You might think nothing of it throughout the day, but the amount of waste that we accumulate as we go through our lives is astonishing. It’s believed that as a country we produced around 254 million tons of trash in 2013, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and there’s no doubt that the number has climbed since.
Waste can be found in almost everything we do, whether it’s the packaging that holds our cosmetics, the small plastic pods our coffee comes in, or the countless wrappers from foods that eat.
When you add up how much you eat a day, week, month, or year, the amount might surprise you. Not only is this waste bad for our bank accounts but it’s extremely damaging to the environment, leading to the creation of the zero waste policy.
Although this concept isn’t owned by any one person, one woman from California, Bea Johnson, is leading the revolution with her Zero Waste Home book and policy. There are now thousands of Americans and people all over the world who are making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of waste their home products, and eventually get that number to zero.
Making the commitment to turn your home into a zero waste one might sound like a lot of effort, but it’s actually simple to do when you follow the key principles. Here is what you should be aiming to do in order to reduce your waste and hit the target of one day being a waste-free home.
Most of our waste problems begin here when we take a plastic straw, carry bag, cardboard drink holder, and plastic packing on fruits and vegetables. Make an effort to buy in bulk and save on packaging, use your own bags and containers, and refuse anything that might be a waste.
Reduce the amount of waste you produce by cooking only what you need, never purchasing too many ingredients or groceries that will eventually go off, and reduce the number of products you use around the home.
Where possible, reuse old containers, boxes, and other items for their intended purpose or as another item around the house.
Anything that is able to be recycled and can’t be reused should be sorted as required, and the use of a simple recycling bin can be the simplest way to do this.
Making the conscious effort to reduce the amount of waste your home produces can have so many benefits, so it’s certainly worthwhile to put into practice. Here are a few ways you, and the environment, can benefit from following the zero waste way of thinking.
With less reliance on the production of these harmful products, you’re helping to reduce pollution levels and clearing the air and waterways from toxins.
Studies have shown that producing less waste creates ten times more jobs than disposal, so you’re helping out the entire country.
Learning how to shop in bulk and only buy what you need means you can live on a very small budget without any food or resources being wasted.
Following these principles in a family means you’re teaching your children the importance of living waste free so that they can continue to live this way in the future.
If you’re interested in joining the zero waste home revolution, there’s no need to completely change your way of living overnight. Here are some easy tips to help you get started and show you just how simple it is to reduce your waste.
Use natural fibers for home products including hemp and cotton so that even when they’re no longer usable you know they will eventually disintegrate without harm.
Minimize the furniture in your home to the essentials and reduce the number of horizontal items you have. When there’s less horizontal space in your home to store items, you’re less likely to continue buying things.
Keep the cleaning products and items you use down to just a select few, and develop a cleaning routine that allows you to do the most effective clean with minimal items.
Nowadays, you can buy most of your groceries, condiments, meat, and beauty products in bulk. Where possible, use glass containers to take the products home if you’re able to find a store that allows you to do so.
Rather than throwing away clothing when it no longer fits or gets a tear in it, you should learn to mend or tailor it so that you can get more use out of it. Otherwise, consider donating clothing that doesn’t fit anyone in the family.
Use cloth shopping bags rather than the paper or plastic offered to your at the supermarket as this is one of the biggest producers of waste around the world.
As we put more of a focus on the damage that we’re doing to the environment and become more mindful of how much we waste as individuals, there’s never been a better time for the zero waste policy to become a popular one.
There are no rules that state you need to have a no waste home overnight, as just starting to take notice of how your family products waste is all you have to do at first. After no time at all you’ll feel great about the change you’ve made for the planet, and hopefully your changes will influence those around you.