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Have you ever thought about how much zero waste can help the planet? Does it even matter to you?
Well, did you know that a some 20 million tonnes of waste ends up in landfills every year. That’s right! 20 Million! Close to an average of 1.5 tonnes per person. That number represents a whopping 40% of all waste produced. That’s a shit load of waste.
As we cram our landfills with waste, we continue to put a strain on the planet and its resources which is not sustainable in the long run.
If we want to help and do our bit to save the planet, then we need to start thinking zero waste. We need to start doing more in terms of recycling, reusing and re-purposing what we throw out as waste.
Like they say, one man’s trash is another mans treasure. Now you might think that it’s all waste and rubbish but when it’s comes to helping the environment we need to starting looking at waste differently.
First of all and most importantly, we need to adopt the mindset of zero waste. Ok, well, what the hell is zero waste?
Zero waste is a philosophy, a mindset that encourages the redesign or resource life cycle with the goal of no waste being sent to landfills or incinerators. It’s a holistic approach to waste and resource management. A process takes into account the waste management hierarchy, which indicates an order of preference for action to reduce and manage waste.
So adopting the philosophy of zero waste, the first thing to do is to step back and assess your current situation, what you’re buying, consuming or producing that would usually be considered as waste. We need to start with prevention by refusing to to be apart of excess waste production.
20 million tonnes of waste ends up in landfills every year.
Step 1. Refuse. Stop buying things that can and will produce excess waste.
The biggest culprit here is plastic bags. According to cleanup.org 5 billion plastic bags are handed out each year with less than 4 % being recycled. Hold on, that’s bloody huge! That means all these plastic, non-biodegradable bags end up at landfills or worse, in our oceans. That’s horrible, and not sustainable for the planet. If we continue this way, there will be no planet left. Do your bit and support Cleanup.org’s BAN THE BAG campaign by visiting their website here.
Refusing is also about not taking home excess packaging like card box boxes. Yeah, I know it’s recyclable, but why add to the problem in the first place, it’s better to buy in bulk to avoid bringing home excess waste.
So next time you’re out shopping, think twice about what you’re buying and whether it will contribute the problem or whether you are down with the zero waste philosophy.
Step 2. Recycle everything.
Almost everyone in Australia knows about recycling waste. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know. Australia does a good job promoting recycling with councils providing recycling bins, which includes a bin for green waste and one for paper, cardboard and plastics.
Also, in nearly all public spaces, like council parks, train stations and shopping centres, you’ll find bins for recycling.
I know it’s sometimes easier just to bag everything and throw it in as general rubbish but that’s just lazy. If you care about the environment and sustainability, then you need make the effort to separate and organise your waste.
Recycling waste includes composting of green waste as well. Now you could throw all your green waste and perishables straight in the green waste bins for collection but a better idea is space permits, is to create your own compost heap at home.
Step 3. Reuse
It can get confusing between reusing and re purposing but when it comes to zero waste, reusing is about re using something again. For example, eco-friendly shopping bags can be re-used over and over again, you know the hessian bags or hemp bags, reusable over and over again, reducing waste.
Some glass water bottles can be re-used over and over again, like the one’s they serve in cafes and restaurants.
Step 4. Re-purpose
Re purposing waste is taking a product and finding a practical purpose and use for it elsewhere. For example, we always re purpose our glass containers and jars, they are so handy for anything and everything. From cookie jars to swear jars, from herb jars to multipurpose collection jars.
Old clothing can be donated to charity or re purposed for rags. There is so much you can re purpose today, you just need get creative and have some fun.
Remember, Zero waste starts with refusing, reusing, recycling, re purposing and there’s also up cycling, where you take waste, re purpose it to add value to something but more about that in another blog.
So there you have it, 4 steps to get your place or home to zero waste and do your bit for the environment and the planet.
What items do you recycle, re-use, or re purpose? How far on your way are you with zero waste?
Share you comments below.