It sounds tempting, doesn’t it? No waste in your life. The freedom of choice – to choose doing and feeling good. Well, you’re in luck because people are making it easier to live greener and set the roots for a zero waste lifestyle. Like I’ve said, I’m not here to tell you how to be, because I’m not 100% zero waste either. I AM here to enlighten you on ways to feel fulfilled and happy by choosing healthy habits. One of the ways I can do that is by education. So, what is the zero waste movement?
I didn’t tell you yet but zero waste lifestyles aren’t quite possible unless you’re living naked on a deserted island, using the land for natural resources and food. But you’re likely living in either the country, suburbs, or city where using leaves as a cover up isn’t accepted and taking apples from a nearby tree is considered stealing. We have limited spaces to call our own, so let’s make the best of them.
Note: Going plastic-free is not 100% doable either, but we can get close according to the Mindful Momma blog.
What is Zero Waste?
So, what is zero waste? Out of the plethora of definitions in the works, I like the version from the Washington Zero Waste International Alliance: An ethical and efficient goal to guide others in changing their lifestyles to eliminate waste and materials and practice sustainable natural cycles. In other words, recycle and reuse everything so nothing goes into landfills.
The Pros and Cons
As with anything, there will be multiple sides and opinions. Here are a few benefits of going zero waste and a few cons that I’ve come across so far.
The Benefits of Zero Waste
- Reduced greenhouse gases – Processing waste means using energy (burning fossil fuels) which leads to the release of methane (84 times more potent than CO2) which contributes to global warming and heat diseases. This is one of our most pressing global issues at the moment, and for valid reason!
- Less pollution (air, noise, ocean, etc.) – The less waste produced, the less opportunity for it to land in the ocean, muddle our sense of sound, and cloud our air. I was in Paris awhile back at an overlook, surprised by the pink night sky when I realized that color was from total illumination. By going zero waste, ideally we’ll have more natural alternatives to energy use. This helps our planet and future generations on it.
- Conserves resources – By reducing and reusing, we are saving our natural resources from being over-used. The earth only has so much to give; taking without giving back is a recipe for bad karma.
The Cons of Zero Waste
- Expensive – What we are doing by aiming for zero waste is switching to high quality, eco-friendly products which means more moolah spent… However, by reusing items, it’s more of an investment than a frivolous purchase. There are always ways to save and be savvy.
- Time-Consuming – Smart decisions take thought, which takes time. You might be held up on reading ingredient lists at the grocery store (guilty) or mentally battling buying that cute dress you saw at Forever 21 (saying no to fast fashion), BUT try taking a deep breath and know it’s not going to be perfect. What is the zero waste movement? It’s a movement, not an end result.
How Do I Start the Zero Waste Movement?
You’ve already started! If someone asks, “What is the zero waste movement? Does it even matter?” You can now answer with a “Heck yes it matters let me tell you a little somethin’ somethin’ about it!” (or just say yeah).
Another quick tip to start is remembering the 5 R’s:
- Rot (compost)
Reduce your carbon footprint, reuse items like grocery bags and hand-me-downs, refuse products and services that don’t cater to the environment, recycle materials and start an open closet policy with your roommates, and rot things out that should be composted instead of thrown in the trash.
With these wonderful tips and an explanation of a topic comes the actions that follow it. Keep reading The Z.O. Series to get the next step on how to live a zero waste lifestyle (or stay tuned). We are paving the path to greatness people, one step at a time! As always, thanks for reading 🙂