Z = Zero Waste
Why do we assume that there will be some amount of waste associated with everything we use?
We work to reduce waste, but that philosophy still suggests that some waste is inevitable. As an alternative to that common way of thinking, some people have begun to advocate the idea of Zero Waste. Zero waste is about throwing away less, but also about looking at everything as a possible resource. In nature, there’s no such thing as an “end product,” everything is part of an ongoing cycle. Working to live a zero waste lifestyle means striving towards a more efficient, cyclical consumption of resources. A zero waste lifestyle can improve the environment and your own quality of life by helping to save you time and money.
In just one year, HP changed their business practices to commit to waste reduction and saved $870,564 by reducing its waste by 95%.
- Replace disposable with reusable. Use rags instead of paper towels, real dishes and silverware, and reusable storage containers for leftovers and lunches.
- Form a buyer’s group with your neighbors. Everyone doesn’t really need their own ladder, do they? It’s not like each person uses it every hour of the day. Why not pitch in and buy a green product that many families can share? Start with one shared item, and see what evolves!
- Replace paper with e-documents. Much of what we throw away or recycle is paper that can easily be eliminated. Recycling is essential, but it is still keeping the focus on what to do with waste. Save those resources altogether by nipping the paper problem at the bud. Consider reading newspapers and magazines online, unsubscribe from catalogues, and switch to electronic billing and statements.
- Consider cloth diapers. If you have a baby at home, disposable diapers and wipes can create a staggering amount of waste in a short time. Cloth diapers and a local diaper service eliminate that waste.
- Frequent the local library—and find libraries that lend or rent other things, too. Kids and adults can rely on the library for books, music and movies—and use the concept of a library to think about other ways to borrow things before buying. Sharing means less is produced so the cycle of waste never gets started. You don’t mind borrowing a book, so maybe borrowing other things (tools, the dress you need for a special event, even a car once in a while instead of full-time ownership), will start to make sense, too!