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Have you ever wondered what the benefits of zero waste are?
The truth is that going zero waste has unique economic, environmental, and personal advantages.
In this article, we will observe some of the most outstanding benefits of zero waste.
We will go through:
- Benefits of zero waste
– What does zero waste mean?
– Why is zero waste important?
– Why is reducing plastic waste important?
16 great benefits of zero waste
Economic benefits of zero waste:
1. No more meaningless shopping
One of the benefits of zero waste is that shopping becomes less frequent and automatic.
It turns into a more conscious activity. You will find many products to be pointless, and you will find simple alternatives to them.
For example, why buy an expensive window cleaning product full of toxic ingredients when you can make a natural one by yourself?
You will need a few ingredients, such as vinegar and baking soda.
Or what about kitchen paper towels? You can switch to cloth towels that you can reuse over and over again!
These are just two examples, but many similar ones can reduce clutter and save you money.
Related post: How to save $5,337 by going zero waste?
2. Focus on long-lasting products
Beyond that, it is buying only long-lasting and carefully-selected items, like clothes, furniture, and electronics.
This can also help you to save extra cash.
For example, when I started to adopt the zero waste lifestyle, a lot of times, I asked myself:
- Do I need that thing?
- Do I have something similar at home?
- Is it going to last? Can I make it by myself?
- Can I find it, second-hand?
Often, I concluded that I could either make something by myself, I already have a similar thing at home, or I can purchase it second hand.
Each of these options saves money and helps to avoid buying useless stuff.
3. No more food waste
Another principle of zero waste is to minimize household food waste.
For instance, a way to do that is to cook an appropriate amount of portions and not let food rot.
The goal is to buy only what we need, and not what you saw at a discount or didn’t truly need.
4. Zero waste community initiatives
Zero waste community initiatives can incorporate useful ideas.
This can be something like composting at the neighborhood garden.
Or even tool and skill sharing to reuse and repair, which again reduces waste and costs.
Additionally, community-based zero waste strategies could redistribute useful goods to people in need, such as:
- food to shelters
- used furniture for refugees
- professional attire for those entering the job market.
5. Zero waste encourages a circular economy
In contrast, the zero waste movement promotes a circular economy.
This type of economy is designed to be regenerative. It enables job creation while strengthening community bonds.
Moreover, the economic potential of recovering and reselling valuable materials represents new business opportunities that can help to grow a local, circular economy.
6. Zero waste creates more jobs
On average, zero waste creates 10 times more jobs through reducing, reusing, and recycling than through trash disposal.
More jobs are created in rental, repairing, reusing, and sharing businesses (e.g., car-sharing, apartment-sharing, tool rental).
Plus, local funds are spent on local products and services, instead of going outside the community to buy imported products.
That not only saves money but also reduces CO2 emissions by eliminating transport.
7. Zero waste creates connections
Zero waste creates connections with people through zero waste initiatives.
This also inspires greater community involvement, partnerships, innovation, and sharing.
It helps you to meet like-minded people and to spark even more significant positive change.
Personal benefits of zero waste:
8. Healthier lifestyle
Going zero waste means fewer visits to the supermarket.
It means reducing and ultimately eliminating packaged processed snacks and foods.
The benefit is that you will eat more unpackaged, fresh produce, and healthy bulk food items (like grains, beans, nuts, etc.).
9. Zero waste saves money
A lot of the zero waste practices include purchasing things mindfully, DIY’s, and also shopping second-hand.
Second-hand items, as well as recyclable and reusable ones, often cost less. So, you will be able to spend less money.
Once you stop buying wasteful everyday things, you can save a lot – to be precise, up to $5,000 a year!
Imagine what you can do with that amount – go on a trip that you’ve always wanted to, enjoy new experiences, etc.
Related post: How To Save $5,337 A Year By Going Zero Waste
10. Environment-friendly eating habits
The ingredients you find at the bulk store and farmer’s market will give you everything you need to create balanced, healthy meals and snacks.
As a result, your diet will contain fewer saturated fats, sugars, additives, and preservatives.
What is more, since meat and other dairy foods are typically pre-packaged, going zero waste goes hand-in-hand with reducing your consumption of animal products (which is ultimately better for the environment).
This will be a great reason to incorporate more vegetable protein, vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats.
Researchers concluded that the lowest carbon footprint diets are vegan and vegetarian, while the highest footprint is the omnivore diet.
One of the most effective steps in reducing an individual’s greenhouse gas emissions is to adopt a whole-food plant-based diet.
11. Getting in shape
A side benefit that you probably haven’t thought of going zero waste is weight loss, especially in the initial transition phase.
If you are usually grabbing already-made foods and snacks, they always come with a heap of plastic or cardboard packaging.
Frequently, such foods contain a lot of sugars, fats, and a lot of calories.
12. Creating new & good habits
The modern world promotes and encourages a lot of unsustainable habits.
