The overall idea is to not waste anything, and eliminate sending things to the landfill with the end goal of reducing the strain we put on our environment.
The Zero-Waste Breakdown:
- REFUSE: If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
- REDUCE: Consider what you truly need vs. want.
- REUSE: Once you’ve decided to keep it, get as much use as possible from it.
- RECYCLE: Anything you can’t reuse, recycle.
- ROT: Compost the rest.
There are blogs devoted to this very topic, with people that only have one jar of waste after a year (and as a family of four, plus a dog). Or a trendy, anti-trash New Yorker, or maybe you’re interested in what it’s like to be zero-waste overseas.
I personally am not one of these people. Last week alone, we took full advantage of the overflow trash day – where you get to set out an additional 10 bags of trash and they mysteriously disappear the next morning by 8:00am (we are prepping our house for sale and we’ve been doing yard work like crazy!).
The problem is, all of our trash doesn’t really disappear. And plastic breaks down (eventually), but then causes a lot of harm to plants and animals (I’m finding that most “zero waste” followers are also “no-plastic” followers – which makes sense). And that’s just the plastic. We don’t even take full advantage of recycling and composting – something I’m working on now.
I don’t think I’ll be to a point where I have reduced my waste enough to fit in a one-quart jar anytime soon, nor do I know if that’s a goal of mine, but I see nothing wrong with being a more conscious consumer that pays attention to what is brought home, what is purchased, and what happens to it afterwards.
If the sustainability factor of Zero-Waste doesn’t compel you, maybe the numbers will. Zero-waste families spend less – which makes sense when you’re analyzing every purchase, instead of filling whims. One woman noted that her family spends 40% less money being zero-waste. That’s enough to motivate me!
If you’re interested in learning more, I’ve added links to blogs I’ve been reading below. And of course, if you have any to add, please share in the comments!
Blogs that write about Zero Waste: