reducing waste
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What is the zero waste movement

Today, a multitude of consumers have resolved to achieve zero waste in their daily consumption patterns. This challenge is of great importance for our environment polluted by short-lived objects. Do you also want to take action in favor of the planet and your health? We tell you everything about this concept and its advantages.

As its name suggests, zero waste is a trend aimed at limiting the rate of waste generated both individually and collectively. This includes abandoning single-use accessories in favor of more durable items. Also, it consists of a change in our daily consumption habits.

A priori the concept consists of challenging the consumer on what seems essential to them. It is therefore better to invest in a truly useful item than to purchase gadgets with attractive packaging that will end up in the trash. On the other hand, reducing household waste represents an objective that is both fun and meaningful. It can therefore be seen as a project which, in the long term, will do as much good for the planet as for health.

First defined in 2004 during the Planning Group of the Zero Waste International Alliance, this concept continues to gain momentum. Thus, several bloggers have dedicated themselves to raising awareness about healthier consumption patterns.

The practice will then be popularized by Béa Johnson in 2013, an American of French origin. She teaches how she managed to generate less than 1 liter of trash in a year. In her work, the author proposes the 5 R rule to achieve this:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Give back to the Earth (compost)

Concretely, this committed movement consists of favoring durable items to the detriment of disposable items. This is all the more important when we know that it only takes 42 days for 99% of resources taken from nature to become garbage. This movement also challenges manufacturers on production methods. It is indeed advisable to rethink the life cycle of items while using natural rather than toxic components.

Why go for it

Reducing daily litter certainly has a great benefit for the environment, but it is also beneficial in other ways.

Preserving environmental resources is the main benefit to reducing waste. A report released by the UN puts the annual consumption of plastic bags worldwide at 500 billion. This packaging, once thrown away, is responsible for polluting water and soil. The microplastics released end up at the bottom of the oceans and greatly affect the health of animals.

Adopting a healthier consumption pattern therefore helps to considerably limit pollution. Also, this practice makes it possible to restrict the use of heavy industrial methods for processing waste. You will in fact have less need to refer to incineration, landfills or even recycling.

For a better illustration, you should know that our everyday items have an ecological background. These are the resources mobilized during their production and transportation (oil, coal, shale gas, nickel extraction, etc.). These substances, which are not perceptible to the consumer, have a significant environmental impact. 50% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to the extraction of raw materials.

In addition, these accessories have an ecological cost resulting from their transformation once at the end of their life. This results in the processes of recycling, incineration or landfill. These activities also have a significant environmental impact. This observation also justifies the principle according to which the best waste is that which is not produced. By giving up over-packaged items, water bottles or disposable cosmetic bottles, you are doing a lot of good for the planet.

Preserve your health

Zero waste is not just about reducing the size of your trash can, it also involves eating healthy foods. Conventional agriculture often uses pesticides that are harmful to health. These substances are also the cause of soil impoverishment and the extinction of certain insects.

Conversely, consuming products from organic farming maintains your health capital. You will thus be able to do without foods with a high content of additives or salt, the abuse of which proves dangerous for the body. Thus, petrochemical and toxic ingredients will make way for natural components.

If we take the example of plastic packaging, they sometimes contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a substance suspected of being an endocrine disruptor. When it migrates into the contents of foods or drinks, it can act on hormonal functioning. Reducing foods with controversial ingredients also saves you from heart problems. You will be less prone to irritation that can be felt when using traditional care items.

Do good for your wallet

Switching to a minimalist mode of consumption allows us to question the objects we really need. We will therefore be more inclined to purchase only necessary, viable and quality items. This approach turns out to be more profitable in the long term. This philosophy also allows us to avoid packaging and marketing costs. Also, you will be less inclined to waste food by purchasing it in reasonable quantities. By purchasing directly from the producer, you will pay less. Remember that as the distribution circuit shortens, prices fall.

How to make a successful transition

You can easily take on this challenge alone or with your family to make the experience more fun. Although it is relatively complex to completely reduce waste, it is possible to do so by relying on a zero waste store.

Swap disposable for reusable

Short-lived accessories are largely responsible for polluting the planet. Consumption of disposable coffee cups amounts to 16 billion, that of straws to 36 billion. These figures are alarming when we know that an insulated bottle or a stainless steel flask can be used for years.