For example, we are shopping mindlessly for new clothes and new cosmetics that we don’t need.
It is driven by materialism and purchasing more and more stuff.
Instead of spending hours of your free time shopping, you can:
– relax with a good book
– cook something for the first time
– go on a hike or a walk
– swim, do yoga, go for a run, etc
Environmental benefits of zero waste:
13. Conserves resources and reduces pollution
The present rate of consumption on the planet isn’t sustainable.
Logging in the forests, mining for silver and gold, and drilling for oil requires loads of energy.
We create a vast amount of single-use products, which pollute our planet.
There are also often violent conflicts between indigenous communities and corporate powers.
The zero-waste lifestyle is all about doing your part in conserving nature and its precious resources.
It encourages a shift from our linear consumption habits into more circular, sustainable ones for the sake of Earth’s preservation.
14. Supports the reduction of global warming
Another zero waste benefit is that it reduces humans’ harmful influence on global climate patterns.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 42 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are caused by producing goods, such as processed food and plastic packaging materials.
Reducing, reusing, and recycling can conserve that energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
15. Aims to preserve natural resources
The zero-waste movement aims to conserve natural resources and minimize pollution.
Reducing and reusing means fewer products are made, as people make the purchase less and demand products designed to last longer.
Additionally, recycling is not a solution in itself.
However, it does help keep waste out of landfills and provides manufacturers with recycled materials to create new products.
Did you know that it takes twenty times less energy to produce aluminum from recycled materials than raw materials?
So, even though recycling isn’t a solution, it has benefits, and it’s a great way to reuse the already created materials, even if they aren’t sustainable (such as plastic).
16. Encourages positive systemic change
Each consumer can choose to reject unsustainable, single-use items.
They can be easily replaced with reusable items, like glass or metal containers, canvas bags, reusable water bottles, bamboo straws, and utensils.
By refusing such items, the consumers can inspire and encourage different positive systemic changes.
For example, single-use plastics are starting to be outlawed and banned in Europe and some U.S. states.
These disposable items include plastic shopping bags, styrofoam cups, take-out containers, plastic straws, and utensils.
Benefits of zero waste – FAQ:
What does zero-waste mean?
The goal of zero waste is to redefine the current production and consumption system, in which resources are taken from the Earth and, sooner or later, landfilled or dumped into toxic holes in the ground.
Ultimately, it is the goal of trying to send zero trash to the landfill.
It is a replacement for the standard, linear economy with its wasteful model.
We can strive for a zero-waste lifestyle by:
- Refusing things that we don’t need
- Reducing our consumption to only what we truly need
- Reusing as much as possible
- Composting our food scraps
- Lastly, recycle what we cannot refuse, reduce, reuse, or compost.
Related post: What is zero waste, and how to get started?
Why is zero waste important?
The zero waste movement is essential as the goal is to break the unsustainable production/consumption cycle.
It is a radical act to boycott such ordinary, everyday things as plastic packaging and single-use plastics.
Instead of throwing stuff away, the goal is for all resources to be absorbed fully back into the system.
People who are adopting the zero waste lifestyle are living with the daily intention of not wasting resources.
Instead of that, they rely on buying in bulk and investing in high-quality, biodegradable products.
As consumers, we have the power to make a change by:
- purchasing sustainably
- spreading awareness about the importance of reducing waste
- supporting responsible disposing
- implementing actions one step at a time
Why is reducing plastic waste important?
It is important to reduce plastic waste because plastic is dangerous for our planet, humans, and marine life.
Rather than biodegrading, it photodegrades, which means it gets smaller but never truly goes away.
Additionally, plastic production requires lots of resources in the manufacturing process.
Products and the packaging they are delivered have to be designed, assembled, packed, transported, sold, and shipped.
These processes utilize electric energy, carbon dioxide, water, and human energy, among other resources.
If we don’t try to go towards a circular economy, new landfills will keep popping up, the litter will fly around roads and paths, and plastic will pollute rivers and the ocean.
The ultimate goal of zero waste is to move in the direction of nature, toward a circular economy where trash is no longer a thing.
The aim is to eliminate the general production of trash through conscious consumerism.
How zero waste helps the environment?
Zero waste helps the environment since it:
- Reduces energy-related emissions
- Reduces methane emissions
- Protects our carbon sinks
- Conserves resources and minimizes pollution
- Reduces plastic pollution in our oceans
- Decreases the use of fossil fuels and polluting toxins
- It causes the ripple effect and provokes positive changes
Zero waste is a fantastic movement that promotes living in harmony with our planet.
It inspires and shows that everyone has an important role to play in protecting our environment.
Adopting this lifestyle requires greater awareness, and it will take some effort.
Yet, transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle offers so many personal, communal, and environmental benefits, as we already saw!
Even if going 100% zero waste seems complicated, you can start small and take gradual steps toward a low waste living.