what is

zero waste?

Zero waste is a philosophy about a way of living that focuses on lowering waste and striving for a simple, sustainable life. The idea is to send as little as possible to landfill, with the aim of zero waste being sent to landfill. But the goal of adopting zero waste is not only to create individual differences, but also to promote a circular economy, and design without waste as an end product. 

 

We are a big believers in small changes over time. Not everyone in the world may be capable, have the access to, and/or be passionate enough to sustain a 'true zero waste lifestyle' (whatever that means), but our blog is here to provide a range of solutions that you can implement into your life to make a small change and help the future of our planet. The term zero waste can be scary and we understand that, but there is no need to feel judged if you can't cut it all down in one day, or if you don't fit it all in a jar. What is important is that we all live lower impact lifestyles. Changing your life takes time, learning, and growth, and taking that journey as it comes is fundamental to developing your love and passion for what you do. Our current environmental situation is neither stable nor sustainable long term. The time and collective effort of us who can help is necessary to combat this extremely difficult and damaging problem. I hope that from our blog you can take away not only how dire our current situation is, but how we can all do something to help, big or small. Zero waste in its most extreme form is not necessary, nor is it possible for everyone, and we understand that, but everyone has the chance to make a positive impact in so many various ways and we hope to help you figure out what that may be for you.

One element about sustainable that people are often misinformed about is recycling, and it is one that we think is necessary to discuss when talking about zero waste. It is not a long term solution to address the environmental problems we save, though it is extremely positive and necessary to create a circular economy. The zero waste movement follows 5 "R's" in order:

Refuse

Reduce

Reuse

Recycle

Rot

"Recycling is a great place to start, but a bad place to stop"

Recycling is towards the bottom list for a very good reason, it should be a last resort for things that you can't refuse, reduce, or reuse. Most of what gets sent to recycling bins either can't be recycled or doesn't get recycled. This is how the first 3 R's helps you out. Refusing is the simplest but it many ways the hardest. Getting weird looks when you use your own containers for food, having family and friends not understand and tease, and getting told constantly that what you are doing makes no difference takes time to accept, acknowledge, and let pass. Ultimately you know the decisions you make for yourself, and slowly people will begin to understand. Refusing is simply refusing everything you don't need; unnecessary packaging, in other words single use plastic and plastic in general, freebies, junk mail, all things that can be avoided. Reducing is a way to simplify your life, reduce what you have by getting rid of what you don't need and reducing the quantity of the things you do need. In some cases this doesn't apply, everyone has different hobbies and interests and well being is just as important to take into account when assessing this. Then, reuse what you consume and can't refuse or reduce. Often when people start zero waste they go out and buy all new sustainable products, but really you should use up what you have, see what you can reuse, and then evaluate what swaps you may need to make. Having already explained recycling, rot is simply a last solution for all that you can't refuse, reduce, reuse, or recycle.

"There is no such thing as 'away'. When we throw something, it must go somewhere"

Zero waste takes practice, be patient. Connect with the zero waste community, keep your passion and energy for our planet and our health alive, and use resources such as ours to help you along the way. With the amount of plastic being produced annually weighing the same as roughly the entire weight of humanity, addressing this problem is no longer for a small percentage of environmentalists, it's for the world.

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©2018 by The Zero Waste Cottage