It basically means not sending anything to the landfill. There are tons of benefits to living a zero waste lifestyle, like saving money, eating healthier, reducing chemicals and becoming more self-sufficient. But the main reason I choose to live a low-waste lifestyle is for the environment. I believe zero waste is a critical (and often overlooked) piece in a multi-pronged solution to climate change. People often feel powerless to slow global warming, but reducing waste is a simple way individuals can make a big difference. And while we don't live in a zero waste world (yet), we can work toward achieving zero waste at home by following the 5Rs in this order: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (i.e., compost).
When you follow the 5Rs, you're still going to produce some waste (it's unavoidable within our current system). But it is possible to shrink our trash considerably, so much so that it fits in a tiny trash can!
Most of us are familiar with "Reduce Reuse Recycle." But too often our environmental efforts start and end with recycling. And we're creating so much waste that we can't recycle our way out of our environmental mess. Living with zero waste means embracing the other Rs. By refusing unnecessary items and reducing what we consume, we can dramatically reduce pollution and save natural resources. We are using the Earth’s resources faster than the planet can replenish them 🙁 By refusing the things we don't need, reducing the amount of things we do need and reusing everything we can, we decrease the demand on our planet's finite resources. And by recycling and composting things we can't refuse, reduce or reuse, we minimize our need for landfills. By composting organic material, we can divert about 40% of what’s currently going to landfill. Composting reduces methane, which is important if we want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short term. Methane is 20-100X more potent than CO2, and reductions in methane can be seen in 12 years (whereas carbon reductions won’t be seen for 100 years). According to the IPCC climate report, we have only 10 years to stave off climate catastrophe so reducing methane is an important part of the equation.
We need to rethink the way we live on this planet, on a personal level and on a global scale. We don’t have to wait for companies or governments to change to start making a difference. We can make a difference right now 😃💚🌎