The core idea behind zero waste is limiting trash production on multiple stages of a product’s life cycle: from the moment of purchase to utilization of leftovers. The main objective of such a lifestyle is environmental protection.
Where did the pro-ecological philosophy of zero-waste come from?
The term “zero waste” was first coined in the 1970s by a chemist Paul Palmer, the founder of the Zero Waste Institute – an organization emphasizing the importance of product design that allows for multiple uses. The movement that was thus originated became popular between 1998 and 2002 and later spread further by Bea Johnson, who decided to lower her amount of produced waste nearly to zero. The end results of her one-year-long experiment showed that during that time she, her husband and her two children had produced merely a jar of non-recyclable trash. For many around the world, this undertaking became more than a challenge and rather a way of living.
How to become zero waste? The five commandments
The practical side of zero waste boils down to a number of rules, nicknamed 5xR:
- Refuse products that can harm the environment either on the production stage or later by generating polluting waste (such as single-use packages or leaflets).
- Reduce the number of items that surround you and only buy those things you really need and will use.
- Reuse everything you can, even the things that seem impossible to be reused – store your homemade products in leftover glass bottles or donate your used clothes.
- Recycle everything you are unable to reuse, make sure your waste ends up in proper collection points.
- Rot – compost your organic waste turning it into fertilizer or energy source.