What exactly is zero-waste living, and is it actually realistic or feasible?
When I first heard about the zero-waste lifestyle, I thought “Oh, okay. They’re basically just doing what Izzy has been doing for years.”
My sister and best friend, Isabelle or “Izzy,” has always been a particularly earth-conscious person and has modestly practiced “mindful living” since a young age. Izzy started by collecting all recyclable waste that our family produced, sorting them, and having our dad take her to the recycling center down the street. She’s been known to also collect cans and bottles in her car—even if it looked crazy—and give them to whoever she saw foraging through the trash at gas stations.
She’s gotten my whole family to consider the things we purchase and use, like plastic utensils and produce packaged in plastic. Our initial motivations were less noble—we didn’t want her to feel like her efforts were negated by our indifference—but we’ve had time to come to our senses.
All of this is a long way to say that, if it had not been for my sister, hearing about zero-waste living would probably sound absurd to me. The name alone can lead one to think that the lifestyle errs on the side of extremism. But that’s not the case.
However, once you look at the figures, it’s hard to want to indulge in activities that produce a lot of waste. In 2017, the total amount of municipal solid waste generated (MSG) reached 267.8 million tons, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These figures are hard to conceive at such a catastrophic amount, but trash doesn’t disappear into thin air, and if it does…well, that has its consequences, too.
Zero waste is meant to instill some mindfulness into the way you’re shopping and how you’re flexing your purchasing power. It’s meant to act as a mental regulator so that we, as inhabitants of this beautiful earth, can choose to be responsible consumers who buy with intention and to hold ourselves accountable.
“Zero” itself is hardly feasible, but that doesn’t mean we can’t attempt to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. Plus, “less-waste” living just doesn’t pack as much of a motivational punch as a clear, hard circle does.
As consumers, we have the power to demand products we buy be as sustainable as possible. If for no other reason than because the Earth is our home, too.
Zero-waste living is simply the manifestation of our own consciousness and gratitude for nature and all of the other residents who share the planet with us.
If you’re interested in beginning a zero-waste lifestyle, here are some great resources from popular zero-waste blogs, with helpful and easy tips you can use to start your waste-free journey. The planet will thank you for it!
- Paris To Go – Zero Waste Quick Start Guide
- Living Waste-Free – Starting Your Zero Waste Journey
- Litter Less – Simple Resolutions for a Zero Waste New Year
Want to learn more about going zero-waste and discover your own sustainable solutions from our largest curated collection of sustainable products? Download the GoodHuman app from the Apple App Store, available now!