Don’t WASTE Your Time

“Zero Waste is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.” International Alliance of Zero Waste, 2009[1]

No waste, no environmental pollution, happy turtles, consume with good conscience – the philosophy of Zero Waste provides a fantastic vision of business in future. In theory, the consumer will not need to worry about waste anymore and companies will be able to improve their efficiency to a maximum. This idea seems so simple but in fact is very challenging. It could become a controversial and important business topic as it provides a resource saving alternative of economy.[2]

But what lies behind this concept? What impact will it have on our lives? The subconscious fear of cutting consumption seems to dominate our behaviour, resulting in accepting the known consequences of environmental damage. Therefore the trends of recycling and upcycling occurred, which are now enhanced further with the concept of “Zero Waste” or “Precycling”. The handling of waste might become an outdated problem, because it is eliminated already in production and thus conserves and recovers all resources.[2] In context to each of us this could mean products without packaging, awareness for food and critical consumption but despite a great quality of life.

In my research I came across a surprising fact. We, the consumers, are in fact the most powerful stakeholders, being able to make a difference.[3] Obviously, this does not pull any of the businesses or other stakeholder out of responsibility but outlines the importance of small things. It is important to become aware of their massive impact. Currently 5 trillion, (5,000,000,000,000!) pieces of plastic keep the turtles company in the ocean.[4] A report of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation outlines, that “on the current track, there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean (by weight) by 2050”.[5] Therefore Zero Waste is a concept that affects everyone of us.

However, there are fantastic blogs inspiring to small and big changes in our lives. A well-known example is the mason jar of Lauren Singer. It contained her entire waste of four years. She changed her lifestyle fundamentally and is blogging about sustainability in everyday life and set up a sustainable detergent business.[6] Online there can be found many influencers like her, who made the Zero Waste philosophy a part of their life in different ways. They all agree that sensible consumption and a conscious approach with food will lead to an improved quality of live. Furthermore, their message is: start from scratch. It is not realistic to change your consumer habits in one day. It will need time, preparation and motivation (this is no excuse though). Awareness for waste and the confrontation with the topic, choosing the unpacked vegetables the next time, making it a habit to bring your own to-go-cup to your favourite café and setting an example for others. Also, being prepared for adapting your standards, investing a small effort for the future. Simply because it matters.

Nina Marleen

P.s. Find here a variety of blogs definitively worth a visit:
http://www.thegoodtrade.com/thoughts/sustainable-living-blogs

 

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