Living a zero waste life implies making better choices.
It means being alert and conscious about your living and purchasing habits to reduce the amount of waste you create on a daily basis.
Why? Because we only have one world with finite resources.
(According to The World Counts, we will need the equivalent of 2 planets by 2030 unless major changes are made).
For some, zero waste means a complete change of lifestyle (National Geographic recommends downsizing our trash piles to just one jar of trash each year)
For others, it means embracing small actions that make a big difference (as the saying goes, “small hinges swing big doors”). For example, recycling or ditching single-use items.
Any way you choose, it’s OK.
Because, at the end of the day, zero-waste is really a goal, a direction you want to walk towards.
And in that compassionate journey, there are some tools that may help you out.
Zero waste mindset: The 7R Framework
The 7R system gives you useful tips and data on how to manage your waste.
It also helps you to prioritize your actions, because the higher up on the list it falls, the better it is.
- Rethink. Do you really need to buy that? Pause. Stop. See the big picture. Understand that everything is a resource. Every step in the production of an item requires materials, time, energy and land. Ask yourself: Where did this product come from? How was it made? Who made it? How was it transported? Is it made to last? Is it recyclable? How can I dispose of it? This is about resisting the urge to accumulate more stuff and to be a conscious consumer when you do.
- Refuse. Embrace the power of saying no. Value what you already have and make do with it. Maybe it’s better to buy small amounts of ethical products than to plug in to the consumerist fever that has you running towards the last shiny thing on the market. This can mean refusing to adopt fast fashion or plastic-packaged goods. They give you a plastic straw? Say no. They hand you a plastic bag? Say no. They offer you a car ride? Say no and grab your bike!
- Reduce. We can reduce our consumption by only buying new things we really need, and by buying secondhand when possible. Reducing may also mean buying fresh and local foods, which benefits your nearby clerks and diminishes transport pollution. Using less materials from the start leads to less waste and less energy use.
- Reuse. Can you avoid buying a new product? Thrift, share, repurpose, adapt! Reuse your glass jars for storing food and other household items. Pass on magazines, catalogs, and books to neighbors, hospitals, libraries, schools, and nursing homes. Use elements you already have to wrap presents. Buy in bulk and avoid single-serving sizes.
- Repair. Fix or upgrade your existing objects before you throw them in the landfill. Get creative! Occasionally you may have to pay someone to fix things for you, and that’s OK, it’s a good investment. Fixing means valuing what you already have, instead of what you lack, and embracing imperfection. Those worn-out shoes? They have the marks of your history! Scuffs, chips, cracks, worn parts or dents: don’t see them as defects, but as lovely stories of your relationships with the world. This mindset also pushes you to think of elements beyond their economic value, by focusing instead on the immaterial benefits they may bring you (joy, fun, comfort, convenience, etc).
- Recycle. Close the circle. It saves landfill space, money, energy, and natural resources (and it provides jobs as well!). Buy products manufactured with recycled content and create the habit of collecting recycled items at home.
- Rot. Did you know that almost 75-80% of kitchen waste can be taken care of easily at home by composting? Composting is easy and fun and super helpful! (and a great activity to do with the kids). Coffee grounds, tea bags, sawdust, garden waste: all of this (and more) can be managed easily. Don’t know where to start? Check this Composting basics for beginners.
The waste management hierarchy (Adapted from UNEP, 2011 24 ). By:Kibii Komen
The Zero Waste pledge: a global issue
According to the World Bank, the world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that—extremely conservatively—not managed in an environmentally safe manner.
Source: Trends in Solid Waste Management
In this context, making zero waste a priority is a smart and ethical move.
Zero waste products: Buy ethically
Waste Reduction is one of our Blue Labels.
This means that in our store you can find many products that are ethically produced and that have waste reduction at their core.
Check some of them out:
The 7R Framework gives you a simplified and actionable plan to guide you in your zero-waste journey.
But remember: you don’t have to do everything together.
As Voltaire said: “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
Even if you use one less plastic water bottle or disposable coffee cup a month that you used to, it’s still progress that should be celebrated.
Just keep up with it and take small steps!