Is it possible to produce zero waste? One woman is on a mission to find out.
What set you on the path to living a ‘zero waste’ lifestyle?
For me, it was very personal. I was having some health issues, and for the first time, I started paying attention to the products I was using. Many of the things we interact with, such as beauty products, cleaning products, and plastic contain endocrine disruptors that interfere with our hormones. I slowly started making changes to live a more natural lifestyle, and I found the changes weren’t only better for my personal health but also for the health of the planet.
What’s one of the simplest ways to cut back on waste?
Avoid coffee cups, which are lined with plastic and unrecyclable in most places. The lids aren’t recyclable either. So, if you forget a thermos or don’t have time to ask for a mug and drink it in the coffee shop, go topless – you know, without the lid!
What else should we be focussing on?
Everything you bring into your home must leave it at some point. For nonessential items, I put a waiting period of 30 days on any purchase to make sure that I truly need that item in my life. Most of the time, we have an item that will ‘do’ already in our possession. If we can wait and get a little bit creative, we can avoid buying so much.
Can people at home really make a difference?
Citizens must act so businesses and policy can react. I’m not saying that the sole responsibility relies on the consumer, but it is our job to show there is a demand for this kind of lifestyle.
Is it possible to avoid all waste?
In our current linear economy model, it’s impossible to produce zero waste. But the goal is just to do the best you can. It’s about being more mindful and trying to reflect the circular economy (zero waste) to the best of our ability. For me, it was incredibly easy. I never viewed it as depriving myself, or as things I ‘couldn’t have’, it was just a fun challenge. I wanted to try a new way of doing things.
Are we likely to see more changes from manufacturers?
Absolutely! I think the refill model is a great first step and I hope it will be so popular that it becomes synonymous with purchasing anything. The end goal is to get more businesses involved, where they take responsibility for their packaging and products, and I think we’re starting to see it.
Considering what we buy can help reduce our impact on the planet.
£9.99, The Countryman Press 101 Ways to go Zero Waste