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How to Go Zero Waste

Last updated: June 24, 2022

We've all heard it before. Think twice about tossing your items in the garbage can as they will end up in the landfill. With global warming rates increasing, and about 150 million tons of waste going into American landfills every year, it is of the utmost importance now, more than ever, to reconsider daily habits that may lead to the discarding of certain items. The best way to do this is to never put yourself in that position in the first place, either by recycling or reusing - but mostly by reducing the amount of waste you are producing in the first place.

In this article, we will explore the notion of zero waste and how to become "Zero waste". We will first define what being zero waste is, and next, we will define what it means on a deeper level. Finally, we'll list some of the best tips to reduce the amount of garbage that is discarded for you and your family.

What is Zero Waste?

Zero-waste, simply put, means producing or utilizing anything that can be discarded in your trash can that may ultimately end up in the landfill. While this may seem impossible, becoming zero waste is becoming an increasing necessity throughout our fragile world, as too many metric tons of equipment and old, unnecessary rubbish are finding their way into our oceans, drinking water, public systems, and our soil. While it may seem unnecessary to completely eliminate garbage in our life, it frees up areas in our life where we are able to both compensate for our own ecological footprint and that of more unscrupulous corporations that do not have their attention on global sustainability.

What does Zero Waste Mean?

Now that we have defined what zero waste is, the next course of action is to define what that means to you. It is impossible to go cold turkey, that is, to completely remove the clutter in your life and your daily habits. Through changing your actions and daily concentration, it can be extremely simple to make a conscious effort to remove things that you may not even need. You may find that a side effect of attempting to make zero waste is a more fulfilling lifestyle and one that frees you from the proverbial chains of mess or unnecessary hoarding.

How to Be Zero Waste

Here are the top five tips to transition your life toward one that involves no waste or clutter:

Psychological shift: The first step toward dedicating yourself to something, especially a radical lifestyle change, is to define why you are doing it. It may be a nice idea to reduce unsustainable habits, but it is something else to become an activist- an evangelist for a dramatic change in order to save the planet. The best way to do this is to visit areas that are completely affected by the production of human-centered waste, pollutants, garbage, and other byproducts of our society. This can be as direct as visiting a landfill or sanitation station or inquiring further at your local zoo or botanical gardens about programs that are saving ecosystems from extinction. You may be surprised at what you find, and the information is often free, as it is in everyone's best interest to move toward a more sustainable environment.

Participate in your municipal recycling program: The sanitation department of most cities, municipalities, and even states includes free information and directions on how everything can be sorted into your designated bins. The difference between garbage, compost, and recyclables is extremely important to differentiate, as most items can be properly reformed into something else rather than go to the landfill. It is extremely necessary to pay attention to these things, as improperly recycling something that should have been cleaned or composted can affect the rest of the batch. For example, a yogurt cup that has not properly been cleaned cannot be recycled and may end up in a landfill.

Don't buy water bottles: Water bottles are an invention that should be completely phased out, as they create an extreme amount of unnecessary waste, and may even pollute your drinking water. Purchase a metal or reusable water bottle and fill it with clean water sources; most municipal taps provide potable drinking water. If you have concerns, there are many water filters that can help address them.

Preserve your food: Learning to preserve food not only cuts down on unnecessary food waste that could've otherwise been nutrition, but will also limit your grocery bill, making this a choice that pays twice. Before learning canning on your own, start off simply by purchasing more flash-frozen fruits, vegetables, and even meat- as they can easily be stored in the freezer for many months.

Embrace veganism: Vegan-based products and investments do not just mean food, but also clothing and other products. Vegan products usually focus on sustainability and will limit other things such as animal cruelty, deceptive farming methods, and supply chain issues, in addition to making it easier to become zero waste.

Learning to preserve food not only cuts down on unnecessary food waste that could've otherwise been nutrition, but will also limit your grocery bill, making this a choice that pays twice. Before learning canning on your own, start off simply by purchasing more flash-frozen fruits, vegetables, and even meat- as they can easily be stored in the freezer for many months.

FAQs

Is zero waste achievable?

Yes. While completely changing your lifestyle overnight to produce no waste and to make conscious decisions when purchasing items (such as plastic-free drinks) is not attainable, over time, small decisions such as decluttering, recycling, and composting can make a huge difference in your change to zero waste.

What are the benefits of zero waste?

Producing zero waste would benefit you greatly, morally, financially, and for your health. Morally, it is everyone's duty to contribute to the environmental protection of our planet, as we are all stewards of the future generation. It also saves a lot on your bills when you are not purchasing anything that will eventually be discarded. Finally, you may notice that your health improves, as your lifestyle may steer you away from junk food, overindulgence, and other unhealthy habits.

Can you recycle clothes?

Yes. Not only can you turn your clothes into hand-me-downs, you can also cut them up into rags or create other creative projects. Finally, you can also donate them to a sustainable recycled clothing program.

 


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