The Zero Waste Movement is going mainstream. The environmental impact of our daily lives is being talked about on major news outlets like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, but what is this movement, and why should you care about it?
Simply put, the idea of Zero Waste is to minimize how much trash you are throwing away (For a full definition check out my FAQ page). Idealistically, you don’t throw anything “away,” (what is “away” anyway?) And, just to clarify, just because you don’t throw things into the trash doesn’t mean hoard everything you own. Lauren Singer, a 24 year old environmentalist and large zero waste advocate has one mason jar that has all of her trash for the past THREE years. Bea Johnson is another zero-waster and consultant, who has lived waste free since 2008, travels talking about zero waste and is the author of “Zero Waste Home.” But of course, there are a lot of people in between those who carelessly just use single-use disposable plastics such as utensils and straws, and people like Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer.
I personally enjoy the zero waste movement because it helps me create a change in our impact on this planet. However, I also stress that it’s a zero waste journey. Just like fitness or anything that one might wish to improve, it doesn’t happen overnight. ‘Tis is a journey for one to go, learn, and discover on. One day we can have a world filled of people like Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer, but it’s important to start from somewhere. Everyone begins their zero waste journey for many different reasons .Here are just a few that may spark some motivation for you, as they did for others!
You have siblings, or children in your life
Maybe you have younger siblings or have younger family members. Maybe you have children, or want children, or value the future generations that will one day walk the earth. If the environment continues to be destroyed, society as we know it cannot continue. An ecosystem is a delicate balance that needs to be maintained in order for us to continue to have civilization as we know it. Reducing your impact can help create a brighter and cleaner future for the next generation. You can do more than just make sure it exists, you can make ensure that it thrives.
You want to be healthier
When you reduce your plastics and disposables, you may find that a lot of waste can come from the way our food is stored. Try to think about foods that come in disposable packaging… Some things that automatically come to mind are chips, pre-made baking goods, and many other types of junk food! On the zero waste journey you buy in bulk. And not the type of bulk that comes from Costco, but by placing loose foods into your own containers. Whole foods is popular near me, for example, and has a “bulk bin section” where you can buy foods like nuts grains and beans loose and free of packaging. Of course these foods buy themselves are healthy, but they also the foods accessible without the packaging! You can also buy locally at your farmers market to get vegetables. This way, you not only contribute to local business, you also are healthier in the process!
You enjoy the outdoors
Ever walk on a trail and notice the trash other travellers have left behind? Or been on a beach and notice something not so natural wash up on the beach or next to you? Just because things are recycled, or placed in a landfill doesn’t mean they stay there, or is where they end up. Less trash will keep the beaches looking beautiful, just the way you want to enjoy them.
You want to make a difference
I enjoy zero waste because it puts me in control of my impact. We always hear on the news the devastating state of our society as a whole. We also hear about climate change, we hear about the problems of plastics and pollutions, but it’s easy to feel helpless to it. Going zero waste is a way to put the control back in your hands to make a real tangible impact on the environment, and the earth as we know it.
Everyone goes on their journey in a different way and for a different reason, these are only a few. Whatever your reason, or whether you are just getting started, striving for zero waste can create a huge impact on your life- it has on mine. Why do you strive toward a zero waste lifestyle?