The Zero Waste Lifestyle is one of the smartest lifestyles of our time. Zero Waste means nothing else than "zero waste" and has the goal of not making any garbage and especially not wasting any raw materials in order to preserve our unique nature for future generations. Now I want to explain to you exactly what is behind the Zero Waste Lifestyle, what are the basic rules of the Zero Waste Lifestyle and why this lifestyle will change the whole world.
Here is another short Table of contents for you:
- What is Zero Waste?
- Zero Waste Advantages
- 10 Zero Waste Rules (10 R's)
- The Future of Zero Waste
The new lifestyle - What is Zero Waste?
As we have just briefly touched on, the environmentally conscious Zero Waste lifestyle aims at not making waste, not wasting raw materials and instead reusing them over and over again. This trend has developed into a fast-growing movement that is more effective in combating plastic waste in the environment than any other project. That's because Zero Waste prevents waste from being created in the first place. And if it does occur, it is fed into the recycling loop.
"The future belongs to those who understand that you can do more with less and be more compassionate, prosperous, persistent, and therefore smarter and more competitive."
(Paul Hawken, US environmentalist and author).
The Zero Waste lifestyle has a vision to change the consciousness of all people on our planet to prefer a sustainable lifestyle where materials and resources are reused for other things. Zero Waste appeals specifically to ethics, economics and efficiency. Businesses in particular are in demand, as they need to optimize their processes and products to be as resource-efficient and packaging-free as possible. Zero Waste is basically a fantastic environmental protection movement.
However, some caution should be exercised with the term, because not everywhere Zero Waste is written on it is Zero Waste in it. It is quite easy for a company to boast about its Zero Waste lifestyle by simply writing the term on the packaging. Except for the customer, no one checks something like that today. From the entrepreneur's point of view, the goal must be to optimize the process chain in such a way that it is as resource-efficient as possible. That pleases the customer and then again the entrepreneur.
The Zero Waste advantages
Before I give you the exact tips for implementing it on the way, I would like to show you the motivating benefits of Zero Waste. The following reasons speak for a change in your habits to the Zero Waste lifestyle:
Healthier living through Zero Waste
Those who live the Zero Waste lifestyle come into less contact with plastic. Plastic food packaging releases harmful substances such as bisphenol-A (BPA) and, of course, phthalates, which we ingest through our food. These plasticizers are suspected of causing cancer, diabetes and many other diseases. The plastic in altered our hormonal balance and is particularly dangerous for the development of children. In the meantime, these substances can be detected in the urine of each of us. Who lives therefore consciously after the Zero Waste life-style, lives also healthier. As a rule, you only come into contact with natural things that have no negative consequences for your health. A good reason, therefore, to start the Zero Waste lifestyle. But there is more!
Save a lot of money with Zero Waste
With the Zero Waste lifestyle, not only will you automatically live healthier, you'll also have more money in your wallet! Why is that? There are several reasons:
- You automatically live more minimalist: When you choose a more conscious lifestyle like Zero Waste, you question your purchases and spend less money on unnecessary items. Read more about this in the article Minimalism - How you live more minimalist.
- Hardly any waste fees: Live the Zero Waste lifestyle and you'll quickly notice that the trash can is nowhere near as full, and your low household waste also means significantly lower trash collection fees.
- Tap water is cheaper: Get a reusable water bottle and fill it with the healthy tap water that we are lucky enough to be able to drink from the tap in Germany. Water from the tap is at least 250x cheaper than water from a plastic bottle. In the article Water from plastic bottles VS tap water you can learn more about it.
- Reuse instead of disposable products: If you buy tissues, baking paper, aluminum foil and the like as disposable products, you end up paying significantly more. Switching to a zero waste lifestyle is worthwhile because, for example, the plastic-free alternatives Cloth handkerchiefs, Baking mats and beeswax cloths are reusable for a long time. It's a little more expensive to buy, but the useful life is also really long! Save money through zero waste.
