Google searches for ‘zero waste’ have increased considerably over the last couple of years. With the added global pandemic, it seems we’re more conscious than ever. But how can a zero-waste existence be achieved?
If nothing else, the pandemic has allowed us to consider how we live, particularly with what and how much we consume (although, we’ll just have to forget about the panic buying of loo paper…).
The term ‘zero waste’ has seen a considerable increase in searches over the last few years, so we’re definitely interested in knowing how to cut down on our day-to-day, but what does it actually mean and how do you achieve a zero-waste life? It might sound intimidating, but it’s also not about being perfect, either.
“Even a small effort will make a difference,” says Ethique founder Brianne West.
“It’s a lifestyle decision, yes, but it is also a consistent pursuit in reducing your impact on the planet. A zero-waste life is a series of conscious decisions on a daily basis to opt for waste-free, planet-friendly alternatives.”
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In an age of instant gratification, the desire to jump in the deep end may be tempting for some, but the reality is reducing waste isn’t something that will happen overnight and unlikely in 30 days, but rather it’ll be a gradual transition. After all, if you’re throwing out the half-empty plastic bottles sitting in your cupboard, that in itself is wasteful.
“It’s less a rush to do so quickly and more a commitment to swapping out things you use for waste-free alternatives and sticking with them,” says West.
“Immediate actions you could take would be to conduct an audit of what you use on a daily basis: How much waste are they creating? What zero-waste alternatives are available? And as you run out of one thing, replace it with a zero-waste alternative.”
What might be some examples of this? Limiting your single-use plastic consumption is a big one, and we’re not just talking about straws and disposable bags from the supermarket.
A reusable coffee cup, refillable glass drink bottle are common things that come to mind, but using hand soap, body wash, even shampoo and conditioner in solid bar form can significantly cut down on unnecessary packaging.
On the subject of packaging, many brands are opting for compostable materials, which West says is another great step, so long as you’re actually composting it.
“Consciously selecting alternative products that come in compostable packaging (and then being sure to actually compost it!) is a super easy way to live a more sustainable and less wasteful lifestyle,” she says.
Ultimately though, consumers need to push their favourite brands harder into becoming more eco-friendly.
“Consumer demand is driving a tide change,” says West.
“So, if you want to see something from your favourite company, email or give them a call! Collectively, this consumer demand drives progress.”