To unclog your trash cans, consider drastically reducing your use of disposable accessories. So start by equipping yourself with washable and durable containers. Also, choose natural materials without petrochemical components.

The ideal ally when it comes to containers remains the washable bulk bag made of natural fabric such as cotton. You can store food of all kinds in it. For your purchases at the organic store or the grocery store, take this natural container with you. Thanks to this accessory, you can easily do without innocuous packaging.

In addition, you will need a reusable stainless steel bottle, preferably. It is an ecological alternative to plastic water bottles. This is all the more relevant given that 89 billion of these bottles are sold each year. The stainless steel bottle is easy to take to a workout or to work.

It should be noted that there is an ecological alternative for every disposable tool. So, for your next shopping, consider getting accessories such as:

  • Stainless steel straw instead of disposable straws
  • Bee wrap, a washable food wrap to replace stretch film and aluminum foil
  • The oriculi as an ecological alternative to single-use cotton swabs
  • The bamboo toothbrush
  • A washable paper towel
  • Sustainable coffee capsules
  • Washable diapers instead of single-use ones
  • Stainless steel kitchen utensils to replace disposable tableware

Furthermore, consider equipping yourself with glass jars, they are used to package jams, juices, sauces or even cereals.

Do your shopping in bulk

Reducing waste depends largely on a change in consumption habits. For this, bulk purchasing is the essential solution. In fact, this approach helps to do without packaging that is of little use. It is therefore beneficial for the well-being of the environment.

If you are looking for a solution to food waste, this method of consumption is what you need. By buying in bulk, you have the freedom to purchase the exact quantity you need. You no longer have to invest in a whole package of an item that will only be partially consumed.

With the growth of bulk grocery stores, you will inevitably find what you need (fruits, vegetables, cereals, wine, oil, vinegar, etc.). For your next shopping, head to the nearest grocery store or organic store.

Go Homemade

The DIY (Do It Yourself) trend is an effective way to unclog your trash cans. In concrete terms, it consists of making the majority of items yourself. You will quickly notice that this practice is much more economical. This concerns both food and everyday cleaning products.

Homemade meals give you real control over the ingredients used. In addition to being respectful of your health, home cooking will remedy food waste. To go further, don’t hesitate to concoct new recipes using leftovers from your dishes. This saves you from having to throw away edible food all the time. Household cleaning products can also be made at home. The required ingredients are easily accessible and purely organic. So consider making your own products such as:

  • The ecological window cleaner
  • An ecological homemade laundry liquid based on baking soda
  • Homemade dishwasher tablets
  • Solid dish soap
  • A homemade liniment for baby’s hygiene

It is also possible to make a reusable sponge like the tawashi for your dishes and cleaning various surfaces.

Compost organic waste

You free up 30% of your trash by opting to compost certain household waste. You can compost waste generated in the kitchen (fruit peelings, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc.). If you have a garden, avoid throwing away seedless weeds, twigs, wilted flowers or even dead leaves in the future. In cases where you do not have a composter at home, opt for collective composting. To do this, simply contact your municipality.

How to evaluate the results

To get an idea of the impact of changing consumption patterns, you can weigh your trash cans. Although it seems imperative, this approach gives you an overview of the exploits achieved so far. Otherwise, opt for an estimate in liters from your garbage bag. To do this, simply count the quantity of sachets used.

However, it seems obvious that the repercussions of this eco-responsible trend will be easily perceptible. Keep in mind that it is not easy to radically change consumption habits suddenly.

What are the reflexes to adopt

The transition to an eco-responsible life philosophy requires the adoption of certain simple and practical actions:

  • Always go out with your fabric bag for unplanned purchases
  • Focus on natural and local items
  • Put a “stop advertising” sign on your mailbox
  • Favor online invoices wherever possible
  • Reduce printing as much as possible

Integrating these reflexes into your routine will help you reduce the weight of your trash can.

To conclude, zero waste is a concept that turns out to be much less restrictive than one might imagine. It has significant benefits both for the planet and for the health of consumers. Finally, if you’re having trouble getting started, start gradually by tackling one piece first.

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