It’s Time For Zero Waste!
We don’t think much about our waste. After all, it’s just a waste and perhaps it’s just a waste of time for many but believe it or not, our annual waste production is more than you can imagine. The amount of things which end up in the landfills and incineration is more than we can expect and that is putting our environment under stress.
What is Zero Waste?
When we say zero waste, we aim to send nothing to the landfill. It is generally assumed to eliminate waste completely from our surroundings but is it practically possible?
The simple answer is no.
But then how can we prevent so much waste from polluting our environment, lets’s find out!
Step 1: To Learn About Zero Waste
To know and understand a problem is the biggest step forward toward acting upon it. When it comes to going to zero waste, we need to understand that here we are the problem.
Believe it or not, our annual waste production is beyond our imagination. Whether we do it intentionally or unintentionally, according to a book, What A Waste 2.0, in 2016, the world generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste—12 per cent of all municipal solid waste. Plastic waste is choking our oceans, yet our consumption of plastics is only increasing. Cities and countries are rapidly developing without adequate systems in place to manage the changing waste composition of citizens. Meanwhile, an estimated 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide–equivalent (CO2-equivalent) greenhouse gas emissions were generated from solid waste management in 2016. This is about 5 per cent of global emissions. Without improvements in the sector, solid waste-related emissions are anticipated to increase to 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2- equivalent by 2050.
Waste that we generate our ending up in landfills or even oceans. It may not look big problem but the collected waste is a massive problem and understanding it is the first step towards going zero waste.
Step 2: Adopt 5Rs
We all have heard of 3Rs. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is something that is everyone aware of now. It is a very simple phenomenon which slowly and gradually is being adopted by many but its time to change things a bit. Instead of 3Rs, we are talking about 5Rs which will help you lead a life which has zero waste in it.
Here is what 5Rs are-
Refuse- Refuse is simply what the term means. Refuse the use of anything which you don’t need. Sometimes we tend to buy things without judging the need f them. ‘Refuse’ encourages you to analyse how important and urgent the need is and once you feel that you absolutely need a product, only then purchase it, otherwise, REFUSE it!
Reduce- Now comes, Reduce and this is a little challenging one. Reduce everything you need to a limited number. YES! it’s time to reduce the need in order to curb the urge for excessive and unnecessary shopping.
Reuse- After a challenging and tough Reduce comes Reuse which is fairly a simple one. Just keep resuing the products you have instead of throwing them away or simply banding them after their first use. Keep reusing them and make the best of their life!
Recycle- Once you are done using your product, it’s time to recycle. Recycle everything that you can and till the time you can. It is essential to recycle to reduce the overproduction of items.
Rot- Lastly, Rot. It may sound a little intimidating but the rotting of an item is a great solution to reduce waste. There are a lot of items that we use that can be used as compost. This solves many problems and prevents lots of waste from ending up in our landfills.
Step 3: Avoid Bulk Buying
Bulk buying is quite a popular phenomenon in almost every household. Sometimes food, sometimes cosmetics, sometimes accessories and sometimes toilet papers, almost all of us have done bulk buying at some point in time. However, bulk buying should be avoided when you are on your path to going to zero waste.
You must be wondering why?
Let us explain.
When we buy products in bulk, there is quite often a chance we forget to use them, pass the expiration date or no longer need them. The product left unused most probably ends up in the bin ultimately being called waste. The waste generated ultimately ends up in landfills or oceans causing a lot of pollution and threat to our aquatic species.
Henceforth, bulk buying should be avoided when necessary.
Step 4: Say NO To Hoarding
Believe it or not, we do have hoarding tendencies which can come in any form every now and then. Whether it is food or clothes or even unnecessary things which need to end up for recycling shouldn’t be hoarded. People who hoard find it difficult to part their way with the stuff or possessions regardless of their actual value.
Compulsive hoarding is a clinically recognised mental health condition. When hoarding gets out of hand and you find yourself emotionally attached to items. You may not want to discard them and keep them o yourself. When such a condition arises try and seek professional help.
Hoarding UK is doing a significant job by offering support to people who are impacted by hoarding behaviour.
Step 5: Adopt New Habits
Change is important and adopting new habits when walking down the path of going zero waste is welcomed and encouraged. Our small change means a lot to the environment. For example, using a washable cotton kitchen towel instead of a paper towel or using a metal straw instead of plastic or paper straws or just simply using a more sustainable alternative which has a longer life and doesn’t end up in the bin instantly are small changes towards a big cause.
Read- 16 Kitchen Items That You Can Replace To Go Plastic Free
Step 6: Educate Others
This is one of the most important steps which we believe should be adopted. Once you understand the concept and start practising zero waste, it is time to educate others. By teaching them r telling them about what going zero waste means and how impactful it is to the environment, you can potentially encourage more people to participate in the cause.
Every individual, every household matters and when a change is adopted even by any one single individual, it makes a difference.
Our Final Thoughts
Going to zero waste is not an overnight thought, it takes a lot of time to understand and process it. It’s a journey and the sooner you hop onto it, the better you feel about it. It takes patience and willingness to do it. Somehow, it reduces the guilt and trusts us, you feel so much better.
To help you out in your journey, there are many notable influencers, bloggers and now even the brands and stores which encourage zero waste.
If you are interested in going zero waste, then you can check out the notable work of these blogs going zero waste blog, Fort Negrita, Rob Greenfield and Old World News.