Waste is one of the biggest challenges, especially in developing countries, that we have been forced to reckon. As compared to the 1950s, our consumption levels and more importantly, what we consume have drastically changed. In this globalized era, where everything has been fast-tracked and ‘time is money’, we have found more handy solutions that save our time, but not necessarily our resources.
Furthermore, with the ever-burgeoning population, our waste quantities have been significantly increasing. This has led to a significant rise in cost for managing and disposing waste on our municipal bodies and local and national governments. Today, waste management has become a global issue due to multiple factors including lack of technical knowledge, mental modalities, budgetary restrictions, the pressure to address other equally critical issues like health, poverty, sanitation, etc.
Thus, today more than ever, it has become important to change our mindset and adopt a zero-waste lifestyle. A lifestyle, where we have about our waste before actually ‘generating’. A mental mindset where we actually recycle and reuse and be conscious of our natural resources and environment.
Before proceeding further, let us first understand what is waste? We, in Green Watch, believe, that waste in itself does not exist. The so-called ‘waste’ that we generate may be used for packaging; cola cans, plastic bottles can be reused; fruit peels, vegetable peels, eggshells, and leftover food can be used for composting, etc. What we all need to understand is that what we identify as waste and put in the trash are resources that can actually benefit us in different ways- both in the short and long term. And this understanding is what zero waste is all about.
What we or rather the concept of zero waste is trying to address is that rather than discarding our resources, simply because it appears to be easier and quicker, we should instead create a system wherein all our resources (waste) can be re-integrated fully back into the system. This would, in turn, shift the spotlight away from waste management to reducing waste generation and adopting 3Rs.
If this shift takes place, then it would lead us closer to the ideal of circular economy and to preserving our nature. But how does this happen?
Let’s try to make it simple. At present, we essentially unlimitedly take our very limited resources from the earth, we manufacture them into useful commodities, use them and then throw them into a big giant hole that is popularly called a landfill (which in most instances is unscientific and further causes harm to people, wildlife and environment). Living in this manner is known as living in a linear economy.
But this is an incorrect way of living. We cannot simply just take from nature but must give something back to it as well. Thus, the circular economy refers to an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. 100% circular is not in human hands as we don’t have powers to recreate and nature does not have economic sense.
‘Thinking zero waste’ is just a small step taken in the direction of a circular economy. Following the idea of 3Rs: reduce, we focus on buying only what we need, reuse what we have as long as we can, opting for non-disposable options when possible, and purchasing second hand if possible. Lastly, we focus on recycling and composting. The goal is to try to reduce and reuse as much as possible first. So, before you recycle something, can you use it for something else. A shift from the ‘use and throw’ mentality, to one where resources are reused for as long as possible.
Trying to live more sustainably doesn’t have to be rocket science. In our next blog, we elucidate on tips & tricks to live a zero-waste lifestyle. Green Watch believes that for a bigger impact to take place, small steps at the individual level must be taken.
Each and every one of us plays a vital role in contributing to nature. It is not about winning zero waste awards. It is not a competition to see who is more environmentally friendly, the most sustainable, or the most plastic-free. It simply requires us to play our own individual roles, not perfectly but making the right choice.
It’s just about trying and undertaking certain actions to transform it into a big movement of thousands and millions so that we can give back at least a little to nature.
With this platform, we sincerely hope to inspire you to lead toward a zero waste life.
Just believe in your green karma and change will be seen one day.
–By Team Green Watch