfill another purpose?
  • If I am only going to use it once, are you sure that there isn't something you already have that will work well enough?

Durability and Maintenance

  • Is the chosen item designed to last as long as I  need it?
  • What is required to clean and maintain the object?
  • Can I perform the cleaning and maintenance, or will I need outside help to do so?
  • Does the maintenance of the item fit well with my general life flow, or will I need to develop new habits to get the most out of the item?
  • Do I know how to safely and responsibly retire the item?

Sharing is caring

  • Can I lend this item out when I am not using it?
  • Can I share cleaning and maintenance duties with others in my circle?
  • Is there an easy way to learn about and let others know what items and services are available to share in my circle or region?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some good starter questions. Do you have a question you like to ask yourself or a favorite resource that you use to keep your waste to a minimum? Please share it with us! Send your tips to hello@renewalworkshop.com.

Also in (RE)NEWS

Books for bottles
Books for bottles
The best way we can share the Renewable Life with our kids is by setting a great example. This Italian cafe inspires students to rethink ...

Read More

Where does our stuff really go?
Where does our stuff really go?
When we are done with the stuff, it has to go somewhere, and we then think of it as ‘away’, at least from us. But there is no ‘away...

Read More

Start a stuff journal
If you want to build up the habit of staying renewed, start out by tracking some simple metrics. Become more mindful of your impact...

Read More