Waste is a serious problem we are facing across the globe. The phrase “going zero-waste” simply means generating little to no waste. This movement “redesigns our systems and resource use—from product design to disposal—to prevent wasteful and polluting practices.” (1) It is the latest rave in environmental awareness and sustainability and is one that we should all be paying close attention to, and here’s why:
- The United States is the #1 trash-producing country.
- 9/10 of all waste produced is not recycled.
- “About 42% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are created in the process of extracting resources, producing goods, disposing of waste, and transporting materials at every stage of that process.” (2)
- 15% of a product’s price is used to cover the packaging expenses.
- Making your own products reduces exposure to carcinogenic and endocrine-disruptive chemicals.
How Can You Go Zero-Waste?
Bea Johnson, wife and mother of 2, and the advocate of the global zero-waste movement has 5 simple rules towards living a more sustainable and waste-free lifestyle.
Those 5 rules include and are mentioned in her TEDx Talk:
- Refuse what you do not need. (Say no to single-use plastics, freebies, and junk mail.)
- Reduce what you do need. (While decluttering your home, you are boosting the second-hand market.)
- Reuse anything that is disposable for a reusable alternative. (Repurpose old jars to hold bulk items)
- Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse. (Goal is to recycle as little as possible through waste prevention from the first 3 rules.)
- Rot (compost) the rest. (This includes food and veggies scraps, compostable packaging, floor sweepings, and even hair!)
Here are some resources and inspiration to guide you on your zero-waste journey:
- Books that discuss zero-waste living:
- Youtube Videos/ Speeches:
- Articles that discuss waste and its impacts:
This is Lauren Singer holding a jar containing all the trash she produced in the past 3 years.
She has become a very successful entrepreneur, starting up her own business called Package Free Shop, located in New York.
This is Bea Johnson with a jar containing all the trash her family of four produced in 1 year.
She published a book in 2013 titled “Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste,” which revolutionized the zero-waste movement.
Going zero-waste should not feel like a burden or make you feel like you have to be perfect in order to make such changes. We have lived without plastic before and we can do it again.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” -George Bernard Shaw
If everyone teams up together to make these changes, no matter how big or small, we can be on the right track towards a more sustainable and ethical way of living.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
Zero-waste living allows you to find happiness in experiences rather than things, to eat healthier and avoid processed foods, save money, and the planet.
IDEAS Hive Meetings
Our IDEAS Hive events, a place where the community joins together to discuss environmental challenges and create solutions, are held the first Wednesday of every month in the city of Orlando.
Please donate to help keep our IDEAS Hive events running through 2019. These events are a great way to get our community together and start talking about environmental challenges and solutions. Many of the programs we have today grew from ideas discussed at Hive meetings, so please donate and share: https://www.facebook.com/donate/332208801052154/
Stay updated on our IDEAS Hive events on our social media pages: https://www.facebook.com/ideasforus.orlando/?epa=SEARCH_BOX