Do you want to reduce your environmental impact and have concrete goals to help slow down the accumulation of plastics in the world? You might want to use or repurpose old items, limit your use of single-use products, and prohibit trash from entering your home.
Why Go for Zero Waste?
In a given day, the world makes a whopping 3.5 million tons of plastic. And imagine where it will go – the shorelines.
A study analyzed that of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, 75% are plastic waste, and only 9% have been recycled, and 12% are incinerated.
We see plastic infiltrating the ecosystem, from floor beds to the peak of Mt. Everest!
It was projected that if the trends continue, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fishes by 2050. Because of this, people are rallying to raise awareness towards reducing waste.
This is why a growing number of people, especially millennials, are adopting a zero-waste lifestyle. These people, by embracing minimalism, empower others to make better choices in life, and in so doing, help reduce waste.
While totally forgoing the use of plastics may seem like a tall order, we can start where we are. Here are three zero-waste goals you can begin embracing:
1. Find the Value in Old or Used Items
Before throwing out used materials at home, look for things that can be repurposed. Turn your old jeans into bags, worn-out clothes into rags, use old newspapers to wrap items, and so on.
Reducing waste has another perk – it allows you to save money. Instead of buying new gadgets, furniture, clothing, and other items for daily use, find great deals for previously-owned things that are still in mint condition. You’ll be surprised at the quality of the products you’ll see; some will even be barely used.
2. Limit Your Spending and Consumption of Items.
This is a no-brainer. The best way to reduce trash is by not making one. Reduce your consumption of items. How? Don’t buy things you don’t need. For example, people who embrace minimalism own fewer possessions and live only with the things they need.
But if you do buy, buy reusable items instead of disposable ones. Some stores are home for zero waste reusable items. Look for things that can be used hundreds, even thousands of times. No wonder some can even place their two years’ worth of trash in a jar!
Part of reducing would be mindful buying. More often than not, if we do not have a clear checklist in mind when we go to the grocery, we tend to buy things we don’t need and splurge on unnecessary items. These soon end up in the trash or hidden in the pantry.
So before you do buy something, ask yourself these questions:
– Do I really need this?
– Can I use this more than once? Say, at least fifty times?
– Can I use my money for something more worthwhile?
3. Don’t Let Trash Enter Your Home.
In this fast-paced world, we value efficiency. We want to save time from washing the dishes, so we opt for disposable ones. Don’t contribute to waste production by making sure it does not enter your home. It makes sense, doesn’t it? No waste at home, no trash to dispose of!
Refusing means saying “no” to single-use products such as straws, cups, and cutlery. Many establishments are already embracing the zero-waste movement. But for those who don’t, simply saying no would be a massive help to the environment.
Do package-free purchases. Look for stores that offer refills. Examples of this are alcohols and shampoos. Manufacturers of these items encourage buyers to bring their old containers, or even different ones, to buy their products at a slightly lesser cost.
Do the habit of bringing with you things that you will likely be using to not need to buy single-use products or buy new items. Really, you won’t probably use two water bottles at the same time, won’t you? Bring your own bottle and utensils. If you like sipping from straws, use reusable ones.
Likewise, if there are items that you don’t need, or if you have more than what you need, you have the option of selling them. You can put up a garage sale or simply post your items online.
Embracing a zero-waste lifestyle is not that easy. In fact, it takes a great deal of self-control and intentionality. Doing these three zero waste goals this year can be the first step to embracing a fully zero-waste lifestyle.
Doing this will save you a lot of money. But more than that, making this choice will impact the environment in a good way.