Why Zero Waste Is Important
A zero waste lifestyle is one that aims to significantly reduce waste while investing in recyclable materials. But what exactly are the ramifications of the current waste generation we're living in?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash a day. And this can have a devastating effect on human health, marine life, climate change, and more.
While everyone's zero waste journey will look different, there's no question that reaching a zero waste goal is the best approach to take in life. So let's see just exactly what a zero waste approach can yield.
See Related: How To Go Zero Waste At Home
#1. A zero waste lifestyle can reduce greenhouse gas emissions
42% of greenhouse gas emissions are currently caused by the production and use of goods. This includes food waste, plastic packaging, disposal landfill waste, and more.
But when we eliminate waste - municipal solid waste, at that - we can lessen our environmental impact. And reduce the need for fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.
#2. It offers immense environmental benefits
Lessening our climate impact also helps to protect our carbon sinks. By reducing waste, we can help to prevent deforestation and land use changes.
All of which account for roughly 25% of energy related emissions. Not to mention that going zero waste can dramatically enhance our prospects in regards to climate change while shifting our focus towards recycled materials and zero waste programs.
#3. Zero waste living encourages conscious shopping
Excess consumption really only drains our bank accounts. And gives the earth more plastic waste, trash disposal, and discarded materials to have to manage.
But purchasing eco-conscious products like zero waste deodorant is a great way to produce less waste and save money. It's especially important to make sure your money is going towards a zero waste system job market with responsible production and recycling programs.
#4. Reusing means fewer products to buy
When we donate, recycle, compost, and repair, our need for excess products goes down. This impacts the amount of raw materials we extract.
And refocuses our attention towards the entire life cycle of a product, AKA a staple of the zero waste movement. Rather than allowing 80% of discarded consumer goods in municipal solid waste to be burned or landfilled due to poor design, zero waste strategies allow us to create a circular economy while limiting our significant environmental impact.
#5. Zero waste products also help to create jobs, proving its economic benefits
Another reason that makes zero waste important? Its ability to create local jobs within a closed loop system.
We're used to a linear economy which makes going zero waste pretty hard. This business model uses the cheapest and quickest methods to produce which only leads to more plastic pollution and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
But going zero waste means creating more jobs - green jobs at that - that are more sustainable and adhere to the tenets of the zero waste movement. Instead, virgin materials get used to create rental, repairing, reusing, and sharing businesses that are more eco-conscious.
#6. A zero waste lifestyle helps to conserve natural resources
We only have so many natural resources at our disposal. And at the rate that extraction, manufacturing, and disposal practices are going, we're not going to have many left.
But zero waste management means that fewer products need to be made, or rather, products can be more easily recycled. This zero waste strategy of recycling helps to keep organic waste out of landfills and incinerators which produce an exorbitant amount of carbon dioxide anyway.
So no, zero waste is just about putting your food scraps to use. Zero waste practices are about limiting our need to overproduce cheap products while harming the resources we use to make them in the first place.
Bonus: What Is Sustainable Packaging?
#7. Waste management is something you can implement today
It may feel overwhelming to grapple with the thought of climate change. But materials management is something that you can easily control and implement today.
Zero waste principles center around refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. Each offers its own strategy for making small changes that can ultimately have a big impact.
This means refusing to accept packaging or products that you don't need. And reinforces the idea and practice of conscious consumerism.
When you can't refuse a product, you can turn to reduction. As in, cutting down how much you buy and investing in reusable or multi-purpose products.
Once those products have served their initial purpose, it's time to get creative before putting it in the recycling or trash bin. Reusing allows consumers to repair and repurpose products so that it can prolong its life cycle through other means.
Recycling as a practice allows us to turn waste into reused goods. Even the simple act of placing something in the recycling bin over the trash bin can ensure a new life cycle for the product in question.
And lastly, zero waste recognizes that food waste will rot. But rather than place it into recycling or trash, we can compost it into soil nutrients, benefitting the planet and returning our food back to the earth.
#8. Zero waste strategies encourage a circular economy
Earlier, we talked about how we live in a linear economy. But zero waste living would create and favor a circular economy.
Such an economy would turn one person's waste into a resource for something new. This would go on to create more green jobs as a result while endlessly circulating the economy rather than disposing or destroying goods.
#9. Extended producer responsibility makes for more conscious business
Extended producer responsibility requires companies that import or make products to take responsibility for the waste they create. And it essentially gives them an incentive to reduce their wasteful practices.
Already, companies are seeing that one of the benefits of zero waste manufacturing processes will actually save them money throughout the year. So it's not just for the sake of the planet, but for the economy as well.
Plus, it's drawing attention to companies' ethical practices. Like producing aluminum free deodorants over aluminum-filled products.
#10. Reducing methane emissions and GHG emissions can benefit future generations
The Solid Waste Association of North America defines zero waste as all efforts to reduce waste and excessive consumption. And the effects this can have on future generations cannot go understated.
At the rate we're currently going, future humans won't necessarily have resources or a planet. So any effort, however small, is contributing to the greater good.
#11. Zero waste aims to emulate sustainable natural cycles
Within natural cycles, discarded waste automatically becomes resources for others. So as revolutionary as zero waste living sounds, it's really quite simple.
In fact, it simply aims to do exactly what sustainable cycles are already doing. And this just further proves the point that the earth knows how to give us the tools to sustain it.
Even investing in a plastic free deodorant can make a positive impact on the planet. Or rather, lessen any impact at all.
But the point still remains: there are tangible things we can do to live a zero waste lifestyle. And many different pockets of the earth that will benefit from these actions.
For more information on the benefits of zero waste living, follow the Zero Waste International Alliance, the Solid Waste Association, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Keep Reading: What Is Deodorant Made Of?
PAPR Cosmetics is on a mission to create conscious beauty products with as little impact on the planet as possible. Our products are fully recyclable, vegan, and cruelty-free. When we take down one tree, we plant a new one. For more information and sustainability tips, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Tumblr.