Waste is defined as unwanted or unusable material. Garbage or trash is anything that has been discarded after use. Most of our trash goes straight to landfills, some are incinerated, an insubstantial portion gets recycled or reused, and a negligible percentage is composted. Our world is currently overflowing with trash. So much so that our oceans are already heavily polluted, becoming an open dumping ground by uncaring citizens and even by unconscientious companies and corporations who should know better. Discarded plastics in our seas are accidentally swallowed by marine life tragically resulting in their deaths and garbage are ruining the underwater ecosystem. A study published in 2017 found out that 91% of plastics in the world do not get recycled at all, and 79% of these plastics make its way to the landfills. It is a sad but ugly truth that has prompted many people to start adopting a zero-waste lifestyle to help save the environment.
Eco-friendly living is a timely goal that many people are beginning to practice. Some people, though, are a bit intimidated by the idea because they don’t think they can do it or if it’s even practical. There are some misconceptions about going zero waste that not a few people are skeptical about it thinking it can not be achieved. One important thing to note is that zero waste living does not happen overnight. Getting some guidance and knowing the basics will help you if you are interested in making this significant lifestyle change. It is a process, and everybody has to start somewhere.
Remember your motivation
Many people have decided to embrace zero waste living because of a specific catalyst – it could be a person or an event that has inspired them to want to start changing their habits. For some, it could be something they have read online about going zero waste that urged them to love this blog and become motivated to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Whatever your motivation was, always remember it, always come back to it, so you will not lose sight of why you are doing this worthy cause.
Assess and prioritize
A great way to begin is by assessing your waste. Evaluate which areas you can lessen your trash and start from there. Reducing your carbon footprint is a step by step process. Try to focus on one aspect at a time to keep from being overwhelmed. Find which ways are doable for you and do it. Switch to a zero-waste alternative whenever you can. Prioritize which parts of your routine can be changed to achieve zero waste. Make better choices and buying less. Buying less means producing less trash. Buying well means finding a more environmentally sustainable solution to traditional and wasteful products and services that generate more trash. Find alternatives to disposable products to lessen if not completely eliminate waste in your day to day living.
Do your research
Continuously researching and exploring how to properly transition to a zero waste lifestyle is essential to be able to maintain your cause. Many advocates espouse the “5 Rs” of zero waste living, which is a popular and efficient system to follow to remind everyone of the necessary steps to a reduced carbon footprint. One, refusing what you do not need. Two, reducing what you need and use. Three, reusing what you consume. Four, recycling what you can’t refuse or reuse. And lastly, rot or compost the rest of the biodegradable waste. More research will help you find out where to donate, sell, upcycle, and properly recycle your stuff instead of throwing it all away.
Joining zero waste communities in person or online is a good way to find more encouragement and support to continue on this path to help save the environment.