What Is Zero Waste?
At its core zero waste is a way of life designed to reduce the amount of personal waste you create on a day to day basis. The ultimate goal is to eliminate your waste altogether. This means no plastic, no wrappers, no rubbish.
In today’s convenience led world you may think that a zero waste lifestyle is a desirable but impractical goal. But just a few small changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference.
Ideally you would aim to completely eliminate waste but any action to reduce your personal waste is beneficial. So you shouldn’t feel like zero waste isn’t for you as every little change makes a difference.
Focusing on reducing and eliminating your rubbish which isn’t biodegradable or recyclable is a great first step. In particular, cutting down your use of disposable plastic should be a priority.
Why Should I Go Zero Waste?
We are consuming and contaminating natural resources at a rate the earth cannot sustain. With a growing global population our environmental problems are only going to get worse over time.
The inforgraphic below from Zero Waste Scotland shows a snapshot of the rubbish we are creating.
So the environment is the main reason to switch to a zero waste lifestyle. However, there are other benefits as well.
You might be interested in the health benefits from food which doesn’t leach chemicals from its packaging.
Saving money is also a great incentive to reduce your waste. The less unnecessary things you buy the more you can save. Bea Johnson found she saved 40% on the family budget when she switched.
A zero waste lifestyle can also transform your appearance and where you live. Less clutter means you spend less time cleaning and tidying. A zero waste home can also create a stunning minimalist vibe.
So there are lots of incentives to start living a zero waste lifestyle.
The Five Rs
The five Rs are a list of actions that you should follow to reduce your waste. They are, in the order you should consider them:
- Refuse what you don’t need (e.g. disposable plastic cutlery with your takeaway dinner)
- Reduce what you do need (e.g. only buy food you know you will eat before it goes out of date)
- Reuse what you already have (e.g. use old glass jars to store dried food)
- Recycle what you can (e.g. sort anything you can’t reuse into appropriate recycling bins)
- Rot everything else (e.g. compost any food waste and other biodegradable materials)
You might see these simplified to the three Rs sometimes – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We have done this in our practical example of applying the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle system.
Tips To Get Started
A good place to start is to find out what can be recycled in your area and how you need to separate out your waste. Then you can carry out a waste audit to make sure everything is being put in the correct place.
When shopping for food make sure you try to prioritise products which do not come in plastic packaging. You might need to research some alternatives to your local supermarkets.
Ethically and environmentally focused stores like Locavore in Glasgow are becoming increasingly popular. So you might be surprised what is on your doorstep.
After that, consider every purchase that you make. Do you really need it and is it really necessary? Could you use something else you already have instead? Or could you buy a more sustainable alternative?
For example, instead of getting your coffee in a takeaway cup you could try a reusable coffee cup instead.
We love bamboo because it’s fast growing, renewable, absorbs large amounts of CO2 and produces more oxygen than other plants. Our cups are also biodegradable in just one to three years.
So if you are ready to switch to zero waste and a more sustainable coffee cup explore our reusable bamboo coffee cups.