Some Maritimers are taking the zero waste challenge by cutting all trash from their lives for a month or year.

Waste practitioner Kate Pepler has taken the challenge in Halifax, she says her most difficult challenge was coffee cups.

“I love coffee and if I had forgotten my mug, my reusable travel mug, I still would get a coffee to go…so that was a commitment I made to myself to hold myself accountable to not use coffee cups.”

Now, Pepler says she only gets a coffee if she has a reusable mug or time to sit in a café with a real mug.

She says reducing waste has become second nature to her, but making the changes took time and effort.

“If you asked me two or three years ago if I’d be living a zero waste lifestyle, I would have said no way… it didn't seem like something that was attainable for me.”

Pepler says once she became aware of the amount of plastic and waste Canadians produce regularly, it was impossible for her to ignore.

“Once you start seeing all the plastic everywhere, like in a grocery store people grab those plastic film bags to put bananas in, lettuce is wrapped in plastic, celery, carrots, everything.”

Pepler is opening a zero waste store in Halifax in the fall. The store will sell bulk foods and reusable gadgets.

Communications specialist Anna Weinstein says the Clean Foundation is setting their earth day goals. Rather than go zero waste all at once, they are committing to small steps, like cutting out plastic bags or taking public transit.

Weinstein says it might sound small, but when a group says bands together to make these changes, retailers notice.

“Bringing attention to an issue so that bigger more systemic changes can be made at the level of manufacturer, regulations, that kind of stuff so picking one or two things that you feel like you can stick to for a long time is really how you can make a big impact,” Weinstein says.

Some retailers are jumping on board as well. Across Canada, Bulk Barn stores have moved away from single use plastic bags and they’re are allowing customers to bring reusable containers.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.