Every so often I get asked by my friends about how to get started on this whole ‘zero waste’ thing. And more often than not, I get a quick reply as to why they can’t be a part of it: ‘Well, I can’t create zero waste’.
Well, the breaking news is: me NEITHER!
The whole ‘Zero Waste’ movement is getting a lot of confusion and I feel like we need to talk about this. In fact, there has been so much confusion that some of the people who are part of this movement have changed their ‘denominations’ to exemplify their philosophies, so new nomenclatures started popping off all over the place, like low impact or less waste.
The thing is, they all mean the ~same~ thing.
But What the Heck is ‘Zero Waste’?
Living a Zero Waste lifestyle means nothing else but to live in a way as to produce as little waste as possible. As simple as that sounds, we know it’s a big take. To make people feel less overwhelmed and perhaps more open to the idea, ‘zero wasters’ adapted their adjectives to exemplify the reality behind the terms.
We know that living a completely zero waste life is near impossible. Those people showing off their 1, 2 or 5 years of waste in a jar are unfortunately a very tiny number. The majority of the people in this movement are actually more normal than you may think. We eat out, drink coffee and go to parties. We like buying stuff and we have our own indulgencies. But also, we make a conscious effort to do all of that in a more sustainable way.
We know that a zero waste life may not be as easy as living with all the convenience we are used to. But we learn, adapt and find the best ways to do things with a sustainable approach to it.
And I guess, most importantly, we know we are not perfect. We fail BIG time in ways we would rather not. After all we are human, and this is a journey, so we try to make things better everyday.
I think the best way to approach a zero waste lifestyle is by simply starting it. Being able to see that we as a society produce more than we can consume sustainably is a great step. Then, we can start buy taking small actions every day. Even if you just start with one. Then, little by little you can make another change, and another change the next day.
Being zero waste means to be conscious about what you produce and what you discard and make changes in your lifestyle to help support that mindset.
But what can I do?
It may sound difficult at first but you can start little and slowly replace old habits with more sustainable ones. Sounds too hard still? Here are some easy and simple swaps:
- Out with the throwaway cup and in with a reusable cup. It can be a mug or a jar (if you are a full-blown hipster) or can be a seasoned and classic KeepCup.
- Keep a reusable bag in your car, your bag, on your hallway and remember to take it with you when you are shopping. Also don’t forget to use reusable produce bags instead of those thin plastic ones in the supermarket, or go without (#FreeTheFruit).
- Say no to plastic straws (if you can) or buy reusable ones. There are so many options, it’s crazy! Biome has a great selection of reusable straws made of bamboo, aluminium or glass.
- Instead of buying bottled water, go for tap or get yourself a reusable bottle. It can even be a simple glass bottle you bough from your fancy cafe. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot. So long as you don’t throw it out.
- Buy in bulk. And I don’t mean you necessarily have to buy at a bulk store (if you can, that’s awesome!). But try to buy larger quantities or buy in less packaging. Go for paper or glass if you can choose. And try to avoid highly processed foods, they are not great for you or the environment.
Phew…after that I guess you can start by making some changes right? But you may be asking yourself why would it matter. And I’ll tell you why. Here are some facts from the Plastic Free July movement:
- break up, not break down – becoming permanent pollution
- have low rates of recycling (only 9% of all plastics ever made have been recycled) and are mostly downcycled (made into low grade product for just one more use) or sent to landfill
- ‘escape’ from bins, trucks, events etc. to become ‘accidental litter’
- end up in waterways and the ocean – where scientists predict there will be more tonnes of plastic than tonnes of fish by 2050
- transfer to the food chain – carrying pollutants with them
- increase our eco-footprint – plastic manufacturing consumes 6% of the world’s fossil fuels
- Every bit of plastic ever made still exists and in the first 10 years of this century the world economy produced more plastic than the entire 1900’s!
If these reasons are not enough for you, I ask you to do your own research. Looks for facts and inform yourself before making any change. It’s up to you to change your own lifestyle, your family or community. So make an informed and conscious decision about how you can live your life. I wish for myself and my future family to have a better place to live, so I’m making my change today.
Wanna know more? Head to my Resources page and get started!
Will you join me?
Peace and love,