- Less ownership = Less cost: Those who live consciously also only have the possessions they really need to be happy. The additional costs for e.g. maintenance, upkeep or insurance are thus also kept within limits. Even one's own apartment does not have to be so big anymore. There is more money left for the beautiful things in life!
- A fundamentally lower level of consumption: We have understood that despite the impulse to buy, we question many things and end up buying only things that are really necessary. By questioning, repairing, reusing and all the other rules of the Zero Waste lifestyle (which you are about to learn) you will save a lot of money.
Cool, isn't it? Please don't be led by the misconception that "organic" or ecological and sustainable products are always more expensive. If the product is durable, you'll really save a lot of money in the end, and reduce your ecological footprint.
And now I'll show you what the Zero Waste lifestyle looks like in practical terms!
10 R's - The Zero Waste Rules?
Have you heard about the 10 R's of the Zero Waste lifestyle? These are the most important rules if you want to live No Waste and since they all start with the letter R, they're easy to remember too! Round out your zero waste lifestyle with these Zero Waste rules:
#1 reduce (reduce)
The Zero Waste lifestyle not only helps you make less trash, but it also helps you spend less money! How? Quite simply, by Reduce! Take a look around your home. How many of the things you see, you actually do not need? Quite a lot, isn't it? By selling superfluous things and deciding clearly in your further purchases whether you really need this thing, you reduce your possessions to the most necessary. This makes you a bit freer and happier, believe me. Be sure to read my article Minimalism - Living Minimalist through and learn to clean out. Here are two examples of typical wasted resources in your home:
- Open your closet: Which pieces are at the bottom of the pile? Mostly things that you would never wear again. Why do you own them? Because you probably felt the need to buy them at some point. Simply clean out your closet and sell or give away superfluous clothes on Kleiderkreisel or eBay Kleinanzeigen. This way you can reduce your closet in line with the zero waste lifestyle.
- Take a look in your refrigerator: The Zero Waste lifestyle creates order, even in the refrigerator. You can also clean out your fridge if you don't already shop and live consciously and your fridge is already organized. Look for the things that have expired and make it clear to yourself either not to buy these things again and save the money or to consider with the next purchase whether you really have to buy so much of it.
#2 reuse (reuse)
With disposable products like CoffeeToGo cups and disposable razors, you're not making anyone happy except the industry. These are disposable products that are produced from limited raw materials like petroleum! Therefore the Reuse so an important part of the zero waste lifestyle. If you want to live environmentally conscious and no waste, you have to learn to use things more often. Here are a few good long-lasting zero waste alternatives to conventional disposable products:
- Classic tea bags: Normally, tea bags are used only once and are then trash. The Zero Waste Lifestyle has a Stainless steel tea filter or this tea egg* (each made of stainless steel) found a good alternative.
- Water in plastic bottles: If you live in Germany, why do you buy your Water in plastic bottles one? It's more expensive, you have to carry it and it tastes worse. The Zero Waste alternative is for example this reusable glass water bottlewhich you can now have refilled free of charge at home and on the road with Refill in many cafés in many German cities.
- Baking paper: This is made of paper, but still there is a really cool alternative to baking paper, namely. this permanent baking mat. The is easy to clean and forever reusable. No more baking paper! Cool, right?
#3 rent (borrow)
Today, you don't have to buy everything that's up in the air. Things Borrow Buying instead of buying is trendy and an important rule of the Zero Waste lifestyle. By borrowing things you save money and don't have them lying in the corner of your room after 2 weeks. You borrow things when you need them and return them when you don't need them. LendYouWhat for example, is one of the portals where you can easily borrow things. What can you borrow instead of buying, for example?
- Books: You don't have to buy every new book. You can find just about any book to borrow via lending portals. That's how the Zero Waste lifestyle works.
- Electronics: If you're planning a cool evening at the game console and don't want to spend 400€ on a new console, you can just borrow it. That way it won't be lying in the corner after a few days and you'll still have a nice evening without making any packaging waste.
- Sports: You always wanted to ride a longboard on Tempelhofer Feld? If you don't know whether you'd enjoy it, you should just rent it and try it out. That way you don't waste any resources and save a lot of money.
- Baby items: We are particularly wasteful with baby things. At some point, you'll be too big and won't need the Playmobil castle anymore. Before it disappears into the nirvana of your closet, you can lend it out or borrow it, depending on whether you need it or not.
#4 redesign (redesign)
Also an important rule of the Zero Waste Lifestyle! If you have found a product that you like, but unfortunately is wrapped in plastic, just contact the manufacturer! Open his eyes and propose him your idea, his product that he sells perhaps for 20 years so, remodel. The more people contact the manufacturer, the more likely he will change it. With the Replace Plastic App Incidentally, any consumer can point out the problem directly to the manufacturer. So much for the customer perspective.
You can also live the zero waste lifestyle from a business perspective. Take a look at your process chain and identify the sources where waste is generated. This is called Cradle-To-Cradle and makes your products sustainable.
#5 repair (repair)
You know the feeling when you want to replace something that is broken. repairs have, right? Isn't that a cool feeling? You almost threw it away and suddenly it works again. Repairing is therefore a very important rule. Don't give up on your bike just because it has a flat tire and the chain is broken. That's no reason to throw your bike away! Even if you don't think you can do it, try to repair it yourself or take it to a bicycle repair shop. Since everything is readily available today, we now tend to just buy things new instead of repairing them. Many vendors also have a service shop where you can get your repair for free during the warranty period. Here are a few examples of things we are quick to give up and throw away:
- Your washing machine is broken: Call the manufacturer's service or plumber if you have tried unsuccessfully to repair it yourself. A new washing machine costs something like 400 - 800€, right? So it's worth to repair it for a few euros 😉.
- iPhone falls down and the glass breaks: I know Apple is quick to replace it, but please get it fixed. That way you won't have any problems transferring the photos and phone numbers and give your smartphone a second life.
#6 red (compost)
Our Disposable society has ensured that 20 - 40 % of our food is not eaten and instead ends up in the trash. Although there are enough tips to Making food last longer to be able to. The garbage has to be picked up and processed and stinks beastly. This is completely unnecessary, because you yourself Correct compost can. While in the countryside you can simply make a compost heap to fertilize your plants, city kids are left with only the organic compost garbage can. Think. Get yourself such a bokashi bucketwith which you can create a pleasant smelling compost heap for yourself and Compost worms recycle your organic waste. You create your own ecosystem that you can be proud of! This is the Zero Waste lifestyle at it's best!
#7 replace (replace)
Replace replace all your disposable products with durable, reusable alternatives. Products that cost a lot of resources and that you have in use should not be thrown away. Continue to use them until they are unusable, and then replace them in the spirit of the Zero Waste lifestyle. For example, the following things can be wonderfully replaced with the appropriate, environmentally conscious alternatives:
- Paper tissues: First of all, they are packaged in plastic and secondly, they are trash after one use. Instead just use such a cloth handkerchiefthat you can easily wash and reuse.
- Plastic shopping bags: You're a smart person, right? If you live according to Zero Waste Lifestyle, you therefore replace the constantly newly bought plastic bags with such reusable jute bags, which is simply taken before each purchase.
- Paperwork: Digitalization is debatable, but if we use it right, it also creates huge opportunities for the zero waste lifestyle. For example, replace all your paperwork with digital documents. Depending on your skill level, it may take a bit of digging in, but it's quick! Also read the article Reduce paper waste by.
#8 recycle (recycle)
In the best case scenario, your zero waste lifestyle means you don't create any waste at all. Challenges that you have not yet been able to overcome by reusing, repairing, or replacing should then be put into the recycling loop to the Recycling are given. But the recycling process also requires a lot of resources, as water and energy are needed. You can learn more about this in the Articles on the subject of recycling. Try not to create the waste in the first place - it's called precycling.
