What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste is a concept that sustains the idea that nothing should be wasted, no product should end in a landfill and no item be thrown away to not be used again. We live in a society that is very structured around the idea of producing, using and then discarding once we are done with it. The idea of zero waste is to end this cycle of modern linear functioning and rather live a life whereby items are produced, used and then used again or reproduced into something new. Many do not fully understand the concept of zero waste and immediately think that the aim of this concept is to stop producing all together. This is not true, and all that this ideal is attempting to redefine is the way that we think about and use our resources.
Zero waste and sustainability walk hand in hand, and the only way to create a sustainable future is to change the structure and way that we deal with our waste. A zero waste lifestyle means that we are not just doing our part to reduce consumption and recycle what we can, but to also do our part in redefining how our homes and family use resources effectively. It is definitely possible to achieve a zero waste lifestyle and just implement a few tactics of being aware of what you are buying and noting how you are disposing of certain things in your home, you can easily be on your way to achieving a zero waste lifestyle!
How is Zero Waste Measured?
Zero waste is measured using an index that identifies and measures the number of materials, energy and resources that are used to create new items against what is recovered from waste recovery processes. This measurement outlines and displays what is newly created from virgin resources against the number of things that are recovered from recycled products. On a large scale, this can be incredibly hard to monitor as different industries require different kinds of measurements against the materials that they are using. This can however be simplified if using it for a specific business or even in your home. By noting the number of items that you recycle compared to the number of new products that you are purchasing, you can monitor how much more you need to do to achieve a zero waste household or business. Through each doing a small part in noting and understanding this zero waste measurement tool, a zero waste ideal can be reached!
How Does the Amount of Waste Affect the Environment?
The amount of waste that we produce directly impacts the environment, through things like pollution, greenhouse gasses and landfills. One of the most detrimental results to excess waste production is the landfills that are getting fuller by the second, with piles of waste being deposited in large areas, destroying ecosystems and the environment. These massive areas where waste accumulates are known to release incredibly powerful and harmful gasses, one of the most notable being methane. These different gasses that are released are detrimental to the environment and are huge contributors to global warming. Another factor to conisder with regards to landfills are the large amounts of space that they take up. Many ecosystems are destroyed and animals killed as the space for landfills becomes more necessary. The only way to reduce this and stop the spreading of landfills is to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in these large dumping sites.
How Have Communities Defined Zero Waste?
A zero waste lifestyle not only looks to curb the amount of waste produced, but it is a system that is aiming to change how we think about waste and natural resources as an entirety. Modern economies and systems currently work in a linear pattern, where items are created, used and then discarded into landfills, not being used again. Zero waste communities have redefined and recreated this linear system to eradicate this wasteful process! A zero waste system can be thought of in a circular manner, with products being created, used and then recreated once we no longer need the item.
What Are Successful Zero Waste Examples?
zero waste in the fashion industry has grown in leaps and bounds, with many fashion companies, brands and businesses making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of waste that they produce and use recycled products. In an industry where clothes are designed, created, worn and then discarded, it is no wonder that in previous years it has contributed a large amount of waste that ends up in landfills, polluting the environment and contributing to global warming. With different brands, like Green Petition, making an effort to change this system and use the clothes that are produced to create new ones, the idea of zero waste recycling is implemented and successfully changing the way that an entire industry functions! Zero waste fashion is slowly becoming a new standard by which brands and businesses in the industry are working to emulate and it will hopefully be one of the first factions in the business world to combat wastefulness and introduce zero waste as the new norm by which to produce clothing and other accessories.
Why is Zero Waste Important?
For the climate
Climate change is becoming one of the most talked-about discussions and issues that we face in the 21st century and introducing zero waste will help to improve and reduce not only the effects of climate change but reduce the rate at which climates around the world is becoming an issue. Zero waste will introduce far fewer goods being produced around the world, meaning that the production of goods will slow a great deal. It is estimated that a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions is the result of production, be it the clothes we wear or the food we eat. By introducing zero waste policies around the world and using what we have instead of making more, we are able to reduce the rapid rate at which climate change is happening and help to ensure that there is a better and more sustainable tomorrow for future generations to come.
For the post-COVID-19 world
As the world slowly returns to a new semblance of normal after the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world in 2020, it is important to acknowledge how initiating a zero waste lifestyle is now more important than ever. With the economy crippling in many countries and millions of people having succumbed to the Covid-19 disease, health, well-being and the ability to earn a salary are so important. With a zero waste lifestyle, communities get healthier, the economy could grow and a more equal society could rise from the ashes of the pandemic. Now is the chance to take take the opportunity to rebuild an economy that is not reliant on the production of new goods, ultimately leading to excessive greenhouse gas emissions and wastefulness.
Zero waste is incredibly important for cities and towns that are looking to improve the way that their citizens live and function. Zero waste has proven to be effective in improving the lives of thousands of people around the world, and cities that have adopted this approach are producing happier and healthier people. Zero waste helps cities to manage their waste better and it has even proven to create jobs, with its own economy beginning to form! Zerro waste has been known to help communities, particularly those who are in a disadvantaged group. Through recycling and repurposing projects, items can be distributed to those who need them and jobs can be created as the collection and production of recycled goods needs to increase! A zero waste lifestyle could greatly improve the functioning of all members of a community and it has also been known to impact the health and well-being of communities, as pollution decreases and air quality gets better, communities get healthier!
What are the Advantages of Zero Waste?
- Reduces the rate at which climate change is impacting the environment: One of the most profound impacts that a zero waste lifestyle will affect is the reducing of the speed at which climate change is impacting the environment. Zero waste promotes the idea of no wastefulness through the reusing of products that have already been produced. This ensures that less rubbish will land up in landfills and that fewer items will be produced, both of these changes reducing pollution and helping to lessen the rate at which climate change is affecting the planet.
- Helps the economy: Many argue that a zero waste initiative could be detrimental to the economy, with loss of jobs as production slows down. If this is your mentality, think again. It has been proven that sustaining a zero waste society can actually help to greatly improve the economy, with thousands of jobs being created to help in the collection, production and distribution of recycled products! Zero waste and recycling is slowly becoming a good business to be in, with profits and job creation on the rise within the industry.
What Can You Do to Start Zero Waste in Your Homes?
There are many things that we can do as individuals to reach a zero waste lifestyle and doing so will not only help to reduce carbon emissions and the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, but it has also been known to greatly improve the quality of your life! Starting to use a zero waste initiative in your home begins with making sure that recycle and only purchase goods that can be recycled, this includes the plastic that we buy, the clothes that we wear and even the decorations we use in our homes! Starting small and initiating ways to help reduce the number of virgin materials that you buy can go a long way to starting you on your way to living a zero waste life!
Will One Person Really Make a Difference?
Yes! Every time you make a purchase or decide to support a certain industry, you are ultimately voting for the type of systems that you want to be in place. By implementing a zero waste lifestyle into your home, being careful about what you purchase and recycling all the items that you are no longer using, you can go a long way to making a difference! If just one person per household had to make a concerted effort to live a zero waste lifestyle, the reduction in the amount of waste that ends up in landfills would be astronomical! Changing your lifestyle and adopting a zero waste approach is not just good for the environment but can also greatly improve the quality of your life. those who have adopted this kind of lifestyle have reported that they are saving money, eating healthier and are generally living a happier and more fulfilled lifestyle.