What is Zero Waste?
Updated: Mar 11, 2018
The zero waste movement is the solution to how we as individuals can make a difference.
Whether you see the destruction of the environment around us, the pollution littering our landscapes or want to revert back to a simpler lifestyle and preserve the earth for future generations, a zero waste mentality is the place to start.
Zero waste basically aims to reduce our waste production to a minimum.
Today we are living in a throwaway society, which uses raw resources from the earth to produce products that are then dumped into landfill. Zero waste aims to create a circular economy which eliminates this waste from the equation and instead recycles materials back into production. This way of living ensures substantial resources for future generations.
Why does zero waste matter?
When you throw things away they go into landfill, one big giant hole in the ground. Then they just sit there, forever. They don’t decompose magically away, because more stuff is dumped on top of it, not allowing any air to circulate. Instead methane and carbon dioxide gases are emitted and released into the atmosphere, contributing to our global warming crisis. Additionally, toxic chemicals are leached out into the soil and polluting our oceans.
Isn’t recycling enough?
Put simply, recycling is not enough to stop killing our planet. Recycling is a tricky business and although it may make you feel good to do so, there are many variables that mean recycling should be our last resort. The recycling process requires a large amount of resources and energy to produce products that are not always themselves recyclable, thus still producing a certain amount of waste.
Our main focus should therefore be on reducing our overall waste production. This can be achieved by following the Five R’s (zerowastehome)
Refuse what you don't need
Reduce what you need
Reuse what you have
Recycle what you can’t reuse
Rot (compost) the rest
Surely you can’t reduce all your waste?
In the throwaway society we live in today it may seem impossible, but it’s all about thriving towards that ultimate goal and doing our best. It’s not going to happen overnight but making small changes can still make a big impact. What have you got to lose?
What are the benefits of a zero waste lifestyle?
In addition to helping the environment, living a zero waste lifestyle simplifies your life and allows you to spend more time on the things that really matter. Becoming more conscious of your consumption reduces all the unnecessary stuff in your life and you gain respect for what you have. Whilst using natural products eliminate toxins from your home and avoiding packaged foods enables you to live a healthier life. All this whilst not having to take out the trash!
Where do I begin my zero waste journey?
The best place to begin is in your rubbish bin. Yup, take out all the trash in there and have a good look at it. Go on, have a look and tell me what you find. Discover out what your biggest source of waste is and start there.
Take away containers overcrowding your bin? Try eating in at restaurants or doing some meal prep at the start of the week to ensure you’ve got ready to go meals in the fridge. Or even pick up the courage to ask your local restaurant to put your food in your own container, go on I dare you!
Plastic bags choking the turtles? Bring your own reusable bags with you for your groceries and start bulk shopping using your own containers. Reuse old bags to line your rubbish bin or pick up your dog’s business.
Food going to waste? Start meal planning and sticking with your shopping list. Composting is also a great way to put leftovers to good use by turning it into fertiliser for your garden.
Still have questions?