Is it pos­si­ble to pro­duce zero waste? One woman is on a mis­sion to find out.

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Wild At Home - Kathryn Kel­logg

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

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