Tips on How to Go Zero Waste

It started slowly, one day while I was cleaning our bathroom: I suddenly realized the great amount of plastic containers that me and my two roommates had in the shower. The total amount for us three was about thirty bottles. These thirty bottles contained body scrubs, face washes, shampoos, hair masks, hair conditioners and so on and so on. After a certain period of time, all of these bottles would be empty and they would be thrown to the landfill. It doesn't seem right, does it?

According to the Danish environmental webpage The World Counts, we throw over 50 tons of household waste to the landfills every second. And that’s not all, since we have to take into consideration the waste and energy that was used in the production and extraction processes, which is approximately 70 bags of waste stream for one single bag of household waste.

Most of this waste will be burned, which causes great amounts of poisonous dioxin emissions. If this plastic bottle doesn't get burned, it will stay buried to the ground for about 1000 years or continue floating in the oceans for about 450 years until it breaks down completely. Before disappearing completely, it will transform into micro plastic particles that end up in the animals' digestive systems and finally, potentially in humans.

That being said, all the innocent looking plastic shampoo bottles and toothbrushes seem to cause too much pain for the environment in comparison with the amount of joy they give me while I am using these products.

With this in mind, I slowly started my zero-waste journey by replacing the empty bottles with something that’s not wrapped in plastic. Luckily, there are many brands that produce plastic free shampoo, soap and hair conditioner bars, for example. In my opinion, that is a very easy way to get out of the plastic bottle jungle in your bathroom. And not to forget, they are more pleasant to the eye. Also, you might want to change some of your everyday personal items, such as toothbrush and hairbrushes into wooden ones. Not to forget to completely abandon the plastic cups and cutleries and bring your own keep-cups and durable cutleries to wherever you go!

Then, I started to pay more attention to what I buy from the supermarket. It is a fact that some of the products, like tofu, meat and soda, are sold in a plastic containers no matter if you wanted it to be that way or not. But, you can always make better choices with fruits and vegetables, for example. The first step is to purchase a durable bag that can be used many times, as long as you remember to bring it with you to the shop! Also, if you are handy, you could try to crochet your own bag. 

 

Also, make sure that you recycle everything that can be recycled. I thought I was aware of everything related to recycling, but I was wrong. You can visit your city’s webpage for the waste sorting. For example, I didn't know that you can put the coffee filters in the bio waste or that we have a special place at our supermarket where you can recycle some types of plastic waste. As long as it is well rinsed!

By the time you have taken these first steps on your zero waste journey, you might want to aim for the next level. According to the Zero Waste France the demarches for preventing the waste are:

  1. To product and to consume less
  2.  To extend the durability of the products
  3.  To collect and recycle all the used material that can be reused

In summary, to save the environment, we should only purchase durable items, use them wisely, aim to fix what’s broken and when we can no longer fix it, use it for something else. Also, making your own hygienic products will reduce the amount of packaging needed and also the emissions that are produced when the product is being transported to your door.

I would recommend everyone to try to adapt the zero waste mentality and take care of our planet. Even if you start with baby steps it doesn't matter because together we could make a significant change.

 

About The Author

A French philology student

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