Is it really possible to attain a zero-waste lifestyle or is it just but a fancy dream? A paper published by a group of researchers in the Advanced Science peer review Journal indicates that a staggering 91% of plastics produced globally are never recycled. It is also reported that about 71% of these wastes find their way to landfills and other parts of the environment. If these rates are maintained, we shall be facing an estimated 1200 metric tons of plastic garbage come 2050. This is a damning statistic and it should trigger our response towards developing and adopting waste management measures and strategies that are environmentally friendly.
One of the ways that can help reduce waste production is by adopting a zero-waste lifestyle which basically entails embracing a more considerate minimalistic approach. Zero waste is an idea that underscores the significance of striving to reuse, reduce and recycle as much as possible. If you desire to play your role in protecting our beautiful planet, then here are some tips and tricks that will help you on your journey.
1. Always remember the 5R’s
The 5R’s rule which involves; Refusing what you don’t require, Reducing what you don’t need, Reuse what you consume, Recycling what you cannot refuse, recycle and reuse and lastly Rot or compost the organic waste should be observed by anyone who desires to live a zero-waste lifestyle. These 5Rs should always be on your mind when purchasing items as well as when disposing of them.
As stated earlier, a zero-waste lifestyle is a less materialistic and more minimalistic type of living. Learn to resist and say no to excesses. Be it is a straw at a restaurant or a business card at a conference, a disposable pen, or even a plastic bag in a store. It is always wise to think before buying anything. Ask yourself the question, is it really necessary? Or can you do without it? What are the other environmentally friendly options?
3. Favor reusable products
Nowadays there are numerous organizations that advocate for and produce reusable products. One such product is a LastSwab which is a sustainable, reusable, and sanitary substitute to cotton swabs. LastSwab has been designed in such a way that is easy to clean, portable, and is available in two different versions (one for make-up and the other for cleaning).
Avoid purchasing single-use items such as silverware, disposable coffee cups, straws, and another plastic dishware. Instead, shop zero waste alternatives of everyday products that will last you for a long time rather than the cheap disposable options.
4. Do away with plastics
Another way to achieve your zero waste goals is by avoiding plastic materials and bags. Plastics rarely decompose and there are other plastic types like Styrofoams that are known to takes years or even decades to decompose. Where possible avoid buying products that are packed in plastic bags or wrappers such as plastic juice and water bottles and instead choose reusable containers. Stop using plastic containers to store food and instead use glass or reusable jars for storing food in the pantry, fridge, or freezer.
5. Plan Ahead
Whenever you are buying an item, it is prudent that you consider its entire lifecycle. For how long will you stay with the product? How will you dispose of the product and is it durable or brake-able? Can it be refurbished or recycled? Once you are able to answer this kind of question then you can go ahead and purchase it. Be mindful of every product you buy and its possible impact on the environment.
It is reported that a typical US household generates 650Ibs of organic waste a year, but the majority of these wastes are disposed of in landfills. As a matter of fact, 60% of US landfills contain organic matter. Most people think that once the organic waste is dumped in one large hole it will automatically be broken down by the putrefying organisms but this is not true, since landfills are usually not well aerated. It is therefore important that you separate your organic waste from the other types of wastes.
To achieve this you will need to have a separate collection bin where you can easily dispose-off your compostable waste. Note that you do not necessarily need to compost the waste yourself; you can look for someone who does. You can also inquire from your local municipal council on whether they offer any composting services.
7. Repair and reuse
Another way of reducing waste generation is by repairing and reusing electrical appliances like TVs, iron boxes, blenders, etc. Repairing will not only help you learn how to fix things but it will also enable you to save some money. Additionally, repairing will go a long way in reducing the quantity of waste we produce annually.
The tips mentioned above will without doubt make it easy for you to reuse, recycle and reduce waste instead of simply dumping everything in the waste container. Even though this lifestyle requires some level of commitment and sacrifice, it will definitely give you some sense of satisfaction knowing that you are protecting the environment through sustainable living. Hope this piece gives you the motivation to adopt a zero-waste and greener lifestyle.