Sustainable Review: Zero Waste Living

November 04, 2017 0 Comments

A review on the zero waste lifestyle and how it is and is not sustainable. And how you can be more zero waste in your everyday life.

There are so many ways to be more sustainable, but are some better then others? In a blog series I will be discussing different sustainable lifestyles. I will be talking about the basic details of the lifestyle, how they are sustainable, and how you can incorporate them into your life. I'm hoping this series will give you a taste of what your options are in this modern world and how you can added them to your everyday life to be a little more sustainable. 

             The first of lifestyle I will be discussing is zero waste. 

Ok, what is zero waste? In the simplest form it's living a life that creates a limited amount of waste or trash specifically. We are create waste, some are better then others. The worst being the non decomposing waste like plastic and styrofoam. These items will not break down for hundreds, even thousands of years and will do the most harm to the environments and animals they encounter. Then you have the ok or better waste which is recycled items. If you recycle glass it can be melted down and remade into a glass product over and over again without any issue to the quality of the glass. It is single handily the best item to be recycled and the most sustainable. The best waste is compost. It provides nutrients to the soil once it breaks down and does a lot of good to the environment and the animals it interacts with. 

People practicing zero waste are focusing on only creating the good and great waste. They typically will store items in glass or materials that will last for a very long time and do not need to be thrown away, like glass jars or tin containers. They do not buy items in plastic or avoid it as best they can. They buy second hand or reuse their goods for another purpose when it can no longer be used for its original purpose. No plastic, paper, or anything that can't either be recycled or composted is allowed. 

Reduction of waste is definitely sustainable. Even limiting single use plastic and paper is a giant leap in sustainability because you are reducing the use of items that are toxic, non biodegradable, and harmful to us and wildlife. Plus you are usually buying local from farmers markets, second hand stores, and local food stores that also practice zero waste/bulk selections. 

The downside is it's not completely accessible to everyone just yet. Only a select amount of stores are practicing bulk food selections and they sometimes can be quite expensive. And just because someone is zero waste doesn't mean they might not be eating plants and animals that are negatively affecting the environment. You can be zero waste and still be purchasing items that might be destroying the rainforest or have unsafe and polluting animal factories, it's still not a fully sustainable system. 

And anyone can be more zero waste, you just have to spend some time and do a little research. A couple of things that can really reduce your everyday waste: 

  • Bring your own cup, silverware, napkin, and straw - You can buy them online and even make your own napkin. Throw it in your bag and they are there anytime you go to a restaurant or coffee shop that doesn't over reusable cups or silverware.
  • Ditch the paper towels - make your own or buy some simple cloth rags online, if you want to be more sustainable find some that are made with sustainable materials 
  • Store food items in reusable containers - ditch the plastic ziplock bags and use glass, tin, or some plastic containers that you know will last forever. 
  • Bring your own grocery bags - this one is mentioned over and over again i'm shocked when people ask for bags at the store now a days. You can find some that will fold up and will easily fit in your bag or make some of your own with an old t shirt. And invest in produce bags to eliminate the use of the plastic produce bags. 
  • Buy compostable doggie waste bags - if you have a dog you know what im talking about. 

That's it! Some simple things you can do to be more zero waste. And if you feel like this is a lifestyle you really want to pursue there are a ton of "how-tos" out there to give you the full scope of going zero waste. 

 

Next post will be about veganism.