Come on Liz, what is zero waste all about?
Zero waste in its simplest form is the idea that nothing goes to a landfill.
However, I like to think of zero waste as something to move towards but not a hard target. Zero waste can be intimidating but moving towards this mindset allows us to think about trash in a whole different way and start thinking of our rubbish as a valuable resource rather than something to be “thrown away.” After all, what really is away?.. scary huh!
Zero waste encourages us to create habits & systems at home / work etc on how we go about our every day. Instead of going to the shop where most items are individually wrapped and to be used only once, we create shops where we reuse the containers and refill them with whatever product we need at the time. Like us!! After all, the product inside the packaging is all we really need and the less full of crap the contents, the better!! (That's for another day!)
We start by creating a circular system in our minds, home, shops, work as opposed to our more common linear system.
A linear system is we make the product, we use it, and then once we’re done with it, it eventually ends up in a landfill.
In contrast, zero waste inspires us to think in a closed-loop system. We reuse the material over and over again keeping the same grade of materials. This is not to be confused with recycling which usually means downgrading.
Plastics downgrade, meaning that the quality of the materials gets lower and lower each time it’s recycled till eventually, the quality is so low that it goes to landfill. And only 9% of plastic is actually recycled.
Why does zero-waste matter?
Since the 1960s we have lived in a throwaway culture. In 2018, wegenerated more than 35 thousand tons of plastics. And more than 26 thousand tons of plastic ended up in landfills. That plastic waste is growing 9% annually. In 2040 there will be 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste present in the environment.
Creating habits and systems that see trash as obsolete keeps those materials out of our landfills and back into businesses where they can be reused.
However, know that zero waste is not an all or nothing. It’s something gradual and takes practice.
Small changes in our everyday lifestyle can make a huge impact. I recently watched a video on zero waste by Exploring Alternatives which stated,
if 5 thousand people were to drastically change their lifestyle by cutting their waste by 90%, they would reduce their waste by 4.5 million lbs per year.
However if 1 million people, like you guys cut their waste by 10%. They would reduce their waste by 100 million lbs per year. Let's be part of this!
Our global waste problem is a huge issue that isn’t going to be solved overnight. But if all of us each individually incorporate small habits into our everyday lives, like bringing a reusable grocery bag to the store or our own utensils when we’re eating out, we can make a huge impact.