Zero Waste (en)

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To find all my posts, click on „Zero Waste“ on the right side of this page!

Zero Waste is more than replacing plastic bags with cloth. The upper picture shows you a little outcut of my Zero Waste alternatives.

In the subsequent text I give an introduction about the thoughts and principles of Zero Waste.

  1. What is Zero Waste?

  2. Why should you do it?

  3. Zero Waste with system

1. What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste aims to avoid the production of waste in general. People who do Zero Waste avoid the waste of resources and use high quality and long living products.

In my interpretation, everybody can reduce his waste and consume consciously, even if a 100% of Zero Waste seems difficult at the beginning.

waste durchgestrichen

Even if it seems to be difficult in the beginning: It is possible to reduce your garbage so that you don’t need these anymore. Just start!

It is way easier than you think, if you take defined your time, analyze your waste and just start reducing in a realm that seems easy and has a high impact. I myself started ditching throwaway milk packaging and replacing it with glass deposit bottles.

In the last few years, our industrialized world made huge technological progresses. More people live on earth, the GDP grows steadily and economic experts tell us about infinite growth.

Obviously our waste grows, too. However, in Europe, where people produced more and more waste in the past times, the produced amount of waste has sunk slightly over the last few years: In the EU-28-average we developed from 504 kg of waste (2010)  per person and year to 476 kg (2015)[1]. I believe we can do much more to drop lower this number!

2.Why Zero Waste?

“No need to reduce, they separate and recycle all the waste anyway!”, people often tell me, when I talk about Zero Waste. It’s an interesting good question: Why should you reduce your waste?

Regardless, which kind of waste you produce: It all needs resources. Waste has once been produced, packed, transported, sent by post and sold. Behind all these processes there is an enormous use of electric energy, carbon dioxide, natural resources and water.

With Zero Waste you break through this circle of resource waste. You refuse everyday waste like plastic packaging and you curtail the production of rarely incurring waste like clothes, furniture, etc. With new habits, you save resources and help the environment  in a simply, effective and aesthetic way.

A lot of people I told about Zero Waste, said:”Well, nice that you do this. But it is too difficult for me, I can’t do that.” I don’t say that for you it is as easy as for anyone else. Maybe the refill stores in your area are far away from your home. Maybe you are busy with your job or your children. (We all are.)

I think it is the best to simply start the concept than to think about whether it is possible or impossible. You can even have an impact if you turn one proposal into reality today. That’s worth it!

Also see: Top 10 advantages of Zero Waste for you (Part I and Part II).

3.Zero Waste with System

„Plastik, Dosen, Glas und Gift

Weils oft nicht zu vermeiden ist

Auch Altpapier und Biomüll

Wir kennen, benennen, wir trennen unsern Müll.“[2]

 

„Plastic, cans, glass and poison,

because often we can not avoid it.

waste paper and organic waste too,

we know, appoint, we separate our waste.“

Well, in english it’s not a rhyme, but I think the sense is clear: It is all about recycling.

This song suggests children that waste is a necessity and separating it for the recycling the solution. Well, Zero Waste shows you a wider sight on the right handling of waste.

Here I show you the 5 steps model from Bea Johnson, a great Zero Waster who has written her own book about Zero Waste Lifestyle.[3]

Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle – Rot

Unlike the song which focuses purely on recycling and separation of waste, Zero Waste starts with refuse. Firstly, you try to refuse waste. The things you can’t refuse: Reduce it! And so on.

No matter what you think about, always remember the order of the 5 steps. That’s why I took this song as an example. In the song text it sounds like it isn’t possible to reduce waste. In fact, there are many possibilities! Discover them and click on the category „Zero Waste“ on the right side (Smartphone: below) to read more related articles!

 

Sources:

[1] http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui/submitViewTableAction.do

[2]  Kern, Kern, Maierhofer (2005). Sim-Sala-Sing. S.32

[3] Johnson, Bea (2013). Zero Waste Home.