‘Zero Waste’ is a philosophy which encourages a lifestyle where all materials are reused or redesigned in some way.
The end goal is that no waste ends up in landfill or at the incinerator. Under the zero waste movement, even recycling should be limited, as it focuses on restructuring production and distribution systems to reduce waste in the first place. Clearly, most households are some distance away from this reality. There is no doubt that it is ethical, economical and visionary but it also may involve making extensive changes.
So, is it realistic to adopt the zero waste lifestyle? And where do you start?
If you are living alone, it is slightly easier to go zero waste than when living with a family. When alone, you can easily control what comes in your house, making sure to limit the waste as much as possible while promoting a sustainable lifestyle. But, when living with family, you have others to consider and you simply don’t have as much control.
However, making your living space more environment-friendly and consuming more consciously is not that difficult.
Here’s how you can take little steps that lead to a sustainable living space whether you live alone or with others.
It’s predicted that by 2021, annual consumption of plastic bottles could be around half a trillion. This is good enough reason to recycle or better yet, just buy yourself a reusable water bottle. Many individuals, especially those whom are quite active, have a habit of buying water bottles each time they step out. Yes, water bottles are recyclable but why constantly have a need to spend money on plastic bottles when you can easily buy a durable bottle that will last for years. This way, you can reduce the need to buy water bottles, save money and reduce waste.
- Be a smart shopper
When going shopping, most of us have a bad habit of acquiring things we don’t really need. Whether they are on sale or just look “cool” in the shop, we just need to buy it. There are two ways to be a smarter shopper; buying less and buying only what you need. When you buy less, you automatically reduce the amount of waste. You need to buy what you need and not go overboard with it. This means buying just enough food, clothes, and other supplies for yourself and family. It’s really simple to control your buying habits with food, go for groceries once a week and get just enough supplies that will last for that time.
Rather than throwing away or storing clothes and other unused items that can easily be used by others, you can donate them. Even ripped or stained clothes can be donated to charity shops, who can sell them on as ‘rags’. This allows you to free up space in your home while producing no waste what so ever. Plus, you instill compassion yourself and your family this way by helping others in need.
- Use LEDs
Knowing how everyone tends to be conscious about saving energy today, chances are you have already switched from light bulbs to LED lights. If you haven’t, you should consider switching all your light bulbs to LEDs. There are many benefits of using LEDs such as reduced energy use, it’s 85% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, it lasts longer. Their biggest disadvantage is the price. The initial outlay is a bit more expensive but it’s an investment that will pay off in a long run. Also, there are ways to manage moderate the financial outlay – here are 5 cost effective ways to convert florescents to LED.
- Go Solar
Now, this particular step requires more investment but in the long run, it ends up saving you quite a lot of money. Solar powered homes are becoming more and more common as the technology is becoming more accessible for individuals use. You do need to make sure the solar panels and the system are maintained properly.
If you have old electronic items rather than storing or throwing them, recycle them. You are probably well aware that you can’t just throw them out in your regular trash. Not only that, you shouldn’t even think of old electronics as trash. There are numerous different ways you can recycle your electronic devices be it a phone or a TV. The most popular way to recycle it is selling it for cash to companies who will either use them, resell them or recycle.
- Become a minimalist
You don’t have to go overboard with minimising everything that you use but you should stop hoarding things especially those that take a lot of space at home and are useful for only one thing – collecting dust. This is especially the case with furniture and other decoration items. You want to keep just enough that it makes your living space attractive and not overdo it. This also gives you more space to move around the home without it being cluttered.
Store bought cleaning supplies have numerous dangerous chemicals while also produce a lot of waste. Why use them, when you can easily make your own cleaning supply? All you need is baking soda and white vinegar, mix them together and you can clean the toughest of stains on tiles or smudges on windows. This a very good and natural alternative.
- Reduce paper waste
Going digital is a wonderful way to reduce the use of paper and the waste. Rather than letters, send e-mails. You no longer need a notepad to take notes, you can easily do it on your phone and if you need to leave it for someone, just text them.
- Use appliances that are Energy Star certified
You want to make sure that the appliances and electronic devices you use are certified by energy star. This ensures that the devices don’t over consume energy and are certified to last longer while also provide safety from fire to users.
Making your home environment-friendly isn’t science fiction.
You just need to take simple steps and get yourself into a habit to live more sustainable.
The process will not only end up saving you money but also make your lifestyle more meaningful.
Thank you to Abigail Smith from Compare & Recycle, a mobile phone recycling comparison site that provides visitors with the best deal for their old phones and gadgets, for providing this guest blog.