Plastic pollution, climate change, poor air quality, all the environmental disasters currently affecting our planet are, in part, linked to our culture of overconsumption and disposable goods.
However, there is hope. Running counter to the throwaway, mainstream culture of high/middle-income countries is a tide of resistance known as the Zero Waste movement. Over the coming month, we will be looking at what exactly this growing movement is, where it began, why it is hugely important and how you can get involved. Read on to find out more.
In this blog, the first of four, we take a look at:
There’s a ton of definitions out there and more than a few media outlets trying to paint the zero waste lifestyle as a millennial fad - like, you know climate change or not using plastic. But, despite all of this zero waste is essentially about ‘living simply and producing less rubbish’ (shout out to the Zero Waste Wanderess for inspiring that).
“Live simply and produce less waste”.
Sure, it can be easy to just shut ideas down by focusing on the technicalities rather than the broad intention. But this is not about focusing on the negatives, it’s about the positives and the fact that little changes lead to big ones.
There is a line somewhere unless you grow all your own food you’re contributing to waste in some way. Even the most locally grown, vegan, plastic free diet relies on the food being transported somewhere, thereby contributing to air pollution - less it’s done by bike, but then how was the bike made and delivered to the location where it was purchased?
The point is, that there is always going to be waste somewhere, but this is about personal decisions and just trying to do the best we can!
So, that’s what Zero Waste is defined as, but why should we be paying attention?
The fact is that everything GOES SOMEWHERE. Even if you throw it away, recycle it, burn it, whatever it is all still existing in some form or another. Even your carefully separated recycling needs to be transported somewhere and turned into something else.
We’re not saying don’t recycle, we’re saying use less stuff so that there is less to be recycled!.
Like any movement, the Zero Waste movement began organically and grew from many different shoots in many different locations. As such this makes it very hard to pin down an exact origin, however very loosely the movement grew out of the cradle to cradle philosophies of the 70’s/80’s and really started taking off in the 2000’s where, thanks to the internet, zero waste communities began to emerge.
Remember, being ‘zero waste’ is the goal and, like any goal, getting there is a journey. As you progress on your journey you’re becoming increasingly ‘low waste’ - which is a good thing and certainly better than staying at current levels of consumption.
Earlier this year we interviewed Kathleen, aka The Zero Waste Wanderess. In her interview, which can be found here, she recommended starting on one room at a time. Focus on that one room and look at the objects there that generate waste. A good place to start is the bathroom, consider the waste generated by items such as disposable razors/razor blades, shampoo bottles, deodorants, sanitary products, toothpaste and start thinking of ways in which you can reduce the waste created by these products.
In our next blog post, we will be exploring the idea of zero waste in more detail. Specifically, we will be talking about where and how to get started on your zero waste journey.