Often, living according to zero-waste principles requires an initial investment, however, it is more cost-effective over time, more environmentally-friendly and often, healthier too.
There really isn't only one way of practising ZW methods, and the lifestyle is not only available to select few. Rather, it is a process, and unexceptionally, about becoming more mindful of your consumption behaviour, awareness of your habits and about questioning why you do what you do, and how your behaviour affects all that is around you. Finally, it is about simply looking for long-lasting, ecological and natural alternatives!
Without further ado, this is what I have implemented in my everyday life and/or learned from other informative zero-wasters (all of these are my thoughts, ideas and recommendations only, please use your further judgement and research to adjust in a way that works best for you!):
1. Develop awareness about the type of waste you create, how energy intensive it is and how much times it takes to recycle or break the items you throw away down. Does recycling any particular material reduces its quality? What are the items made from? Are they made from non-renewable or renewable resources? What does it mean for the environment, us and other species?
You can track your waste for a week, a month or more, it is a subjective process. This way you will learn about the main sources of waste and that may encourage you to look for better alternatives.
2. Find out about your local recycling scheme. Which waste is recycled in your borough, which is not? Is there a facility in your city that recycles the material that is not recycled in your borough? Which waste goes into which bin?
REMEMBER! First and foremost it is not about whether your flat-mate recycles, or whether you think the waste management facilities/workers sort through the waste properly, it is about YOU. It is about what YOU do and how intentional you are. It is about the kind of habits you develop by being systematic and engaged with the tried and tested ZW principles (or principles of sustainable living, low-waste living, you name it!) Sooner or later you will realise that your actions have the ripple effect.
Awareness of the products you use and throw away will help you appreciate the cycle of a given product and how much energy is required to complete the whole loop. In other words appreciate: sourcing --> manufacturing --> supplying --> time of use --> transforming --> composition/degradation, etc..
Lastly, get a compost bin! No form of recycling is better than composting.
1. I love multi-purpose items. Versatility is one of the buzzwords at G.0 platform. Less clutter, more functionality! Exciting stuff.
Can you think of a multi-purpose item that can be found in most kitchens at one time or another? ....JARS!!! They can be used as drinking glasses, for pickling, for dry food storage, to use as a holder of some kind - the list goes on... Not only are they versatile, but the material they are made from - glass, is also easily recyclable without losing its original quality.
2. Instead of using new kitchen towels, reuse old cloths you were going to throw-away!
5. Use easily biodegradable, natural cleaning brushes. Choose bamboo/wood handles + natural bristles and durable, long-lasting metallic scrubbers.
6. Refrain from using bin bags, for dry food. It's an unnecessary waste.
7. Use a glass sprayer bottle, not the plastic alternative.
1. Buy in bulk or package-free. Farmers markets? Yes, please!
2. Freeze any leftover food scraps and boil those for veg broth before you discard them. Food wastage is a huge problem in the world. Respect what you have, use it to its full potential before discarding it. Check out apps that tackle food waste, such as Olio and Too Good To Go, there are also more options for commercial use. (E.g. Foodcloud)
3. Compost vegan left-overs! Or make your own DIY beauty products!
4. Consider/ research how your diet affects the environment and make necessary adjustments + buy local!
5. Learn to pickle and ferment! (I intend to gives this ago during Christmas holidays!)
1. Switch off the lights when you are not in the room.
2. Plug off the cables from the sockets. When devices are plugged in, they still use energy. What a waste! Our energy/machinery use is one of the top environmental problems and the reason our non-renewable resources are dwindling away (aside from irresponsible energy use, this is also primarily due to over-population).
That is all for now!
Until next time