This month was declared „plastic-free July“ and is the reason why I am now publishing this article. Plastic-free July is for many people the beginning of a life with less waste and can lead them to Zero Waste Lifestyle!
In this context, more and more people are hearing about Zero Waste. For many, the term is completely new, and some who have never thought about it are wondering why it works and if it really makes sense for them to live this way. Then usually think it is so complicated to live Zero Waste and way too expensive!
This article disproves all the disadvantages you have heard about Zero Waste so far: Zero Waste is changing life fundamentally, that’s a fact. But that does not mean that everything is getting more complicated. On the contrary, Zero Waste brings you many personal advantages. Here are my top 10.
What does this article do for me?
If you are already Zero Waster, you can use arguments from this article to show other people the benefits of Zero Waste.
Those who are not yet Zero Waster can see these arguments as motivation to reduce waste in their own lives.
Important for the understanding of this article is the definition of Zero Waste: You find my self-formulated short definition here, on the webpage of Zero Waste World you find a more elaborated definition.
And here they are, the first five points of my top 10:
1.Zero Waste can improve your shape
Through Zero Waste you go to supermarkets less often – there’s not much you can buy. As a result, you live without many sweets, convenience products and snacks. Many people are losing quite a few kilos, especially in the transition phase to Zero Waste!
I used to spend about an hour shopping at the supermarket at the weekend in my pre-Zero Waste time! Now I use a part of my free time to go to the organic shop or on the market. It is also quite stressful to get a parking space at the market in the city centre or in front of the small food store. Therefore, a Zero Waster often uses the bicycle, public transport. This gives a nice plus on the fitness account – and protects the environment even more.
You will also gain more time for sports activities by mucking-out and avoiding consumption. Instead of buying clothes on Saturdays, I much rather go swimming or stand-up paddling at the lake!
Zero Waste makes you noticeably fitter and through sport that you do in your free time you can gain even more advantages.
2.Zero Waste makes you eat healthier
I used to love plastic-packed, sweet rolls, chocolate biscuits with milk cream and ready-made pizza. When I started with Zero Waste, I had to think of alternatives. It was no problem, because especially in the unpacked shop, on the market and in small speciality shops you discover many new foods. For example, lentils, amaranth or sweet lupines from the non-packaging shop. I also found many new (old) fruits and vegetables of regional origin, certified with organic seals. These foods give you everything you need in a balanced mix. At the beginning you can try yourself through many new foods, but in the unpacked shop and on the market this is a pleasure anyway: Because you decide for yourself how much you buy and no longer have to stick to package sizes J
Thus you live without many saturated fats, sugar, food additives and since meat and sausages are very often pre-packaged (or not available in unpackaged, organic quality), you also reduce your consumption of animal products. This enriches your diet with vegetable protein, vegetables, fruit and healthy fats and contributes to a balanced, more fitness-oriented and simply tasty diet.
In addition, through consistent zero waste you stick to the meal times and avoid snacks in between – more effective than any “summer body diet”! Last month I was at the Spring Festival. I had already eaten, but just passed a stand with pancakes and so my appetite came up. But I didn’t have any plates or cloth napkins with me, so I didn’t eat.
P.S.: If you don’t cook yourself and eat „to go“ or out of town, you still have the possibility to eat food like doner kebab, pizza or cake zero waste. Zero Waste should not be seen as a guarantor or obligation for a healthy diet, but it is clearly a support for it.
3. Zero Waste supports you to save money through efficient consumption
This is one of the most important advantages of Zero Waste for many people. Properly implemented, you can manage your entire consumer life much more efficiently and thus save money.
You can easily make many dishes (e.g. mustard) and even cleaning agents yourself and save not only packaging, but also a lot of money. Why should one actually buy the special cleaner with microplastic when it is also possible to use homemade vinegar cleaner?
I notice that I go shopping much less often, because unpackaged shops are a bit far away in my rural region. It saves me money because I simply cannot go shopping. We know the situation: You only want to buy a few lemons in the supermarket and then you stand at the cash desk with a basket full of things that you didn’t really want to buy. With Zero Waste, this cannot happen any more!
By consuming less senselessly and buying only selected clothes, furniture, etc., you save even more money.
„But the goods in the non-packaging store cost much more, don’t they?“, people who doubt the financial benefits of Zero Waste often ask me this question. In my experience, unpackaged shops are often not much more expensive than the „normal products“ in the supermarket. But at the market the vegetables often really cost more than in the supermarket.
However, Zero Wasters also wants to minimize food waste in the household. In other words, we should handle our food consciously, cook according to the number of portions and only buy what we need. And exactly this leads to a huge savings potential: Because the average Austrian throws away an incredible 40kg of food per year. Every average Austrian household that does without food waste can save 300-400€ per year!
Those who do “dumpster diving” also indirectly operate zero waste, as they save food that would otherwise have been illegitimately thrown away. Besides, containering really save a lot of money. On average I save 15€ worth of food per trip and if I take a lot of exotic products with me, 30€. Just try it out, no matter how much or little money you have available. I can only recommend it!
=> Zero Waste is an economical and efficient lifestyle!
4.You don’t have to read ingredient lists to know what’s in your food and cleaners
Zero Waster buy more „pure“ products, which consist only of one ingredient and still have to be cooked. Because most of the things you get in an unpackaged store are „real“ food. So you do not have to read ingredient lists printed too small anymore!
In most cases, you can even drink homemade cleaners without them harming you. The recipes for cleaning agents usually contain simple, inexpensive ingredients and you can make them quickly and safely yourself. For different recipes I can only recommend the website „Smarticular“ (German page, also available as a book).
You will be amazed how quickly and easily you can make even some kinds of cosmetics with simple ingredients. Especially basics like lip balm can be easily produced and varied with a few ingredients (beeswax or carnuba wax + olive oil+honey).
So you always know what your products contain and enjoy the associated transparency and freedom!
5.You eat more pleasurably
Non-packaged shops usually sell organically grown products. As mentioned above, these are not always the cheapest products. But you know that you are doing several good things for the environment. Organic farmers are richer in microorganisms, animals and are better integrated into a natural agriculture. You can taste it – especially when eating tomatoes, peaches and animal products.
You also appreciate food more if you have invested a little more time and/or money. Since then, I no longer eat standing down or sit in front of a television set, but consciously enjoy eating.
Slower chewing and eating, real tasting of food and conscious enjoyment will also fill you up faster, which has a positive effect on fitness and eating behaviour.
These were the first 5 advantages, the next 5 are waiting for you in the following article! You find it here in one week, I promise 🙂
1] This also saves microplastics, which are caused by tire abrasion and are one of the major, unknown causes of microplastics.