Zero waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. It is a whole system approach that aims for a massive change in the way materials flow through society, resulting in no waste. The spread of industrialization worldwide has accompanied a large increase in waste production. In 2012, the World Bank stated that 1.3 billion tonnes of municipal waste was produced by urban populations and estimated the number to reach 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025. With the increase in human population, per-capita consumption of people is increasing where the resources in the environment are limited. Waste that ends up in our landfills, oceans, and incinerators all contributes to climate change. Currently, only 9% of plastic is recycled. Today the concept of zero waste is necessary as it conserves resources and minimizes pollution. This pushes our economy to be less wasteful in production and consumption and strongly supports sustainability. The zero-waste strategy may be applied to businesses, communities, industrial sectors, schools, and homes too.
Reaching the goal of zero waste requires the products of manufacturers and industrial designers to be easily disassembled for recycling and incorporated back into nature or the industrial system. Minimizing packaging solves many problems and prevents materials from being wasted. Consumers, industries, and non-profit organizations must be educated on how to reduce waste and recycle successfully.
Individually, the first step for obtaining zero waste living includes identifying the high waste areas of our life on the things that we consistently purchase and package in single-use or things that are difficult to recycle. It may differ from person to person. Some may have the highest waste of food products and some may have beauty products respectively. Now, one can find new routines for a zero waste life as routines can quickly become an automatic habit. It doesn’t take much effort to continue changes. Support eco-friendly businesses and buy zero-waste products, reuse, recycle what you can. We live in a society of instant gratification. People may think one cannot make a difference in such things. Going zero waste is not conducive to that attitude. It takes time and patience. It’s about the effort and concern of a particular individual to make the change. With just one small step at a time, we can greatly reduce our footprint.