#9 refuse (reject)
Zero waste lifestyle also means rejecting things. To reject is to say no. And just say no to things you don't need! In the past, I immediately accepted things that were offered to me for free. Free pens, flyers or sweets with a brand logo on them. Today, in such situations, I simply ask myself the one crucial question "Do I need this?". Especially with such cheap, resource-wasting odds and ends, the answer on the shelf is a resounding NO. Since we tend to say YES to freebies, we also increase the demand for this cheap stuff, which is produced under lousy working conditions from limited raw materials in energy-intensive processes. For example, this is where a lot of waste is created, which is why I'm giving you the alternative straight away:
- You will be offered a flyer: Assuming you really think the flyer is useful, you should just photograph it. That way it won't get lost and you won't make any trash.
- You will be offered a free pen: Realize that you still have some working pens lying around at home and that these cheap kulis are made under poor conditions for a pittance.
- You constantly get advertisements thrown into your mailbox: Stick a red sign on your mailbox that says: "Please do not put advertising here!" - so you are a little bit more waste-free again.
- You order a cocktail: If you don't know for sure there reusable Bamboo straws or other plastic-free alternatives, there's a good chance you'll get a plastic straw. That's why when you place your order, just say, "No straw for me, please, thank you!" - That's all 😉
#10 reach (close)
Zero Waste Lifestyle also means, on each other approach and help each other out. In the past, when not everything was available 24/7 in the supermarket or could be ordered with a click, we communicated much more with each other. People asked their neighbors for eggs and other groceries. This communication has been somewhat lost to us due to the convenience that comes with the internet. If 20 - 40% of the food in our households is not being eaten, chances are your neighbor has something they no longer need. In addition to neighbors, there are of course local businesses where you can get the food as well. This communication supports local businesses and helps you keep your social life in balance.
The Zero Waste lifestyle and its future
Since the introduction of plastic more than half a century ago, it has taken a long time for us to really feel its disadvantages and to be forced to rethink. This upheaval is happening either the hard way, through a collapse of the ecosystem, or the pleasant way, through a collective rethinking of all the people on this planet. Those who live by the Zero Waste lifestyle choose the latter. Because Zero Waste living is the future. Zero waste living has long been more than an emerging eco-trend, it is a movement of smart people that is growing incredibly fast and will fundamentally change markets, economies and society.
"Corporations are the economic machine of Western culture. If it can be changed to serve our nature as much as ourselves, that plays a crucial role in saving us."(Karl-Henrik Robert, Founder of The Natural Step)
We will live more naturally and consciously, and it will be considered socially stupid to stroll the streets with a plastic bag. It sounds harsh, but it's a very positive development. We are now introducing precycling (not creating waste in the first place), a measure that makes recycling unnecessary. Companies that only aim for profit and do not align their processes with Zero Waste now will have to do so in a very short time due to a change in demand in order to remain competitive. The Zero Waste lifestyle takes care of that and that's just great.
Conclusion on the Zero Waste lifestyle
Perhaps this has already become clear in the future outlook: Zero Waste is the lifestyle of the future. After decades of enjoying only the benefits of plastic, we are now getting a new lease on life with the Plastic waste in the environment to feel the disadvantages. Time to take a few steps back and live more naturally and consciously, so that future generations can still live on this great planet. By the way, the reason why the Zero Waste lifestyle works so well and develops so fast is that it is sexy, visible and easy to implement. People are sharing their alternative, smart lifestyle with the world on social media. It's creating hope and making a lasting change in our society. Get started.
PS: Plastic-free living is part of the Zero Waste lifestyle. In the article Plastic Free Living - Tips & Tricks you'll learn exactly how to avoid plastic waste. At Zero Waste Basic Equipment you'll learn the best things to do to get started in a garbage-free life!