There are a lot of steps that you can take to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle. You have probably heard so many people talk about solar energy that it has become synonymous with sustainable living. This has become a problem, because there are equally important things people must do to help the planet.
One thing people should be doing is moving towards zero-waste living. The average American produces 1,606 pounds of waste a year. You need to focus on minimizing this waste if you want to improve the environment.
It’s the end of 2021, the second year of the global pandemic and, arguably, the year when the zero waste movement gained the most prominence. From corporate CEOs to Average Joes and Janes, everyone was considering a lifestyle change that results in absolutely no waste. And if current trends are to be believed, zero waste will only be more prominent in 2022 and the subsequent years.
So, as the holiday spirit takes us, let’s go over zero waste basics. First, we will examine why it has become such a global phenomenon in such a short time. But more importantly, we will focus on why zero waste living is so crucial for every one of us and why it benefits nearly every lifestyle out there. Zero waste living is a lot harder than it seems, but you can take the right steps to start practicing it today.
What is Zero Waste?
In a nutshell, zero waste is a set of principles and rules based on a straightforward goal: to reduce the number of items going to the landfill. In other words, not a single piece of potential trash should end up burning or being dumped somewhere in nature. That way, we can avoid polluting the planet any more than it already is.
Many people tend to think zero waste and recycling are the same thing, but that’s not the case. Recycling is actually just one part of the vast zero waste puzzle. Zero waste is more of a lifestyle change. You implement certain practices that can lower your carbon footprint and reduce how much trash you throw away.
So, why is it important? People keep hearing that it’s good for the environment and saves money, yes. Yet nobody explains it to them past those abstract notions. So, let’s get into the practical benefits of zero waste living.
The Importance of Living Zero Waste
Benefits for Businesses
Have you been in the business circles long enough in the late 2010s? Then you have surely heard of the term ‘circular economy.’ And while the circular economy is not the same as zero waste in general, they work extremely well hand in hand.
A circular economy focuses on extending products’ lives, reducing the amount of waste that products can generate, and using ethical means to sustain an economy. It replaces the old ‘take-make-dispose’ approach to manufacturing and provides a cost-effective, lucrative, and environmentally friendly alternative:
- Brands manufacture products that are easy to assemble and disassemble for harvesting reusable raw materials
- Products last longer, i.e., they don’t end up in landfills for years
- Factories reuse raw materials that end up as waste during the manufacturing process
- Factories claim usable raw materials from landfills
- Brands upcycle or recycle old products instead of dumping them
This approach undoubtedly leaves the environment trash-free. However, it also presents incredible opportunities for both companies and consumers. In fact, according to some estimates, this approach to manufacturing can unlock a GDP growth of $4.5 billion by as early as 2030.
Benefits for the Environment
The environmental benefits of zero waste living are well-known to experts. For instance, by cutting down on meat, we save many animals. But beyond that, we reduce the amount of methane the animals released in the air from massive meat farms. In addition, by refusing to drive, people across the globe reduce their carbon emissions. This helps restore the ozone layer and keep the air clean.
But it doesn’t end there. Around 17% of food globally ends up in landfills, which is a huge waste. Not only does it pollute the environment, but it also prevents delicious food from reaching those that need it the most. In addition, if left untreated, spoiled food can also emit harmful gasses that pollute the air. But with zero-waste policies, we can cut down on the amount of food that ends up in the trash. And with composting, donating, or recycling, we can put even the stale, rotting food to good, environmentally friendly use.
Finally, there’s the aspect of using raw materials, like coal, oil, and natural gas, as well as various metals and minerals. All of these fossil fuel resources are finite and are the cause of extreme pollution. But if we reuse some of them or think about alternative energy sources, we can cut down on the harmful effects of oil and gas to a significant extent. Furthermore, we will reduce the amount of land we need to drill and dig into to get these fossil fuels.
Benefits for You
As an individual, you can go zero waste for altruistic reasons, i.e., to save the planet and help your fellow man. However, there are also more than a few personal incentives to follow zero waste practices.
First and foremost, living waste-free can save you a lot of money. By reusing durable products and avoiding to spend too much on perishables and single-use plastic, you will be saving hundreds of dollars on a monthly basis and in addition, making your toiletries and food will cost you a fraction of what you spend at the supermarket or a restaurant.
Next, your health will see a significant boost. Cutting down on junk food and walking instead of driving will help you maintain your stamina and perform better in your everyday activities. You will also have more energy and risk fewer illnesses than before.
Finally, zero waste living is an opportunity to engage in exciting activities. For example, instead of throwing away an old item, you can try some DIY and upcycle it into something new and exciting. That right there is another additional method of saving money and learning a new crafting skill in the process.
And it doesn’t just stop with you, either. If you’re persistent and committed enough, you can influence your friends, family, and the local community to follow your example. That way, your nearby environment can experience all of the benefits of a trash-free, non-polluted life that works out for everyone.
Zero Waste In Closing
The United States creates three times as much waste per capita as most other countries, so we need to start changing our practices. When going zero waste, remember to take little steps and approach others with an open mind. Admittedly, it’s a huge life change, and trying everything at once can be overwhelming. But whether you’re a business owner or a regular, everyday citizen, your life will see a boost in nearly all major areas. So, we humbly advise that you enter 2022 with a clean, green, zero waste mindset, ready to progress ever onward.