Low Waste / Zero Waste Lifestyle is a term that's probably been making rounds in the media lately, and all for good reason too. Because let me tell you - It's the NEED OF THE HOUR!
It's important that we try exploring what it actually means and learn how to incorporate it into your life if you're someone willing to switch it up, a little.
Let's Briefly Discuss Low Waste Lifestyle
What Is Low Waste Lifestyle?
A lifestyle change where you focus on being mindful about your product consumption and waste production, in order to reduce the amount of trash produced by each individual which would otherwise end up at the landfill.
Why is Low Waste Lifestyle Necessary Today?
If the world reaching the tipping point with the insane amount of waste that has already filled up most available spaces, now is truly the time for each of us to start minding each and every product that you purchase, so as to minimise the chance for it to end up as trash.
What is the role of businesses in this low waste lifestyle?
This movement should also be initiated by businesses so as to keep a check on the industrial and business wastage that gets collected every single day. Businesses have the primary responsibility upon them to establish a better waste management system within their own establishment, so as to reduce the need for the consumers to have to keep a check on their purchases when that gets done at the base itself.
But what if I explain Low Waste Lifestyle in much simpler terms?
Low Waste or Zero Waste Lifestyle is all about trying to reduce the number of natural resources that you are using up and also to reduce the amount of waste that we create on a daily basis. Zero waste came to usage as a term to encourage industries and corporations to be aware of the large quantity of waste they were producing and to keep a check on that. It somehow trickled down through the pyramid and landed on the shoulders of the consumer. And we have taken it upon ourselves to try to control the products that we purchase and the waste that we produce. The more the number of consumers who take up this responsibility, the faster the businesses would notice and would find it necessary to give us exactly what we need. And that is a primary reason we as consumers do have the power to control the market if we put our thought into becoming more mindful about our purchases.
Should You Give It Your 100%?
The answer to this is completely dependent on each individual. DO NOT start this lifestyle, expecting yourself to be 100% committed to it from Day One. That's unrealistic and may trigger you to go back to your earlier lifestyle. It is a process which may take anything from a few months to years to incorporate into your lifestyle. Do Not Be Disappointed If You Mess Up! It is a part of this lifestyle as we're going against our decades of habits, so mistakes are prone to happen. Just forgive yourself for it and learn from it, instead of a guilt trip.
A Jar Of Waste?
So the Jar of Waste has been trending for years now. But is it necessary to restrict your waste into a single mason jar of waste?
NO, Not At All!
You do not need to start this lifestyle hoping to get to that stage. Because it may not even be possible for you and me! It completely depends on each individuals lifestyle, habits, location and so on. There are too many different factors at play here. So don't push yourself into perfectionism. Because it does not matter!
What matters is how much of effort you are willing to put in, based on your own limitations?! Because honestly, you don't NEED to get to the Mason Jar level ever.
It Gets Lonely In The Start...
The one thing that most videos or blogs don't tell you is that you may very well be ALL ALONE when you start living this lifestyle. Most of your dear ones may find your ways questionable or even annoying. But understand that they're just not used to a drastic change and it takes time in having them understand your lifestyle without any pass of judgement.
And don't try pushing them into following this lifestyle even if you do believe that it's the right way to go. They're going to resist and try to prove you wrong. They may even do the exact opposite, just to get back at you. (Yes, it's happened to me! 🤷🏻♀️)
So instead of forcing them to follow your lead, just let them be and let them observe you and follow your example. They will, in time, realise how you may very well be having a valid point, and choose to follow your way.
So until that day, just Peace Out! ☮️
If you're still willing to proceed with leading this lifestyle, there are few more things you may need to keep in mind:
1. Define Your 'Why'
Generally, each of us has a reason for starting out with some new venture. Likewise, for you to start out with this Low Waste Lifestyle also, you probably have a reason. Maybe you found it overwhelming to see a lot of people turn their head the other way, whenever it came to climatic changes or environmental problems. Or maybe you hated having to see garbage grow in mass all along your streets on a daily basis. Or someone annoyed you with their ignorant ways. It could be any circumstance that led to you realising that you needed to take a stand by yourself. And thus turned towards a sustainable lifestyle. So always keep your starting point and reason etched in your mind so that it acts as a motivation for you!
2. Measure Your Weakness
We're all super guilty of different kinds of indulgences that we take pride in. Sometimes, these indulgences may be counter-productive for our low waste lifestyle too. You may like purchasing different lipsticks every so often. Maybe it's shoes that's your fancy. Or you love collecting board games every month. Or you absolutely cannot resist ordering takeaway food 3-4 times a week.
And hey! It's completely normal to have those habits. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty about it. We all have a few of them which has developed over time.
The part where you may struggle is slowly and gently reducing these indulgences if they don't help your current lifestyle. I know it's hard to start cooking your own meal all 4 times now.
I don't want you to jump ship immediately. But every time you feel the urge to indulge, try and be mindful about it. And over time, you may very fell find new indulgences which may not hinder your lifestyle.
3. Plastics Aren't Your Enemy
Before you mistake my intention, let me say it out loud, " Plastic isn't our Enemy here, Single-Use Plastics Are!" Plastic was a very useful material which could be used for multiple purposes where a long lifecycle of the product was required. The harm started when it started being used for single-use products which did not need to be made long-term. You may have several plastic items at home which are of great use to you. When you're starting out the low waste journey, you do NOT need to throw away all those products in order to make way for greener alternatives. That would defeat the whole purpose! Instead, use the plastic products completely till it gets damaged or goes bad, and when you need to buy an alternative, then go the eco-friendly way! But until then, keep making full use of your products and don't try to throw it away just for aesthetic purpose alone.
4. Reuse or Recycling to The Win
If you have products that you're not too fond of, instead of finding ways to dispose of it, why not try to Re-use it in some other way? Gifting it to your friends and family or donating it is another option. But understand that donating is best when done to a specific family or organisation where you know that the product would be in good use, instead of a random organisation where you have no idea where it would end up. If the product isn't in good condition for either of the above processes, then the next stance is to try to send it to recycling centres. A lot of plastic we have at home may be recyclable. Make sure to ensure you check for that, before throwing it out. But let me repeat again, that Recycling is the very last resort. So never purchase items thinking that you could always send it for recycling at the end of its lifecycle.
5. Comparison Is A Killer
When you start with this lifestyle, you'll be super eager to check out other peoples' experience with it. You may spend hours scrolling through some amazing content that is supposed to inspire you. But wait.. are you starting to develop that 'green' emotion of jealousy, with all those pretty, perfect pictures? Now. STOP COMPARING!!! Your life is different from theirs and you definitely don't know the story behind each photo that you see. Hence it's easy to fall into the pit of Self Pity and wonder why you can't have it as 'easy' as them??! Realise that they've had their own journey and you are just starting on yours. Instead of self-pity and comparison, try feeling inspired by their work. Start conversations about it and start getting involved in the community. Trust me, you'll do much, much better!
By now, you should have a good understanding of Low Waste Lifestyle and how you can go about starting this journey. It may not seem too easy when you start out, but it will get easier over time. So put in that extra effort and you'll reap heaps of happiness about the tons of waste you would be saving over the years. So Keep Being You And Keep Becoming More And More Eco-Friendly, my comrade!
I'll see you in the next post.
Best, Nayana. ♥️