Zero waste: What is it? Why do it?

Zero waste refers to an economy that doesn’t exist. One where our rubbish doesn’t end up in landfill. One where we don’t create rubbish. One where we work with the earth instead of against it, to sustain it, to allow it to sustain us.

In Australia, about 41 million tonnes of rubbish is created each year. Thats nearly 2 tonnes per person! There are so many things wrong with this, but basically its hurting people, animals and the planet. The earth simply cannot keep up. The fact is, we are running out of resources from petrol to fresh water and there won’t be enough to sustain future generations.

The current production line looks like this:

linear-production-consumption-disposal-system
http://www.ecocycle.org/zerowaste

In a zero waste economy,  our products would be designed in a way that they don’t end up in the trash. The production line would become a cycle instead, where resources are reused   instead of further extraction from the environment.

This may all sound pretty far from the individual person but in reality its not. No, we can’t just change the way the world works, right in this moment. But over time, we can. And each and every one of us does actually make a huge difference.

14470801_10154186034039039_1371327795_n
Zero waste grocery shopping; fresh fruit and veggies in a reused cardboard box from the market and grains, nuts and seeds in reusable produce bags.

Think about how many takeaway coffee cups you’ve thrown in the bin this week… this month… this year. Or how many plastic bottles of water you’ve bought. (Don’t use those? Fine. Shampoo bottles then. Or milk cartons. Whatever!) Even if you’ve recycled every single one of them,  there’s a higher chance that they went into landfill than having been recycled. And if it did get recycled, chances are it was made into something that can no longer be recycled. Just by using a glass takeaway cup and water bottle, you would have made a huge reduction in the amount of rubbish that was put into the ground.

To me, zero waste means rethinking how we live and consume. From grocery shopping to eating out, buying clothes and all the rest. Trying to have a smaller impact on the environment, or a bigger but better one.


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