What It Means to Go 'Zero-Waste'

You might be wondering: is it really possible to generate ZERO waste at all? Can we really live a life wherein absolutely NO WASTE is created?

That’s the ultimate goal, but it’s not something that happens overnight. When beginning to go zero waste, we have to understand that it could take an individual months or even years before they see a significant change in the amount of waste they generate.

The reality is that there will always be something to be disposed of. The process to reach the goal of reducing waste generation to as close to nothing as possible may not be simple, and so the Zero Waste Movement promotes actions such as:
  1. Encouraging wise decision-making when it comes to buying things (refusing what’s not a necessity)
  2. Putting a limit to how much of something is used
  3. Disposing waste properly and treating it as a resource that should be conserved, and;
  4. Normalizing sustainable living for individuals and businesses alike.

The Office of Sustainability at the University of Alberta defines sustainability as “meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Simply put, the “sustainable living” advocacy aims to encourage a lifestyle that minimizes the use of the Earth’s resources in order to allow these resources to replenish themselves and be able to last long. The Earth’s resources are limited, after all.

There’s no doubt that big businesses and corporations have to take responsibility for their large carbon footprint and that they have the most impact on the environment, both the positive and the negative, but individual action has its own power and influence in society. Individual efforts may be small in comparison, but it’s going to be extremely beneficial for everyone in the long run!

One way to make these individual efforts to influence environmental change is to learn and practice proper waste management within our own households! Practice segregation at home and take note of what you could buy less in order to lessen what gets wasted or thrown away. And knowing what kinds of wastes can be found in your household can help you find the right place to dispose of them (which we will tackle in future articles!)

Familiarize yourself more with the concept of sustainability and why a sustainable life is a great goal to try to achieve! Click here for a more in-depth read on sustainability.

Featured image by Laura Mitulla

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