A-Z Challenge is here and most bloggers are busy. In April I am also taking a new challenge but it is a Non-Blogging challenge and I would encourage all of you to take up this particular challenge in the near future. This is the Zero Waste Challenge. Not, zero-waist (I will not even try that one as I love to eat) but zero-waste.
This month I will try not to send anything from my home to the landfills. It is easier said than done. Most of our stuff comes in plastic packets/bags/containers and even if we try it is extremely difficult to avoid plastic or other waste, and that is the challenge.
I am not a waste management expert but using research and common sense I have chalked down a road map. Therefore the first step would be to audit the waste and then segregate them. For the first few days, I wish to only review the waste that goes out of my house. The next step would be to segregate them. A major step in the zero-waste lifestyle is the segregation of waste into four broad segments:
- Kitchen waste: I would segregate this waste further into waste for Compost, seeds/stems/roots to regrow and food items that can be consumed by stray animals like bones, and leftover rice, chapati, etc.
- Reusable waste: Sell, Donate and Upcycle. Will use online and offline selling mediums to sell stuff those are in good condition but I have no need for them anymore. Donate whatever I can after making sure that they are reusable. For example, clothes that do not fit can go to homeless people, disaster relief, younger family members, or domestic help. Medicines can go to public hospitals before they expire. Leftover food from a big party at home can go to community refrigerator (I am lucky to have one in my neighborhood, others can give it to NGOs that collect food waste). Old books can be donated to the local library. Other stuff can be upcycled (this can include DIY and professional endeavors). I love to upcycle things and have been doing it for ages.
- Recyclable Waste. The need of the world is recycle, recycle, recycle, therefore will try to send as many things as possible to recycle plants. Most plastic manufacturers buyback plastic and therefore it can be given back, clothes can be turned into threads, paper can be turned into the paper, crayons can be turned into crayons, electronic items can go to designated drop boxes. Instead of throwing them to the trash bin will give them back to the recycling industry.
- Biodegradable waste that will go into my trash bin but they wouldn’t cause harm to the environment. I am confident this would be an extremely small amount.
I am a huge fan of Marie Kondo and often go through aggressive and exhaustive phases of decluttering. Declutter and zero-waste may sound contradictory however if you closely think about it they are not contradictory but complementary. When you declutter be mindful and segregate your waste judiciously and eventually your house and environment both would thank you.
Being mindful is the key and the first step to zero waste is to being mindful during shopping or accepting anything. REFUSE things that you do not need or that may cause environmental hazards. Being minimalist will automatically REDUCE consumption and that is the second step in zero-waste lifestyle, the third step is REUSE ( I wrote about it above) and the fourth step is to REPLACE (this is where you can replace your plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one, plastic bag to a cloth one, plastic container to a glass one and so on and so forth. Most people make the mistake of starting with the fourth stage and get overwhelmed in a few days. By replacing we actually create more waste and therefore we should progress to that stage gradually.
This is just the beginning of my journey, but I will be fine as I have been a minimalist all my life and never like to clutter my space. Now I have become even more mindful. Zero-waste lifestyle is a life of good habits. I have begun my journey now it is your turn to make your small contribution to mother nature by not contributing anything to the landfill or oceans. Hope to meet you on this journey.