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Why Zero Waste is the Future and How to Strive for it
A few weeks ago, it was announced that Waitrose are going to be selling in bulk amounts. And this is something we’re planning to do very soon here at Fushi.
To live a Zero Waste life, you must live without collecting or throwing away any waste. This is pretty hard when you first start off and it takes a lot of changes as it’s difficult to avoid waste. There are shopping bags, plastic straws, napkins, plastic water bottles, plastic silverware, and pretty much plastic everything. There are also wastefully packaged and produced products everywhere too.
The term Zero Waste is feared a lot because ‘zero’ seems extreme and impossible to people. Zero is just a goal though, and many zero waste advocates will encourage you that it’s about progress and making better choices to benefit the people and the planet, not perfection. Our world is not a zero waste one so waste cannot always be avoided.
For example, you might think that you’re living a totally #zerowastelife when you buy a shiny, new reusable water bottle, however, this bottle most likely also came in a pallet all wrapped in plastic. However, abstaining from buying plastic water bottles and using your reusable bottle makes a positive impact. We can only try our best in a waste-heavy world.
This article explains why it’s important for our planet and outlines some easy ways to incorporate more Zero Waste living into your life.
Earth Overshoot Day
This is the name of the day that is used to mark the day in the year when we’ve consumed all of the resources the earth can sustainably produce for the coming year. Each year that day gets earlier. In 2017 it was August 2. This year its July 29.
Striving for Zero Waste is important for the safety and future of the human race, animals, plants, and for giving the planet a chance at surviving.
How to Live Zero Waste
As a disposable society, we have a throw away and replace mentality that our grandparents and great grandparents definitely did not grow up with. In their generation, it was, ‘Don’t throw away what can be fixed.’ Today, if our jeans rip we will throw them away, when they could be stitched up. We waste food and products, and this is also a major waste of money. So, striving for zero waste will help you hold on to your hard-earned pennies too.
Here are some easy tips:
1. Invest in a refillable water bottle and use reusable bags and jars
It’s pretty easy to swap plastic water bottles and bags to be refillable and reusable. Plastic bottles and bags cause one of the biggest strains on our environment. An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year, which end up going into our oceans and killing the wildlife. Invest in a few reusaeable bags so that when you’re asked at the checkout if you want a plastic bag, you can say no! You can also buy glass jars to store spices, grains, powders and oils in, reducing the need to buy these products in plastic container
2. Recycle any waste you accumulate.
You can’t avoid waste entirely, but you can cut down on the amount of plastic bottles you need to recycle by not buying them in the first place. The goal is to accumulate less waste to recycle in the first place, but any recyclable waste that you do obtain can go in a reuseable bag to keep for all your recyclable waste. This includes things like light bulbs, cartridges and electronic parts.
3. Cut back on your food waste.
So many of us are guilty of throwing away so much wasted food every day. Many buy too much fresh produce only to end up throwing a lot of it away when it goes passed its Best Before date. Leftovers get forgotten about and then it’s too late to eat them.
To prevent food waste, we can cook or eat what we already have at home before going out to buy more food you might end up wasting. Plan meals and create a shopping list so that you know what you’re going to eat, and when, so that food is less likely to be wasted. Keep an eye on use by dates if planning what to eat next, so that nothing is wasted. Always use leftovers the next day. Another tip is to freeze any fruits and veggies that you might not eat straight away.
4. Eliminate Disposables.
Disposables are responsible for a lot of waste. These include paper towels, napkins, plastic spray bottles, straws and bags. By using alternatives where you can, you can cut back on a lot of this waste.
Firstly, investing in bamboo or stainless steel straws are easy to invest in, as opposed to repeatedly buying plastic straws and over time wasting money. Cloth napkins can be used instead. Ditch sandwich bags and pack your meals in a container or reusable bag. Paper towels can also be placed with reuseable rags.
5. Use a travel kit and make your own lunch.
Having a set of dishes, a coffee cup and utensils you can keep with you when out and about is helpful. These can be conveniently taken with you whenever you need to take food with you easily, such as at picnics, and can even be used as a doggy bag at restaurants instead of accepting it in a plastic bag.
Packing your own lunch for work will save you so much money in the long run as well. Reuseable travel mugs are useful for taking to work and not giving into buying your morning cup of coffee on your commute. A glass water bottle can be kept on your desk and refilled throughout the day, encouraging you to drink more water. And a utensil set saves you from obtaining any unnecessary plastic utensils given with meal deals at supermarkets throughout your day!
Do you have any more zero waste tips?
Written by Jess Burman
BA (Honours) Writing