Getting Started – 5 R’s of Zero Waste

Firstly, what is Zero Waste?

Adopting a Zero Waste lifestyle, means that you essentially aim to send nothing to landfill.  For our family, of course, we do send items to landfill- we are not a perfect zero waste family, but we strive to be the best we can be.  Sometimes it’s called Low Waste, but for the purpose of this blog I will stick with the term, Zero Waste.

According to Bea Johnson (a Zero Waste influencer), there are 5 R’s of Zero Waste:

Refuse what you do not need.

Reduce what you do need.

Reuse by using reusables.

Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse.

Rot the rest (compost).

The order of these 5 R’s is of particular importance…notice that recycle is near the end?

recycle-1-1308687

 

So, let’s look at the 5 R’s in a bit more depth:

Refuse

  • Turn down freebies– don’t accept leaflets etc. (by all means talk to the people handing them out).  Leaflets are a waste of resources, and by refusing them you can help reduce the demand.
  • Opt for paperless bills– most companies are paperless now, which is great!  You can also turn off your postal marketing for other accounts, e.g. catalogues.

Reduce

  • Declutter your home.  Donate and sell unwanted items (please don’t just throw them out).  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?
  • Reduce shopping trips.  By reducing the trips to the shops and by keeping a shopping list, you are automatically less likely to buy things you do not need.  I love keeping a list (on my phone) of items that I think I ‘need’ – I usually realise that it was just a passing ‘want’ and many of the items get deleted off the list.

Reuse

  • Switch disposable items to reusable items.  Here are just a few ideas:  stainless steel water bottle like a Klean Kanteen; shopping bags; cloth nappies; cloth wipes; reusable make-up cloths.
  • Avoid food shopping waste.  Take your reusable bags for your shopping and use cloth bags for loose fruit and veggies.  You can also take jars for bulk items and wet items like olives from the deli.

Recycle

  • Have you refused, reduced and reused?  If so, it is important to know your area’s recycling policies.  Think of recycling as a last resort…it is not the answer.  Much of our plastic waste, unfortunately, gets exported to other countries.
  • Buy second-hand or in bulk.  If you have to buy new, opt for items made out of glass, metal, wood or cardboard, avoid plastic.

Rot

  • Find a compost system that works for your household.  Fruit and veggie peelings, hair, coffee grounds and nail clippings are all compostable.  Compostable waste does not breakdown properly when sent to landfill, as air cannot get to the organic waste properly.  Instead, it produces harmful methane into the environment and contributes to climate change (this is something I didn’t know until recently).

 

“Composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in three months.” www.recyclenow.com

 

If you try and stick with these guidelines, it will really help you to adopt a greener lifestyle.

Remember that everything that every person does to help the planet DOES make a difference.  Zero Waste is not about being perfect, it is about making conscious decisions about what you buy and consume and about doing the best that you can.

 

Thank you for reading this Zero Waste blog post.

Sending you love and light,

Louise 🙂

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

Featured photo by Byron Mctaggart from FreeImages

Recycling photo by jaylopez from FreeImages

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