We've all seen the enormous mountains of garbage that accumulate around the world. From islands of waste in the middle of the ocean to piles of household appliances in the corners of our cities, it's a global problem. Many of these things are made of materials that won't disappear for hundreds of years. So, what can we do about it?
Zero Waste offers a solution. It's a set of behaviors that looks to prevent waste from ever existing by designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate waste while conserving and recovering all resources. In this article, we'll explore how you can incorporate Zero Waste principles into your daily life and reduce your environmental impact.
What is Zero Waste?
Zero Waste is the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.
Easy Zero Waste Tips for a Sustainable Lifestyle
Zero Waste Tip #1 - Don’t buy Plastic Bottles
Plastic water bottles are one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution. Switch to a water bottle that you can refill and carry with you everywhere you go. If you choose a company that shares your values and supports environmental cleaning projects, even better. Not only will you reduce your waste, but you'll also save money in the long run.
Zero Waste Tip #2 - Avoid Food Wrapped In Plastic
Plastic food wrapping is a major source of waste that pollutes the environment. Always choose the plastic-free option when shopping for food. For example, bring your own reusable produce bags, choose items that are not wrapped in plastic, and avoid individually wrapped snacks.
Zero Waste Tip #3 - Bring Your Own Shopping Bags
Plastic bags are another common source of waste that harms the environment. So, bring your own shopping bags when you go to the supermarket or any other store. Use a backpack or a small bag that you can easily carry with you. I always leave the house with a little bag just in case I get to buy something.
Zero Waste Tip #4 - Get A Menstrual Cup Or Reusable Sanitary Pads
In the US, over 10 billion pads and 5 billion tampons are thrown out each year, contributing to environmental pollution. Switching to menstrual cups or reusable sanitary pads can significantly reduce your waste and save you money in the long run. Menstrual cups are comfortable, reusable, and easy to clean, and they last for years.
Zero Waste Tip #5 - Try a shampoo bar, but finish yours first
Each shampoo bar replaces two plastic bottles worth of product and saves water. Did you know that most liquid shampoos contain up to 80% water.
Shampoo bars are long-lasting, eco-friendly, and easy to use. Finish your current liquid shampoo before switching to a shampoo bar to minimize waste. By doing so, you'll reduce your waste and take a step towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
What alternatives exist to Zero Waste?While Zero Waste offers an effective solution to reducing waste, there are other possible waste management and prevention solutions. For example, governments could legislate to control mass production and corporate waste. Technology can also be used to manage existing waste, such as removing garbage from the ocean.
My Honest Opinion on Zero Waste
I find Zero Waste to be an immediate, effective and accessible solution that everyone can and should incorporate.
That being said, we should not expect perfection. I believe the All-Or-Nothing mindset can be toxic and keeps us from trying. Just as with healthy eating, what you do most of the time is what counts.
For example, if you are on holidays and need to buy a water bottle, it's okay. My recommendation would be to switch those situations into positive actions, such as buying the water bottle from the small, locally owned store.
Sustainability is a mix of three pillars and our social actions count just as much!