Have you ever seen a squirrel toss his styrofoam lunch container in the trash? No?
You’ll never find a deer or a fox leaving trash in the woods, but nature has waste. The difference is that nature’s waste is cyclical, whereas ours in linear. When we drop our trash into a hole in the ground, that’s the end of the line. It stays there slowly breaking down into smaller pieces over hundreds of years.
When the squirrel tosses out a nutshell, his actual lunch container, it decomposes and becomes food for plants and trees to grow.
Going zero waste is all about taking our linear waste process and making it cyclical. Check it out!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We all learned the 3 R’s in school but, with each passing year, it’s becoming more clear that this isn’t enough. Recycling is often seen as the answer to cutting down on your waste, but it certainly isn’t a perfect solution.
First of all, it requires energy to recycle products and turn them into something new. Plus, unfortunately, while the desire may be there, only about 8.4% of plastic is actually recycled.
Instead of relying on recycling as a solution, we need to instead be focusing on reducing and reusing. Throwing away less, whether it be in a trash can or recycling bin, is the best way to care for our planet.
Going Zero Waste
You might take a look at your weekly trash bag and wonder how on earth you could possibly cut it down. Don’t worry, there are plenty of options for going zero waste. It doesn’t necessarily mean reducing your weekly trash bag to nothing, but it does mean you start focusing on where your products come from and how to make that bag a lot smaller.
It starts with your purchasing habits.
First, do you really need it? If the answer is no, save your money and the planet and don’t buy it.
But what if you do need it? Assess your options. Clothing and other items can be bought second-hand. Vintage styles are trending right now anyway. Head to the thrift store or a consignment shop for your next back-to-school shopping spree. You can get some killer deals on gently-used items!
For personal care products, look for sustainably-made solutions. You can’t buy soap secondhand, but you can buy from a brand that uses compostable or other zero waste packaging instead of plastic wrap.
For household items and decor, focus on both sustainability and quality-made products. If you buy cheap products, you’ll have to throw them out and start over in a few months. Quality zero waste products can last you for years, ultimately saving you money and cutting down on your waste.
Living the Zero Waste Lifestyle.
Don’t let the term zero waste scare you away. The idea of reducing your trash bag to nothing might seem intimidating. But through little changes that start with your purchasing decisions, you can start living a more zero waste lifestyle and contribute to a greener earth!
Founder of Green Haven Living, a Veteran of the United States Air Force, former Human Resources professional, and Environmentalist.