Back in 2010, the term “zero waste living” splashed onto the scene, largely thanks to Bea Johnson, who is credited with beginning the zero waste movement. Bea has been sharing her journey of avoiding anything that creates waste, in her kitchen and in other aspects of her life – and many people’s zero-waste journeys are inspired by her!
But what’s the fascination with “zero waste”? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, zero waste goes far beyond recycling and composting. Instead, it essentially refers to a goal of sending no waste to the landfill, incinerators, and the ocean – but living a zero-waste lifestyle has taken on various meanings over the years. While some believe that going zero waste means spending more money on sustainable alternatives, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Adopting a less wasteful lifestyle can actually save you time and money in the long run – and here are some ways you can get started with your own journey. 

Small Steps in Becoming More Sustainable

Vegetables and other produce on a table and in reusable produce bags.
Going zero waste overnight is something that most people cannot do. Unlearning years of old habits can be incredibly tricky to overcome, but it’s not something you have to completely change at once. Instead, the best strategy to truly become more sustainable (and create less waste) is by starting with small, intentional steps along the way. These are some of the things we’ve done at the very beginning of our own sustainability journey, and they’re acts that have become part of our everyday lives! 
  1. Commit to a reusable water bottle: Once an empty plastic water bottle is discarded near or in the ocean, it can take up to 450 years for it to decompose, leaving a lasting impact not only on the ocean but on our health, too. Yikes, right? One easy way to avoid single-use plastic bottles over time is to invest once in a reusable water bottle. Bring it with you wherever you go so you never have to buy virgin plastic! Here are a few of our favorite brands.

  2. Refill and reuse: At this point, there is truly no reason for us to continue buying brand-new plastic bottles in stores anytime we run out of hand soap, toothpaste, or even shampoo. The next time you need more home products, visit a zero-waste store where you can buy in bulk with the containers you have! Another option for refilling is visiting one of our Good Filing Stations, which are conveniently located around Boston (and with many more locations on the way). Simply bring your own clean container and refill it with high-quality products like dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent, and even multi-surface spray. You’ll be able to walk away with the products you needed while knowing you saved time, money, and single-use plastic from entering a landfill. 

  3. Keep a reusable bag with you: Have you ever stopped to think about just how much plastic we take home with us from the grocery store? From plastic produce bags to plastic-wrapped cheese, to plastic containers with nuts inside – so much of this is completely unnecessary! When possible, bring a reusable produce bag with you (we like this affordable option from Eco Bags) as well as any other bags you might have at home that can be used to store your groceries, so you can say no to the plastic bag.  

  4. Be mindful of takeout: We love exploring all of the delicious restaurants here in Boston, but did you know that takeout meals can lead to a lot of plastic and food waste? It’s true: Not only is half a pound of food wasted per meal in restaurants, but plastic cutlery and containers are sent straight to the landfill on most occasions. One way to combat this issue is by politely declining any unnecessary plastic items like that cutlery, and you can go one step further by eating at the restaurant and then taking your leftovers home with you in a reusable container you already had, like these bento boxes.

Saving Money With Good Filling 


If you’re unsure how to start living more sustainably, one easy and convenient solution is to take notice of what you purchase and try to limit the amount of plastic in your life. When it comes to cleaning our homes, nearly every single product that is sold on shelves is in a plastic bottle. When we run out of things like a multi-surface cleaner, we’re already conditioned to simply return back to that same store and purchase another new bottle. 
But we’re here to say that it doesn’t need to be this way – there’s now an easy and affordable alternative to single-use plastic bottles, and it’s right here in Boston. Good Filling offers all-natural products for home and body—plus an easy way to help the planet. Enjoy high-quality, name-brand soaps, lotions, detergents, surface sprays, and more. When the bottle is empty, continue using it and get a discounted refill! Not only is refilling more convenient than having to go to the store again but refilling your cleaning supplies will save you an average of $1.50 compared to buying a new bottle of the same product! 
Don’t just take our word for it, though: here’s what people in Boston are saying about Good Filling: 
“Wow! I'm used to getting upcharged for zero-waste products, but they're actually cheaper than buying in-store.” 
“A much-needed solution for our plastic waste. I can finally get easy refills without long drives to zero-waste stores.” 
It’s always been our goal to make sustainability more accessible to people, and the frustration and pressure of leaving a meaningful impact on our world was something that Good Filling’s CEO Petros Palandian felt often. Once he realized that if our society could make refilling and reusing as easy as buying something online, more people would prevent more plastics from entering the waste stream. Today, Good Filling Stations are installed in well-trafficked retail and apartment locations where customers can refill their products on demand, save money, and walk away knowing that they made a difference. 

Zero Waste Environmental Benefits 

An open field of wheat with the sunset and trees in the distance. 
Sure, going zero waste can save you money – but more importantly, it can have incredibly positive impacts on our environment! Here are just a few of the effects that producing less waste has on our planet. 
  1. Reducing plastic pollution: Less than 5% of all plastic is recycled today, which means most of it ends up in our landfills and waterways. By refusing to purchase plastic, you can help remove it from the environment completely! 

  2. Limiting food waste: One major principle of going zero waste is by having zero food waste, too. By cooking appropriate portions of food and only buying what you truly need, you can make sure that food does not go bad in your fridge – this helps you save money in the long run, too! 

  3. Tackling global warming: The EPA estimates that about 42% of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by producing goods, and that includes food and plastic packaging. When we commit to reusing, refilling, reducing, and even refusing, we’re able to conserve energy that would otherwise be used on things that end up getting wasted anyways! 

The Harmful Numbers of Cleaning Products 

A person wearing latex gloves while spraying a multi-surface cleaner on the counter.
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you can or should start refilling and reusing, just know that your journey doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s but your own. The next time you’re about to visit the store to buy a new spray bottle or laundry detergent, keep these stats in mind: 
Even though many plastic cleaning products have a recycling symbol on them, that doesn’t mean that they are actually recyclable.

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