Zero waste may not be a new concept, but it is still admittedly one that we find difficult to fit into our daily routine, since most people are used to a lifestyle that is convenient, yet damaging. As the world population continues to expand annually, so does the amount of rubbish produced each year. While mountains of rubbish piling up are waiting to be disposed of, tons of garbage are being sent to the landfills, which are high in toxicity die to methane emission. New landfills are needed to temporarily store the extra rubbish. If we are not careful, there will be no more space for new landfills, and our personal space may have to be used to store our undisposed rubbish. To solve the problem, zero waste system is introduced.
Zero waste aims to send nothing to the landfill. To achieve the goal, we reduce what we need, reuse as much as we can, send little to be recycled and compost what we cannot recycle. Zero waste system mimics nature as there is no trash in nature. It redefines a linear system of taking resources from earth and burying them in the ground where all resources will resume fully back into the system instead of discarding them.
The system emphasises more on reducing and reusing because there is too much to be processed in recycling. Lessening our dependence on recycling is essential since recycling should be our last resort. Instead of trying to send some trash for recycling, we should restrain the source of trash by reducing what we use and reusing the used objects.
Reducing refers to decreasing what we purchase and consume to avoid unnecessary product design for specific use, which will result in the increment of trash produced. We have to differentiate what is essential for us and what is merely optional. For example, we do not require specific cleaning products for the floor, windows and bathroom. By buying only one cleaning product, we reduce the number of containers to be disposed of from three to only one and the container can actually be reused for enzymatic cleaners. As a result, we prevent more garbage production.
Next, reusing refers to reuse the used products for similar or different functions to prevent it from becoming trash. For instance, instead of throwing away the lecture notes, sell them to someone who need them.
The remaining unavoidable trash like leftover food can be turned into fertilizers or used to make enzymes for various functions. We then recycle the little remaining trash that we can recycle and dispose of the minimum amount of rubbish.
There is a major misconception of zero waste lifestyle. People always think that they may need to change their lifestyle dramatically to achieve it. However, it is a process that you just need to start somewhere in your life to reduce the waste produced such as using your own food containers and shopping bags. Everyone’s zero waste or less waste journey is different. Don’t compare yours with others and enjoy it.