What is Zero Waste? I see Zero Waste as a tool to help me to live a simpler and cleaner life. No nasties around my house or on my skin, only good food without the plastic packaging that ends up in a landfill, a life focused more on experience than on accumulating stuff. You know, the good things in life.
A more exact definition would be that Zero Waste is a lifestyle where we aim to send no waste to landfills by using the 5R’s and applying them to our everyday life.
What are 5 R’s?
Refuse what you don’t need
Reduce what you do need
Reuse what you cannot refuse or reduce
Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse
Rot or compost the rest
Once you decide that you want to have a go at this lifestyle, it can be a bit overwhelming. So, start with baby steps. Read a few blogs or books, watch a few videos and then decide where you want to start. It doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are a few tips that can help.
Refuse the stuff you don’t really need to be happy. It is easy, you just need some training. Say no to that goodie bag full of samples of cosmetics you never really going to use. Say no to leaflets advertising products you never going to buy. Say no to yet another branded pen only to be buried in the junk drawer.
Reduce what you own. Own just what makes you feel good or is really really useful. In my case, I once had countless samples of shampoos, creams, make-up (I am a girl!). I had a pantry stocked with half-full jars and tins from various cooking experiments. Then I found out that simplicity makes me happier. It does take time to donate/gift/use it all up (because throwing it out is just wasteful!) but all the amazing clutter-free space afterwards is priceless.
Reuse is one of the mantras of zero waste. Ditching disposable crap and opting for good-quality durable products makes you feel instantly wise. It feels good! Well, hello stainless steel, handkerchieves and Kilner jars.
Recycle if you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse. This is especially true when it comes to packaging. So, if you cannot find a package-free product, try to think recyclable-friendly. Glass is better than plastic, metal is better than plastic, paper is better than plastic. You get the gist.
Rot or compost all of the organic waste you create. This is massively important for two reasons. Firstly, organic waste does not degrade in a landfill (you might have read about still-recognisable 25-year-old hot dogs and readable 50-year-old newspapers). Secondly, the compost makes great organic compound to grow more lovely fruit and veggies! You can throw it on your garden pile, feed it to your pigs or throw it in your brown bin to be taken away to a public compost site, they are all good options.