Zero Waste Living and Mitigating Plastic Crisis
A zero waste initiative diverts (reuses, recycles, upcycles and composts) 90% or more of all waste produced. Another aim is to reduce consumption and only use what we need. We can create a circular economy where products are reused rather than discarded (WWF, 2021).
Up to 1 trillion plastic bags are used yearly worldwide. Plastic pollutants have been found in the stomachs of threatened species like turtles, seals, whales and seabirds. The amount of energy to make only 12 plastic bags is equal to driving a car for one mile. Governments are placing fees and limitations on plastic bags. Cities like San Francisco, Seattle, Boston have taken strides to eliminate plastic bags (WWF, 2021).
What can we do to start zero waste living?
- Reuse: Swap disposables for reusables. Bring reusable totes, cloth bags to the supermarket.
- Recycle: Buy primarily in bulk or secondhand, but if you must buy new, choose glass, metal, or cardboard. Try to avoid plastic.
- Upcycle: Upcycling ideas are only limited by your imagination. Just about any material can be transformed into something else.
- Compost: Find a compost system that works for your home and get to know what it will digest (dryer lint, hair, and nails are all compostable).