What Zero Waste Actually Is

 

Zero waste is not about trash.

 

To an extent it is. The topic of trash is a part of it. But living waste free goes way beyond garbage and mason jars.

 

 

Let’s start at the beginning.

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I heard someone talking about zero waste one day. I didn’t know what it was nor had I ever heard of it. So I did what anyone would do- I Googled it!

 

After a vigorous Google search, I thought “How can someone not produce waste? You do it just by going to the bathroom.”

 

I decided to ignore the idea of zero waste. It seemed impossible and like a lot of work. What am I supposed to do? Never use a band aid ever again?

 

Instead, I decided to focus on more realistic goals like eating healthier and buying foods in bulk. I focused on gardening and learned about saving money when and where I could.

 

Months went by. With each change and lesson learned, I began to notice a difference in my attitude. I felt like I was glowing. How I looked at my life, the decisions I made…I had a new perspective.

 

And then it hit me. I was going zero waste.

 

I didn’t label myself as a “zero waster” though. I just observed my life for what it was and saw that it needed some change. It just so happened that the changes I did make began to effect my environmental footprint in a positive way.

 

 

That’s when I experienced my first lesson with this beautiful lifestyle.

 

 

Zero waste is about awareness.

 

It’s when I realized that I no longer care about brand names. I didn’t care about how pretty my produce looked. I didn’t care about how much stuff I owned or how much product I used in the bathroom.

 

Because quite frankly it was (and is) unnecessary.

 

It was (and still is) unnecessary to accumulate so much for nothing in particular. Practically everything I bought became garbage in one way or another and I would end up in the same situation- finding time to go to the store so I can pay for what will soon be garbage.

 

 

Plastic Waste washed up at shore, Turneffe Atoll, Caribbean, Belize

 

There came a point when I felt like I was stuck in limbo. Eventually all of us begin wondering the same thing: there has to be something more, something better. 

 

And there is. But that particular something does not come all at once. It’s not linear. I don’t think we wake up in the middle of the night screaming “ZERO WASTE IS THE ANSWER”.

 

Zero waste is a journey. It is an intention.

 

It’s an objective. It’s a purpose. It’s a struggle.

 

The intention isn’t to remove all of the waste out of your life. Let’s face it. Are we ever going to be truly waste free?

 

Of course it’s important to strive to use less, but it would be unrealistic and very disappointing to expect myself and everyone around me to not produce some form of waste every now and then.

 

But we, the human race, can be doing better.

 

It’s what we do with that waste that makes living a zero waste lifestyle interesting and appealing.

 

Zero waste is an act. It’s the choices we make every day. It’s the moments of success and failure.

 

If someone told me I had to eliminate all of the waste from my kitchen from this point now and here on out, I would go crazy!

 

I wouldn’t know what to do or where to start. The shock would stress me to the point where I completely give up.

 

But going zero waste isn’t always about the waste that you are producing. It’s not always about what you are doing wrong.

 

It’s also about celebrating what were are doing right.

 

You know how doctors have a practice? Well, this is your practice. You shouldn’t avoid your mistakes.

 

Learn from them. Let them guide you.

 

Because ultimately we all want the same thing. We wish to see the world for what it truly is- a magnificent piece of creation. It’s purpose? To give us a home.

 

 

How incredibly humbling this is. All we must simply do is take care of it.

 

Good luck on your zero waste journey. And remember….

 

…enjoy.

 

 

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
– Robert Swan, Author

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