Every year we put so much pressure on mother earth by dumping a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste. If all this waste was put on trucks, they would go around the earth 24 times. This stunning amount of waste is partly because 99 percent of the stuff we buy is trashed within six months.
Reducing waste may seem intimidating, but it really isn’t. You may think you do not have the time or resources to do it perfectly, and that’s not true!
Just to be clear, zero-waste living does not mean becoming hippies and living an alternative life jettisoning the benefits and comforts of capitalism. It is rather about adhering to certain principles. The conditions may not be in our favour, but there is room for redesigning and improving our economic systems.
What is a zero-waste lifestyle?
The zero-waste lifestyle/ living means that we are actively trying to send nothing to a landfill. Practically, we reduce our needs, reuse as much as possible, and recycle or compost what we cannot.
The fact about trash:
Of all trash dumped in developed communities in Europe, only 38 per cent of that waste is recycled, while over 60 per cent of household waste ends in landfills in some EU countries. These landfills constitute a big problem as garbages are quickly piling up and expanding. Additionally, despite the obvious overconsumption, we can’t ignore other hazards like toxic material. Without a proper system for sorting of waste, toxic materials like batteries and cleaners end up in landfills. As a result, with the help of rain, they leak into aquatic ecosystems and poison aquifers.
How can we make a difference?
This is the number one priority that we should focus on. When the impulse to buy something is turned on, always ask yourself, “do I really need it?”. If you think you could live without it, that’s probably a good sign that you don’t really need to buy it.
Reuse what you have:
Eliminate single-use items. Try to be inventive and look around your house for things that you could reuse or repurpose – from last night’s leftovers to storing dry food instead of throwing away the glass container.
Take note of your trash:
While it may sound unappealing, examining your garbage can help you identify where most of your waste comes from. Understanding your waste habits will give you an idea of what practices you need to refine to reduce your waste production.
Avoid produce wrapped in plastic:
This is a tough one because many supermarkets shrink-wrap every loose piece of produce, they can get their hands on. Buying more fresh foods, if possible, is a great way to use less plastic.
Support your local farmer:
The food will be fresher, tastier, more sustainable, and way more nutritious.
Ditch the tea bags:
Hello tea lovers, most tea bags are loaded with microplastics that are bad for you and the environment. This is where loose-leaf tea comes to the rescue! Pick up an in-mug strainer or a set of reusable cloth tea bags and you’ll be on your way to a delicious, sustainable brew in no time!
Green up your period:
Hey ladies, give (Bisphenol A-free) menstrual cups, period underwear, and reusable cotton pads a try. This will keep the 10,000 tampons (and plastic applicators) that the average woman uses in her entire reproductive cycle out of our landfills
To really make a difference in this case, there needs to be something more than individual good intentions. We need to redefine the system of production and consumption of products and move from a linear economic model to a circular one.
This sounds like something not easy to achieve, but building the right habits can do wonders.
Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.