Much like the sustainable and ethical trends (like for example cruelty-free & vegan, organic & natural & palm oil-free), this ethical movement is getting a lot of press. But what is zero waste in fact? And what zero waste people actually believe in?
The simple answer is this: send NOTHING to the landfill. Of course, the real answer is far more complex than that because it involves a redefinition of how we see our resources flow into waste and back again. The philosophy of zero waste is a lot less simple than plastic = bad. That’s why we’re in Naturaty want to use our Magazine to shine some light on the subject, and help you understand how zero waste goes beyond you opting to shop in bulk. So let’s talk about trash, and people try to eliminate it at the very source.
Zero Waste – a bit of history
Despite its recent trending status, this ethical movement it’s actually not a new concept. The phrase was actually coined by a California based company Zero Waste Systems Inc. and was founded by chemist Dr Paul Palmer back in the 1970s. And he started by taking laboratory chemicals that were going to be wasted and instead resold them to scientists and companies. Basically the idea was to not the chemicals go to waste so they came up with a solution to prevent it.
Even before that, zero waste happening. We just didn’t have a fancy term for it. In fact, zero waste is super unsexy. It’s depression-era living or just regular living up until the 1950s.
Looking to the future, we must understand there are two sides to of this ethical trend: the practical side (which deals more with our actions as individuals and consumers) and the conceptual side (which deals with systematic design and function). Much of this movemenet stuff we see in the press today deals with the practical side. The future of the planet, however, depends on the conceptual. Let’s look more at how they differ.
The 5 R’s of Zero Waste
Based on the EPA’s Hierarchy of Material Management, there is the 5 R’s, They are essentially the order in which to reduce waste. Think of them as plans A, B, C, D, and E. If you can’t do step one, move on to the next, and so forth:
Refuse what you don’t need (single-use plastic, plastic grocery bags, plastic razors, coffee cups etc.)
Reduce what you do need (stop buying new clothes, cut back on how often you do laundry, don’t always upgrade for the latest smartphone)
Reuse by either buying secondhand or repurposing things (go thrifting for clothes you actually need, donate instead of dumpster, repair rather than replace)
Recycle only that which can’t be eliminated by the former three
Rot what’s left (compost compost compost!)
In an ideal Zero Waste system, you can do this with everything indefinitely. Why is so important?
We are currently consuming 1.5 earths worth of resources each year and we have a day to mark it called Earth Overshoot Day. It’s the day that we’ve consumed all of the resources the earth can sustainably produce for the coming year.
Also, our Planet it’s getting hotter. The problem is becoming worse and worse, so that’s why we need to act now. Trying to live more sustainably doesn’t have to be rocket science. Just find a few things that work with your schedule.
Are you ready to start your sustainable journey?
If you really care about our Planet, you should know that one of Naturaty’s values that we are proud of, is that 100% of our products are cruelty-free and vegan. If you looking for items that will make your life more zero-waste and sustainable check our Naturaty Zero Waste Starter Box. They are also perfect as a vegan gift for all of those people who prefer quality over quantity, since “less is more”!