Why We Need To Go Zero Waste

We need to go zero waste and focus on sustainable, reusable, environmentally friendly products – before it is too late. It’s no secret that the earth is in trouble. Landfills are overflowing, our water systems are polluted, animal species are endangered and going extinct at an alarming rate, and we are finding toxic chemicals in our food and beauty products.

Modern humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, yet in the last 150 years alone, we have driven greenhouse gases to unnatural levels and we are, quite simply, destroying the planet. In the past 40 years, our population has doubled, and it continues to grow. We’re all dependent upon a limited number of natural resources for survival. And we’re rapidly burning through these resources. .

Every single time that we extract materials to produce, consume and dispose of everything that we use in our every day lives, we create a lot of greenhouse gases and we burn resources such as fossil fuels, water and energy.

We extract natural resources like trees, precious metals, and petroleum, and we manufacture them, often through polluting, toxic, and wasteful practices. We turn them into products that are designed primarily for convenience. We distribute these products to communities, often shipping them very long distances. And after we all buy and use these products, we throw them away where they end up in landfill or in a recycling system which uses more resources.

Take a plastic takeaway fork as an example. This fork is made of petroleum pumped from the ground, shipped across the world, manufactured into the shape of a fork, and shipped back across the world to us. We use it for 30 minutes, then dispose of it where it exists on this planet in some shape or form, forever.

This sums up why we need to strive towards a more zero waste society. Reusable products have to be the focus of our efforts.  If we use less wasteful products, we prevent litter from spoiling nature’s beauty. We use less valuable resources. We create less greenhouse gases that are causing global warming. 

Building a zero waste community is bigger than just changing individual behavior, and it’s bigger than just recycling or composting. Zero Waste addresses the entire social system of how we make, consume and dispose of our “stuff.”

While we wait for fundamental changes to occur within our society, we can make small changes every day to help.

Here are 5 things you can do to strive for a more zero waste lifestyle:

1. Compost

Get a composting system for your home and ensure no food waste goes in your garbage bin. Methane from landfills traps 84 times more heat in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide in the short term. Significantly reducing methane by keeping organics out of the landfill doesn’t just mitigate methane—it prevents methane emissions and has immediate climate benefits.

2. Recycle

Ensure that you always recycle what you can – electronics, clothes, batteries, containers, packaging, furniture. Send nothing to landfill. New products can be made out of pretty much any material! And curbside recycling can reduce more greenhouse gases per dollar spent than energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

3. Say no to single-use

Don’t accept single-use objects – especially single-use plastics. For example do not use throwaway straws, bags, containers, cutlery, and cups. When you order something, take your own container or be clear that you do not want them to include these items with your order.

4. Choose the sustainable option

Where possible, seek out the sustainable option. For example, buying from companies that use recycled paper or bamboo to create toilet paper rather than not is helping in some way. Do your research and do not buy from unethical companies who are exploiting the Earth’s resources for their gain.

5. Reuse

Stock up on your own reusable products. Take them with you everywhere you go and you will see your volume of single-use waste drop drastically.