Zero waste is becoming an increasingly popular term. From social media to television and news articles, from shops to national chains – everyone is using it. In its earliest form, zero waste just referred to a production term. But after Zero Waste Queen Bea turned it into a lifestyle, things really took off. More and more people want to live a zero-waste lifestyle – but a lot of people don’t understand what it really means. Even fewer understand why going zero waste is important.
But, above all else, they don’t decide why going zero waste is important for them.
Before you tackle a zero-waste lifestyle (which really isn’t as hard as it sounds, but it does have its challenges), you need to decide WHY you’re making that change.
Reasons why going zero waste might be important to you:
Preserving our planet and environment.
Admittedly, this is usually the most common reason why people get into a zero waste lifestyle. Unfortunately, a lot of people think this is the only reason to get into the lifestyle – and that is utter hokum. Look, it’s no secret the earth is in trouble. Landfills are overflowing, our water systems are becoming polluted, animal species are becoming endangered and going extinct at an alarming rate. Our food and beauty products contain excessive amounts of toxic chemicals, which ends up right back in the food chain when we toss it out. If you’ve decided to go zero waste because of environmental reasons, make sure it’s something you’re committed to, or you’ll find it a lot more challenging than you thought.
Decrease Littering and beauty natural areas.
If you’re anything like me, you love going out into nature. Personally, I love the beach. Maybe you enjoy hiking, or trips to the wilderness. But how much fun is it when you’re building a sandcastle on the beach, and dig up a piece of ancient plastic garbage instead of a beautiful shell? Litter is affecting many natural areas – even the Kruger National Park is experiencing an increase in garbage that’s almost shocking.
Simplify your life.
Okay, lets be honest for a moment. More often than not, zero waste living sounds like a massive chore. But it’s really about simplifying your life. Say no to more things that generate trash and enjoy the simple things. Zero waste living can help you streamline your life, from grocery shopping [link to article], to cleaning your home. You can re-purpose everyday products like baking soda and vinegar to clean things up with (it’s scary effective!). Stop buying things you don’t need and enjoy getting creative with what you have.
Spend less money and sticking to budgets.
When you start paying attention to what you buy, you start paying attention to prices, too. On top of that, you start thinking very critically about whether or not you want to buy something, or if you can get along without it. Zero waste living means becoming a lot more aware of what you buy, and you’ll find you start buying things that can be used for more than one purpose. The bonus effect? You start saving money!
Eat and live a healthier lifestyle.
A lot of the time, zero waste living means buying fresh products whenever possible, and skipping foods that have a high carbon footprint. Because of that, you often find that zero waste living comes with a much healthier diet. You’ll also be reducing your exposure to toxic chemicals and artificial compounds when you spend less in grocery stores, and more at fresh produce markets.
Becoming more Self-Sufficient.
A friend of mine has a cousin who is a very firm believer in an apocalyptic future. Because of that, she and her fiancé decided to become as self-sufficient as possible. (Strange a reason as it might be, it’s served them well.) They grow most of their own food, from fruits and vegetables to spices. Her fiancé even grows his own tobacco. In a way, they’ve created their own way of living zero waste, because they produce almost everything, they consume themselves. I’m not saying that this is what everyone should do – but if self sufficiency is your reason for adopting a zero-waste lifestyle, then go for it!
The point is this: when you decide on a reason to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle, make sure that it’s something that’s important to you. It’s the only way you’ll ever be able to carry through.
What are your reasons for adopting a zero-waste lifestyle? Please share them with me, I’d love to hear your stories!
Until next time, stay Greenish!