Zero Waste: Why and How?
By: Vibha Pejathaya
What comes to one’s mind when you hear the word “Zero Waste”? Creating no waste? Absolutely nothing? Is that even possible? To create no waste at all?
The first time I heard about the term I was overwhelmed! I came across an article about two Indian women who had begun to lead a zero waste lifestyle. Now, being a nature and animal lover, the article caught my attention and I started to research more about the topic.
So, what is Zero Waste? In simple terms, I can put it across as ‘Creating no Waste’ (in literal terms).
However, in the present economy, it is impossible to create no waste at all, with all the single-use stuff in the market. The more simple term? – Send nothing to the landfill.
Solution? Circular Economy!
Circular Economy- Nothing can explain circular economy better than the five R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and recycle.
The linear economy follows the “take-make-dispose” plan where raw materials are taken, made into products and these products are used until they are discarded as waste.
Whereas in Circular Economy the resources, products, components are used continuously so as to keep them in a loop. A simple example of a circular economy can be composting. We grow crops ( raw materials), obtain food( rice, fruits, vegetables), eat them and the remaining like skins of the fruits, vegetables etc. are composted to obtain compost/manure to again feed the crops and the cycle repeats.
Why Zero Waste?
I think the list could go pretty long if you ask me but the main reason- We are ruining this beautiful planet that we think we deserve!!! Climate change folks!!
There is a lot of statistical, technical, economic information related to zero waste that I will not dive into now. What can a person, as an individual do about it? Does the effort from one-person matter? Yes, definitely! A small change can have the greatest impact.
How does one start? Start with the basics. The ones that were taught to you in school as a kid.
- Plant trees
- Turn off electric appliances when not in use
- Conserve Water
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Well, these are the basics. What more can be done?
1. Compost: The process of composting is nothing but the decomposition of organic matter. It is no rocket science. All you need is a container with holes, wet, compostable waste, dry waste, and an open mind.
2. Say no to plastic and single-use items.
3. Carry your own bag.
4. Carry your own reusable water bottle.
5. Opt for tender coconut and fresh juices instead of carbonated bottled drinks.
6. Repair. Swap. Thrift. Donate.
This is just the first step. I know it can be overwhelming. But it does not have to be. One small step at a time is all you need to take.
(Vibha is currently working as a programmer analyst in Bangalore. She has always been a nature and animal lover. She loves to explore places, trek, draw, and DIY. It has been 3 years since she came across an article on Zerowaste and since then she has been researching and following it to the best I can.)
(The views expressed in the article are the author’s own. Let Me Breathe neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)