The average person produces 4.4 pounds of waste each day. That adds up to a total of 1,606 pounds of waste per year! Of that waste, only about 30% is recycled or composted. The other 70% ends up in landfills, where it takes up valuable space and emits harmful greenhouse gases.
The good news is that more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of reducing their waste.
You may have seen influencers and celebrities boasting about their Zero Waste lifestyle on social media and wondered, "What is Zero Waste living?" The goal of zero waste is to produce no trash - everything you use is either compostable, recyclable, or reusable.
The zero waste movement is gaining momentum, and there are now many ways to reduce your waste at home, at work, and when you're out and about. But is this really achievable? And, more importantly, is a zero waste approach sustainable in the long run? Let's take a closer look.
The top sources of waste are food, packaging, and paper products. These items make up the majority of what we throw away each day. However, there are many methods of waste management and waste reduction in each of these categories. For example, you can buy food in bulk to reduce packaging waste, bring your own reusable bags to the store, and recycle or compost your paper products.
The most obvious pro of zero-waste living is that it drastically reduces your contribution to landfills and incinerators. In the United States alone, the average person produces 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of trash per day - that's a lot of solid waste! By cutting out single-use items and switching to reusables, you can make a big dent in the amount of trash you produce.
Another benefit of a zero waste lifestyle is that it forces you to be more mindful of your consumption habits. When you can't just mindlessly throw something away, you start to think about whether or not you really need it in the first place. This can lead to reduced consumption overall, which is great for both your wallet and the environment.
The amount you can save by going zero waste varies depending on your lifestyle and habits. However, one study found that the average family of four can save $1,600 per year by following a zero-waste lifestyle! That's a significant amount of money that can be put towards other things like travel or savings.
Zero Waste living isn't without its challenges, though. One of the biggest problems is that not everyone has access to the same resources. For example, people who live in rural areas may not have access to recycling facilities or composting services. This makes it difficult to impossible for them to achieve true zero waste status.
Another challenge with zero waste living is that it requires a lot of time and effort, especially at the beginning as you set up new systems for how to reduce waste. For example, making your own toothpaste or laundry detergent takes time that some people simply don't have. And let's be honest - even the most dedicated zero waster slips up every now and then!
The journey to zero waste then, is perhaps best viewed as that: a journey. Not a destination. Any steps you take towards zero waste should be viewed as a positive. With each step you take, the next step will be easier.
Reducing your waste is not only good for the environment—it's also good for your wallet! By making small changes in your daily life, you can make a big impact on the amount of waste you produce each year.
So, is zero waste living really green? Our opinion is that it is, although it is a spectrum not black and white. The goal of zero waste shouldn't be viewed as a binary, rather as a journey with each step playing a role to making the world and your life a little better.
There are definitely some powerful advantages to this lifestyle, but there are also some challenges that make it difficult to achieve 100% waste-free status. Its important not to judge people who aren't 100% on-board yet. Lots of people making small incremental moves to a zero-waste lifestyle is better than a few die-hards who de everything possible (although we love the die-hards too!)
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether or not this lifestyle is right for you.