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What is zero waste?

In short, zero waste is all about being a responsible and informed consumer.

In not-so-short:

The movement itself is targeting the producers, the political and the community's responsibility. So the goal is to push our economy to stop filling the lands, incinerators and oceans with waste and to adopt a better way of producing (no modern slavery or dirty practices).

"Zero wasters" have 8 basic principles:
refuse everything you don't need,
reduce the things you need,
reuse and borrow as much as possible,
repair if it breaks and can be repaired,
rehome what you no longer need,
recycle everything else,
replant the seeds you save and the herbs you get
rot by feeding the worms or letting it compost.

But practically, as individuals, what does zero-waste imply?

Every time we buy something, we should ask ourselves:

  • Who made this?
  • Where was it shipped from?
  • Why is it cheap?
  • Is it toxic somehow? To me, to the ground, to the fish?
  • How many resources of the Earth were used? Were those renewable?
  • Is this replacing something I already own?
  • Will it be easy to maintain?
  • How long will it last? Can I repair it eventually?
  • How will I dispose of this when it's done?
  • Is there another longer-term solution?
  • Can I borrow it from someone instead?
  • Does this bring me longer-term happiness?
  • Do I actually need this? Is it worth it?

 

 

WOAH! There are too many questions to remember! But the purpose actually is just to analyze the product's past and future and our interaction with it to understand if the Earth's resources spent to produce it are really worth it.

So automatically we stop buying things like:

  • Everything that's disposable (all the food packed in plastic, water bottles, most of the commercial personal care stuff and most of the household products).
  • Most of the liquid products
  • Most of the clothes brands (see the fast fashion article)
  • Not-so-local fruits and veggies
  • Useless birthday gifts
  • And so on...

These changes look huge, but actually, it's a one baby step at the time journey. Replacing the things around us once at a time, when they're done, finding a sustainable substitute.

 

So to wrap things up... zero waste is about our purchasing decisions.

 

Foto: Unsplash

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