The tales of a massive floating island made of garbage is not a myth. It’s three times larger than France and contains 79,000 tons of discarded plastic. Commonly known as the “Great Pacific Garbage patch” demonstrates what mankind has done to the planet.
According to OneGreenPlanet.org, the US, which contains only five percent of the world’s population, is responsible for 30 percent of the worldwide garbage generation. Sounds terrible, but every one of us is responsible for this situation. However, it’s not too late. We may not undo what has been done, but we can reduce waste generation to a great extent if we are a little bit more considerate about the environment we live in.
An Australian couple has set an example in front of the world by adopting the zero-waste lifestyle by living on a plant-based diet. The most astonishing part about the couple is that they have moved to a tiny house to live waste-free when they are expecting a baby girl pretty soon. According to treehugger.com, the couple – Mark and Joanna have built this tiny house with the intention to welcome their child into a world.
Starting from a self-built deck to the simple interior of the house – everything indicates the minimalist approach of the couple in building the house. However, the house has everything that an average human being may need, including a kitchen, bathroom, sleeping loft, a lounge and even a nursery for the new-born baby. According to Livingbiginatinyhouse.com, it took Mark and Joanna 3 months and 50,000 AU$ (around 38,000 USD) to construct this home.
The house demonstrates perfectly that zero-waste living does not mean you have to live without life’s luxury. It only suggests that you need to be more responsible about your choices as a consumer. That will not only save you a considerable amount of money but also help reduce the amount of waste that affects the whole environment.
Leaving the regular routine and adjusting to the zero-waste lifestyle may not be an easy feat to achieve, but with a little dedication and some useful tips, you can also live a trash-free life like Mark and Joanna. Here’s how:
1. Quit the use of plastic packaging:
The disposable plastic containers generate around 13 million tons of non-degradable waste in the US. You can contribute from your end by ditching plastic packaging altogether. Instead of bringing the grocery in a plastic container, carry a mason jar to the grocery store to get the grocery items and the foods.
Also, find an alternative to the household essentials that come in bottled packages like the dish cleaner, hand wash, liquid soap, and shampoo. There are enough brands which have started producing the essentials in eco-friendly containers.
2. Do not waste away your food:
Food waste is another issue that you need to manage with strict rules. There is a significant number of people in our society who do not get to eat a proper meal on a daily basis. If you have too much left-over in your freezer, you can distribute the food to the underprivileged people.
If you don’t have that option, you should learn how to make revive the left-over food items and turn them into a delicious meal for the next day. Unlike the plastic waste, food waste is biodegradable, but it still causes a significant amount of trash, which you can regulate with some strict measures.
3. Reduce the use of disposable paper products:
The amount of waste generated from the disposable paper products is quite alarming. And since trees are being cut to produce all these paper products, reducing the use of disposable paper products has become a necessity for saving the environment from deteriorating.
Instead of using paper towels and paper napkins, use the cloth version of these products. Clothes can be washed and reused over a period. So it will reduce the amount of waste from your end, and also help you save some bucks over costly disposables.
4. Avoid plastic bags:
Plastic bags are easy to carry around and cost less than the bags made of jute, canvas or cloth. However, we know what plastic bags are doing to our environment. So instead of carrying all the shopped items in a plastic bag, bring an eco-friendly bag with you whenever you go shopping.
There are recyclable plastic bags as well, which you can use to reduce the generation of plastic bags. Also, try to buy things in bulk if it’s possible. Purchasing single servings means number of containers, which lead to more amount of waste.
5. Bring your own lunch:
Bringing your own lunch to work in a reusable lunch box can help reduce the waste generation to a great extent. According to RecycleWorks.org, disposable lunches generate 100 pounds of waste per person each year.
The generated waste usually contains to-go packaging and conventional plastic containers etc. Besides, the extra amount of food often adds to the garbage. Usually, when you bring your lunch with you, you know how much food will be enough for you. Also, this will save you some money as well.
6. Go digital:
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, an office worker uses around two pounds of paper every day. Considering the population of office workers in the USA, the amount of generated waste is humongous.
Instead of using papers for taking notes, making presentations and keeping files, use the digital format of those things to reduce the paper-generated waste. Use email to communicate with your colleagues, take notes on laptops and store files on cloud storage. This may help reduce the paper waste to a great extent.
7. Make use of compostable waste:
Every household generates a certain amount of compostable garbage every day. This waste includes parts of fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, eggshells, tea-bags, unbleached paper, houseplants, excessive food items and much more.
These are all organic waste. If you don’t have enough space or an outdoor compost pile, you can use Vermicomposting, where red wiggler worm turns organic material into usable compost pretty quick. Also, the municipal composting program allows responsible citizens to deposit organic waste at a particular place which will later be processed into usable compost.
8. Organize your waste:
A simple technique can help you manage your everyday waste in a more productive way. Organize your everyday waste in three different categories. Keep the recyclable wastes in a separate bin, which you can use later or give it to someone who can make use of those wastes.
Keep the organic waste in a separate bin, so that you can later use that for composting. And finally, keep all the non-degradable, non-recyclable wastes like plastic bottles, plastic containers, etc. to a different bin and deposit it to the municipal garbage collecting van.
As mentioned earlier, we cannot undo what’s been done. But it’s possible to make positive efforts to make this world a better place for not only the humankind but also for all the beings living on it.
Author bio: Joanne Criss is associated with My Assignment Help UK where she provides students with academic support. She has done her Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Aberdeen United Kingdom and has been a part of several NGOs in the United Kingdom.