The zero-waste lifestyle
By now, each of us has an idea of zero-waste and we have already talked about the topic a few times on this blog. Nevertheless, today I would like to go into more detail about what the zero-waste lifestyle is and what it is based on.
What exactly is zero waste?
Zero-waste means living without creating waste. Realistically speaking, that's not possible at all. When we breathe, when we live, garbage and waste are created. We would only be able to get by without waste if we didn't live at all.
Therefore, the “zero” in zero-waste should be understood as a kind of ideal state, as a goal that we want to work towards.
Admittedly, the term “zero-waste” may not be entirely optimal. He seems intimidating and so incredibly huge and unreachable. There are therefore many on the Internet who move away from this term...
With the zero-waste lifestyle, we are supposed to imitate nature to a certain extent, which produces “waste” in a cycle and converts it back into something useful. So we should take responsibility again for what we send out into the world.
The actual goals of a zero-waste lifestyle are not to produce not one gram of waste, but rather:
- To reduce waste and, if possible, avoid creating it
- To use what we have for as long and sensibly as possible
- And so we can appreciate our owners and our possessions more again
Why something has to change
Following these principles can be hard. We live in a throwaway society in which no value is placed on the natural cycle. Products are created from valuable raw materials and materials, only to be used an average of five times. After these few times of use, the products end up in a kind of hole in the ground to remain there for eternity. As a society, we assume that we have infinite resources at our disposal. And that's exactly where the crux of the matter lies: we don't have infinite resources. Every year there is a “World Depletion Day”.
This is the day of the current year when human demand for renewable resources exceeds the Earth's supply and capacity to reproduce those resources that year.
And we reach this day a little earlier every year: in 2008 it was September 23rd, but in 2018 it was August 1st. This can't continue like this in the long run...
A German produces 0.6 kg of packaging waste per day. That's 220 kg per person per year... This puts us in the top spot in Europe. Although the Americans are significantly worse at 2 kg per day, I think it is clear what dimensions we are talking about here.
Out of sight, out of mind...
Bought, opened, threw away. The packaging materials often disappear from our sight in seconds. We focus on what's in the packaging and often don't realize how much the packaging itself can make a difference.
Then the garbage collection comes once a week and, hey presto, we no longer have anything to do with all the garbage.
So we never really have to deal with our consumption.
But the zero-waste lifestyle is far too...
Some people complain that the zero-waste lifestyle is far too restrictive. It would also not cover enough areas and would not include issues such as climate change, environmental racism or the ecological footprint.
The thing is that all of these issues are interconnected. If climate change wasn't an issue, the zero-waste movement probably wouldn't exist to this extent. All of these topics are closely intertwined and partly depend on each other. A lifestyle in which you want to produce as little waste as possible actually includes many of these things!
As already described at the beginning, the term “zero-waste” is perhaps a bit too idealistic. Even if the goal behind the term can never really be achieved, the term still represents a goal that can at least be worked towards .
“Nobody will ever be able to live completely without waste,” argue critics. That may be true, but that is no reason not to pay attention to accumulating and creating less waste.
The zero-waste lifestyle is not about perfection. It's about making better decisions. We are all human. We all do our best and that's okay. It is clear that you cannot live from now on without producing a lot of waste. That takes time and also strength. Nevertheless, every beginning is just a beginning.
Strictly speaking, with the zero-waste principle we want to fundamentally change our consumer behavior: recognize the value of our belongings. Focusing on life itself instead of collecting junk that we don't actually need.
The 5 R's of the zero-waste lifestyle offer a very clear approach. In this one In this blog post I'll go into more detail about each of the 5 R's. There you will learn how you can use them to make good decisions. Because as a consumer you have more power than you initially think - it starts with us.
If you would like to find out more about the topics of sustainability, mindfulness or healthy eating, take a look here over.