What is Zero Waste?

It sounds complicated.


You may not know any different – stuffing more plastic grocery bags into your already overflowing cabinet, reaching for the bag of chips because pre-packaged food has always been the go-to, throwing out at least one coffee cup per day… I get it.

I’ve been there.

My name is Katie, and I am an Eco-Living Coach in the Denver-Metro area of Colorado. (Like a Life Coach, who focuses on sustainability!)

With a background in education and a passion for living a healthier, more sustainable life, my goal is to provide people with simple steps that can powerfully impact the environment while living their everyday lives. Specifically, I can teach you how to reduce your excess waste by at least 50% in ways that fit your lifestyle. 

Being “Zero Waste” has some misconceptions –  it’s more than just using a metal straw or your canvas grocery bags (although those are good steps), but your end goal doesn’t need to be the one little mason jar of trash that you see some people boast about. Minimizing waste looks different for everybody, and I am here to give you the resources and skills to start your personalized zero waste journey.

Let’s do this together!

Katie Kurpanek, a zero waste consultant

How Can I Get Started?


One match starts a fire. One domino knocks over the entire trail. One seed grows into a tree with sprawling roots and strong branches that produce fruit year after year… There’s so much power in “one”, and ONE step is all it takes to begin your journey. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the unknowns, so I’ve developed this 3-step process to keep things simple.  This cycle can be repeated with any area of your life that you feel ready to tackle next. 


Take this journey step by step. What is one thing you want to try in order to minimize your waste, live more sustainably, take better care of our environment, and so on? That one step could be bringing your own bags to the grocery store. It could be taking a reusable coffee cup with you when you leave the house. It could even be carpooling to work rather than driving alone one day a week. Starting somewhere can feel tricky and taking that first step is always the hardest, so naming the one step you want to begin with is going to help your approach seem much more doable.


What’s realistic for you? Everyone can do something, but not everyone will do the same thing. And that’s totally ok! If you chose to replace single-use utensils as your first step, then you shouldn’t feel the need to go buy some fancy replacements just because you saw them in a cute Instagram photo. Start with what you already own and go from there. Some of the steps you’ll take will be free, some will cost a little bit, and some may be an investment that will pay off in the long run, but you don’t need to feel pressured to do something you’re unable to do yet — this applies to both your money and your time, by the way.


Commit to this one step you’ve chosen. Do the best you can do each day and know that every effort matters. Give yourself grace when you feel like some days are better than others. Then, when you’re ready, revisit these steps and approach something else. As your life changes, so do your capabilities. If you want to reach a goal that requires more of your wallet or other resources, give yourself time, commit to these steps, celebrate the journey, and you’ll get there.

bulk food stored in glass jars with zero waste packaging

Still feel overwhelmed? 

That’s ok! There’s plenty of time to figure everything else out. Choose where you want to begin today, and the rest will fall into place. I’ve created That Minimal Life to be a resource you can turn to time and time again. Here’s what you can expect to find: 

– A variety of coaching services are available to you

– The “All Things Sustainable” podcast launched on 01/01/2022, and new episodes are uploaded biweekly, talking with experts across the spectrum of living sustainably and breaking down big topics into actionable steps you can take!

A library of blog posts is available to support you in minimizing your carbon footprint

“Sustainable Sunday” Emails with tips and resources are sent out once a week, plus you receive a FREE starter guide (PDF download) when you sign up below! 

– Interact with me and discover more day-in-the-life kinds of tips and encouragement on my Instagram while I aim to live sustainably as a working mom!

About Katie

eco-living coach

With a background in education and a passion for sustainability, I’m committed to supporting others in their own journeys and helping them recognize their potential to powerfully impact our environment! I can teach you simple steps to reduce your excess waste by at least 50% in ways that fit your lifestyle.   

I want to share a FREE resource with you!


I am so excited to help you begin your zero waste journey and there’s no better time than the present.  

Spoilers! This guide does NOT include things like reusable straws, cups, or bags. While these are important, they’re becoming common knowledge. Being Zero Waste is more than that, and I want to equip you with 5 simple things you can start doing TODAY with minimal planning, and even better, you don’t have to go out and buy anything new!

Ready to learn more?

Here are more free rescources on my blog!

Need a Little Extra Guidance?

I offer a variety of coaching sessions to help you find where you’re struggling and to help you create a game-plan that works for YOU. Click below to learn more and send me a note to schedule your personal consultation!

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Plastic Bags are used annually?

According to earthday.org, each year, one trillion single-use plastic bags are used across the planet. If you run the numbers, that’s nearly 2 million every. single. minute. That’s a lot of bags! 

What effect is plastic having on our oceans?

18 billion pounds of plastic waste is ending up in our oceans every year, and there are 25 trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans — this counts the debris we find on the surface as well as the microplastics which make their way into the deep sea. Every year, more than 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting or being entangled in plastic waste. (source)

Is it enough to just recycle?

Although recycling is definitely important and better than doing nothing, it is not the solution to our excessive waste problem and climate crisis. The average American recycles 30% of our waste, when we could be recycling up to 75%. At the same time, due to our current overload of waste and lack of clear education around how to recycle properly, 9/10 of all solid waste in America is not being recycled. (source)

How much money is spent on plastic packaging per year?

More than 78 million tons of plastic packaging is produced worldwide each year and is worth almost $198 billion. Most of those billions of dollars are being thrown away due to our single-use system! (source)