What Does Zero Waste Actually Mean?

By: Kathryn Marchesiello

So if you keep hearing people talk about zero waste but have no idea what it is, you have come to the right place. Zero waste is the idea or philosophy that everything is recyclable and everything has an alternative so that a person can physically generate no waste. Why is this good? Well, no trash means no waste and no waste means nothing is being sent to landfills or incinerators which pollute the earth. Trying to go zero waste causes changes in how and what people buy and shows how waste prevention is possible. This philosophy can be used as a long term strategy for sustainability.

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Now that you know what zero waste is, Here are 10 easy tips to change up your lifestyle:

  1. One of the easiest changes to make is use a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic ones. This saves money while also not using as much plastic.
  2. Use rags or hand towels instead of producing an excess amount of waste from paper towels. You can do this by cutting up old towels or clothes that you no longer use. This can also save you money and trips to the store.
  3. Replace plastic Tupperware® containers with glass or stainless steel containers. This way, you are reducing the use of plastic while also investing in eco-friendly alternatives that will most likely last longer in the long run.
  4. Always bring a reusable bag with you so you are prepared when shopping for groceries or clothes. Say no to plastic bags that are harmful to the environment.
  5. Buy food with minimal packaging. For example, go to the local farmer’s stand and buy fresh fruits and vegetables that have no packaging on them. Reducing plastic packaging will greatly reduce the waste in your home.
  6. Compost your excess food. Take your food scraps you wish to throw out turn them into a rich soil for your garden.
  7. Say no to straws when you eat out. If you really want one, bring your own stainless steel reusable straw.
  8. Go digital at the office instead of printing an excess amount of paper. Save trees and do not print what can just be emailed or displayed on a screen.
  9. Bring your own reusable cutlery instead of disposable when packing lunch for work or eating on the go. This will help you eliminate the unnecessary plastic forks and knives that will most likely have no other option than to be thrown away.
  10. Host a clothes swap in which you can recycle old clothes or give them to goodwill. This can be a fun activity to do with friends, co-workers or even people in your community. The reward is some “new” clothes and a zero waste lifestyle.

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To learn more about zero waste lifestyle check out this blog by Lauren Singer, on how she has not made any trash in 2 years: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16168/i-havent-made-any-trash-in-2-years-heres-what-my-life-is-like.html

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