We all know that our planet can’t handle much more of our excessive waste production. We’ve seen the piles of trash washed up on our beaches as well as the prodigiously sized island of plastic floating around the Pacific. While individuals can’t be held responsible for such an enormous systemic issue, change usually starts on a micro level. But if someone in your life requires further convincing — we’ve put together a list of reasons you can use to convince people to start a Zero Waste lifestyle!
How the Mason Jar Myth Prevents People From Starting Their Zero Waste Journey
At this point, most people have heard about the Zero Waste movement, which aims to reduce our overall waste production. Some proponents of the philosophy have even spoken at TED Conferences. But the movement is mostly known for having inspired some online personalities to commit to producing less than a jar of waste over the course of several years.
Needless to say, learning about such advanced members of the movement can be pretty intimidating. After all, if the bar is set that high, how can regular people achieve a Zero Waste lifestyle? Well, if someone you know wants to change their relationship with waste, they’ll need to hear a better narrative.
Namely, instead of uplifting the people who manage to cram several years’ worth of waste into a single jar, focus on the movement’s core values. Let them know that even trying to reduce their waste generation will have real environmental, economic, and societal benefits. Alternatively, just read them the following list.
7 Excellent Reasons to Transition to a Zero Waste Lifestyle
1. Generate Less Waste
Ultimately, the goal of the Zero Waste movement would be to generate less landfill-bound waste. That means we’ll need to:
- Reduce our consumption
- Reuse the items we already own
- Recycle the things that are no longer usable
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Even for plastic, several barriers stand in the way of recycling. For one, some plastics, like thin wraps and bags, are more difficult to recycle than others. And even the hard plastic that’s easy to handle can still only go through the machines up to 7 times anyway.
What’s more, most places around the world don’t have a well-developed recycling infrastructure in the first place. Because of those factors, only about 6% of the world’s plastic waste gets recycled. The rest is left to pollute our soil and water in one way or another. Remember, plastic doesn’t degrade; it just breaks down into microscopic particles that continue to haunt us even when we don’t see them.
So the sooner we start finding alternatives, the better. That’s why each of us has to push for the solution before our landfills or worse, oceans, overflow with waste.
2. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Reducing the amount of waste you produce can have numerous environmental benefits as well. Namely, individual participation in the Zero Waste movement will eventually make the biggest polluters notice the public interest in conserving nature. Arguably, many corporations have already taken note of it and adjusted their marketing strategies accordingly.
But we need more than marketing to solve climate change. Instead, we should fight to make manufacturers switch to more sustainable modes of production. Reducing, reusing, and recycling on such a grand scale will conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions. That should lower the impact we have on the climate as well.
3. Benefit the Economy
As we have established, pushing for a greener future requires a great deal of infrastructure. Since most of that support system doesn’t exist yet, this moment is the perfect opportunity to start green businesses. Going forward, we’ll see an expansion of recycling, composting, and waste diversion programs which will naturally lead to job creation.
On top of that, we’ll also see more rental businesses, as well as repair services, become more popular. The point is to give local money to local businesses, thereby supporting community efforts to establish a circular economy.
4. Save Money
When we prioritize leading a Zero Waste lifestyle, we naturally transition to a less consumerist lifestyle. That includes spending less time and money on fast fashion and generally buying products that last. Instead of buying momentarily trendy items, many Zero Waste advocates shop second-hand or make their own clothes.
Naturally, the people who start making their own products have a greater say in what they put on their skin and in their bodies.
Aside from that, the Zero Waste movement encourages people to shop in bulk, which saves them the money they would have spent on packaging. Since about 45% of plastic waste comes from single-use items and packaging, being a more conscious consumer can drastically reduce an individual’s impact.
5. Be Healthy
Making cosmetic products and buying food from local farms is certainly a great way to avoid potentially toxic ingredients. After all, many mass-produced products contain carcinogenic and even hormone-disrupting ingredients. From shampoos, deodorants, and makeup to cleaning supplies and food, it’s hard to tell when the items you’re buying are bad for you.
However, the rise in thyroid, liver, and skin cancers definitely proves that a problem exists. If the processed goods you’re buying are behind your health problems, they should clear up in a matter of months. Once you remove potentially toxic ingredients from your cupboards, you’ll be able to sleep better and feel more energized.
6. Respect Animals
Leading a more sustainable lifestyle is possible even if you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan. However, keep in mind that animal agriculture is one of the most wasteful and needlessly cruel industries out there. It doesn’t only affect the animals that are often raised in terrible conditions only to be slaughtered later. This industry also creates pollution, erosion, and has an overall negative effect on the environment.
So, the best way to show the animal agriculture industry you disagree with its practices is to avoid meat and animal-based products altogether. If veganism is too difficult to commit to, try to slowly include more plant-based items in your diet first. Over time, you can become a vegetarian, and then, when you’re ready, you can take that final step and go vegan.
7. Engage With a Growing Community
Since the Zero Waste movement is a relatively new concept, many people feel like they have to figure out how to live a more sustainable lifestyle on their own. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
As we have previously mentioned, many people online are documenting their Zero Waste journey. So there are lots of resources beginners could take advantage of all over the Internet. Many groups are formed around common interests, such as sharing tools and building skills (like mending clothes). You may look into Attitude Organic’s Sustainable Lifestyle Mentoring’s program if you are interested in receiving coaching to Start a Zero Waste Lifestyle.
One person could never hope to achieve a Zero Waste society — but together, it’s more than possible! If you find a group of people whose values align with your own, you can start making bigger changes. For example, you can petition your local government for a composting service in your area.
On top of that, you can set an example for other people to follow at their own pace. And so, the cycle continues!
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