It goes hand in hand: Is the zero-waste lifestyle necessarily sustainable?

September 11, 2019
Photo by Laura Mitulla on Unsplash

What is zero-waste?

Zero-waste is a lifestyle solution to one of the major problems in the world: massive waste that pollutes and destroys the environment. The goal is to create zero or next to absolutely no waste within the household and at the personal level. This means consumption without anything extra to throw away⁠—no plastic bottles, food packaging, or any disposable packaging at all. Recycling has to be kept to a minimum as well. Primarily, the idea is that nothing should be sent to the landfill.

Energy consumption

Although the zero-waste lifestyle helps the environment in many ways, day-to-day activities should also be kept in check. These include driving, using air conditioning units and refrigerators, going on flights, and anything else that burns huge amounts of carbon. Transporting and traveling to places that offer zero-waste-friendly commodities may still have a negative impact, especially since most of these commodities are not as readily available as commercial goods. Everyone uses up energy in varying degrees. Luckily, there are online tools that you may use to calculate your carbon footprint. Keep your carbon footprint in check, you might be responsible for a lot of greenhouse emissions in spite of your zero-waste lifestyle.

Responsibly grown food

It’s best to grow food on your own when you’re living the zero-waste lifestyle. That means no travel and transportation, and fewer greenhouse emissions in effect. However, not all of us have the capacity or the home environment to grow food. When you purchase food, look into the following: Where the food was grown, and how it was grown. Try to go as local as possible when getting food. That means less carbon footprint and fresher food! Ensure that the food is grown responsibly and ethically, and don’t just rely on Organic Certifications. Most local farmers and small farms can’t afford certification but still grow their food responsibly, and some multinational corporations can easily acquire certification so be extra careful. Communicate with local farmers and ask how they grow their food, you would be helping the world out and helping small businesses too!

Environmental toxins

Be mindful of the things you buy and the things you put in your house. Non-stick pans, for instance, contain PFCs that contribute to massive environmental degradation. Chemical pollutants may build up from wall paint, carpets, and other furnishings. As much as possible, choose items that have the lowest amount of environmental toxins. This may take a lot of work but a little bit of research won’t hurt. Most zero-waste advocates promote the use of natural items for the house such as natural loofah sponges, glass storage containers, and other non-plastic consumer items.

All in all, the zero-waste lifestyle is not the only solution. Keep the rest of your consumption in check, keep toxins to a minimum, and try to burn as little carbon as possible. It’s okay to not do it perfectly at first, but keep going for the goal!


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