As we saw in the 3R-V, waste reduction is the first element to consider when talking about responsible consumption. Over the past decades, much emphasis has been placed on recycling and composting. A growing and highly commendable trend is towards zero-waste consumption. In a world of over-consumption, it's a tricky business. Indeed, some people have realized that recycling is a way of relieving their guilt, and that the best waste is the one we don't produce.
So what is the philosophy behind Zero Waste?
The philosophy behind Zero Waste is based on 5 key principles.
In fact, they're similar to the 3R-V, with the addition of one element and a few important nuances. Here they are:
Refuse the superfluous: This simply means refusing plastic or non-reusable gifts or objects, plastic bags, unnecessary toys, over-wrapping, paper advertisements...
Reduce to the bare essentials: Here we break it down into two elements that can be summed up as contenting ourselves with less to live better!
The first refers to a sort of dynamiting of our home to sort out and keep only the essentials. Everyone keeps things in their homes that they don't use. Others will use them most of the time. Give them away.
The second is to plan your next purchases according to what you really need, and make sure your purchase doesn't come with anything else you don't want (ex: cheese wrapped in saran wrap).
Reuse what you buy: First of all, everything you buy must be used until the end of its life! So if I buy something, I have to make sure that it's not a passing fad, and that it will be useful for a long time to come.
To this end, we'll be choosing reusable grocery bags and jars, good-quality, eco-friendly clothing, reusable personal hygiene products...
- Recycle everything you couldn't refuse.
- Compost the rest.
How can I join the Zero waste philosophy?
To achieve a Zero Waste lifestyle, we must first give ourselves a chance and understand that it's a process that will take some time.
In general, people who tend towards this philosophy will take it one step at a time. The idea is to adopt short- and medium-term objectives, encompassed by a long-term vision. So we all have the chance to choose the first step that seems best suited to our situation.
While there's no single recipe for a zero-waste lifestyle, there can be many ways to deconstruct our approach.
Zero waste approach by raw material
We could take the examples of plastic, gasoline or paper. You could begin by choosing to eliminate one of these elements from your life.
Of course, we're not talking about throwing away plastic toys that are still in use... That would be a pure waste, since they've already been produced. It's about using them until the end of their life, or ensuring that others will use them.
You could also make sure you replace your gasoline-powered car with an electric one, or use public transport. As far as paper is concerned, the idea is to reduce its use as much as possible: favor reading and transferring documents in digital format, avoid printing photos...
Zero waste approach by room or section of the house
You can go by room in your home and the undesirables that find their way into it, you could, for example, deconstruct your approach by finding alternative products for your bathroom, your kitchen, the children's playroom or your wardrobe.
For your bathroom and kitchen, you can opt to buy products in bulk. There are actually a number of beautiful businesses that are emerging more and more along these lines. For children's toys, they need very few (yes, yes, I'm telling you!).
Encourage outdoor activities, digital or audio books, wooden toys without batteries... As for your wardrobe, there are several options. A minimalist wardrobe featuring ecological clothing will be your salute.
Today, there are many websites and books that are excellent references when it comes to Zero Waste! While not exhaustive, we've put together a list of sites you can visit to learn more and get inspired about the steps you can take.
Zero Waste Homme by Béa Jonhson
Almost Zero Waste Family
Zéro déchet Montréal (you don't have to be a Montrealer... you can also search on Facebook, as many regions also have their own Zéro déchet sites).
Take out the garbage
10 zero waste bloggers you should know
Eco Loco offers several alternatives to help you adopt a Zero Waste lifestyle. You can visit our store to find out more.