There have been times when we have come across the terms ‘Zero Waste’ at some point in our lives. It is not a habit that one can cultivate overnight but here are some tips and facts about zero waste lifestyle, habits and food and how to adopt these practices in our daily lives.
What does a Zero Waste Lifestyle mean?
Having a zero waste life essentially means adopting practices that are in sync with environmental sustainability and aims at reducing as much waste from your daily routines and lifestyle as possible, in very simple terms. It is not only about giving up on plastic or making your meals from scratch, it is a lot more.
According a world study, it was revealed that only about 9% of the world’s plastic gets recycled, which means that 91% of the plastic in the world does not end up getting recycled and most of it ultimately ends up in landfills, water bodies or other parts of the environmental ecosystem. If these levels of improper disposal of plastic keep going on, it is predicted that landfills will be crowded with more than 10,000 metric tonnes of plastic by the year 2050 and there will have been irreparable damage done to the environment.
A zero waste lifestyle is a lifestyle that meant for reducing carbon footprint and is dedicated to prioritize your usage of resources and cultivating significant efforts and habits for doing the same in your daily lives.
How do you start?
Having a zero waste lifestyle is not something one can immediately adopt or turn towards in a day. It requires essential changes and efforts in your consumption patterns whether it is eating, buying something, cooking or even taking something as simple as a pen from a conference. Everything you bring into your home or your daily life has an impact on you work with it or use it and further defines the kind of lifestyle you will have, based on your habits and practices.
It takes consistency and changing our perspectives too. Many Instagram influencers and other experts have advised that if one wants to embrace a zero waste life, they must start with small, baby steps.
These are some of the small changes you can bring to your daily routine to go zero waste:
- The first and the most important step is to follow the 5 R’s of the environment. This significantly reduces the amount of waste you generate and also the things you unnecessarily buy or use. Refuse whatever is not that important for you, Reduce whatever you do not need, Reuse things that you have already bought or consumed, Recycle things that you cannot refuse and are important, reduce extra consumption and rot or compost whatever biodegradable material is there. This way, a lot of your consumed resources can be either put for further use or can be given back to the environment in the form of compost.
- The second most important step towards becoming fully zero waste, also learn how to say no to things that are not really necessary for you or your house to further reduce the task of recycling or reusing those objects.
- Anne Marie Bonneau runs a zero waste cooking blog and she stands firmly against using or buying processed foods and encourages people to start eating real or naturally procured foods such as fruits and vegetables and all that does not come with processing or unnecessary packaging. A huge amount of plastic and other such non biodegradable materials end up being poorly disposed or reused and often pollute land or water and are also eaten up by innocent animals that choke to death on eating these materials.
- Do not use more than you need. Yes, this sounds easier than it is. It does not only mean cutting down on your shopping sprees or going more natural, it also includes making major lifestyle choices. The consumer industry has been subconsciously affecting our eating and consumption patterns and we often end up using more than we actually need, whether it is food ingredients or your dish wash soap or even your toothpaste. These are not changes that can be incorporated overnight; they require persistent efforts and a strong mindset to change.
Important Products and Practices to Include in your Lives:
- The simplest way to reduce on your consumption is by carrying a refillable water bottle with you. Simple. The most regularly form of plastic that is used by people almost in every part of the world is buying bottled water. One can cut down a lot on plastic usage by carrying their own water bottle and refilling it whenever necessary.
- Use jars instead of storing your food and other such supplies in plastic containers, Ziploc bags or Tupperware containers. These jars have a longer life and can be easily reused for any products over and over.
- Another conscious step that people should take is carrying their own cloth bags when they leave their house. You can even make them from your old shirts or other clothes to reduce waste. Carrying your own bag reduces your purchase of unnecessary carry bags made out of paper or plastic when you go shopping.
- Using reusable utensils also cuts down on using disposable products such as plates, spoons and straws.
- Another simple step towards zero waste is carrying your handkerchief. It is not only good hygiene for wiping your hands, mouth and nose but also significantly cuts down your purchase and consumption on tissues, paper towels and other such wipes. It saves the environment’s resources and also is easier on your pocket.
To move towards a zero waste lifestyle, it is not necessary for you to incorporate all the aforementioned steps and practices immediately in your lives altogether. Taking small steps and making conscious changes is the key. Zero waste lifestyle requires you to be consistent, even if you’re doing it bit by it. You can start with something simple like using refillable water bottles or carrying cloth bags as a starter and build on the other waste reduction steps further.