Did you know that the average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash every day? The people promoting zero-waste living have a formidable goal: creating less than a jar of waste per year!
Zero-waste living aims to reduce local landfill waste as much as possible. People are doing it by using recyclable products and shopping for products free of packaging. Everything from safety razors to wooden cutlery qualifies for a waste-free living. And it isn’t just a “hippie” trend. There are a lot of benefits to living a more trash and plastic-free life, some of them unexpected. Here are just five of them.
Good for the Economy
Reducing, recycling, and repurposing creates 10 times more jobs than disposal does. A “circular economy” means one person’s waste may be another person’s new resource. The result? Good, green jobs as products are endlessly looped through the economy instead of being tossed after one use. There’s also an increase in jobs in rental, sharing, and reuse businesses. And the money spent remains in the community instead of being used to buy imported goods.
Good for the Environment
It takes 20 times less energy to produce an aluminum can from recycled materials than it does from raw ones. Zero waste can also be a key part of addressing climate change by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, 40% of which are caused by the production and use of food and packaging goods. Some people are doing their part by producing what they consume themselves and they’re often doing it on their roofs! And vegetative roofing isn’t just good for the dining table—it also improves air quality and increases indoor comfort.
Good for the Community
Americans throw away 50% of all produce, some 60 million tons per year. And that’s just produce! Community initiatives help redistribute unwanted food to food banks, shelters, and other people and institutions in need. Waste-free living approach promotes social equity and builds community relationships. And waste-free strategies like composting, tool sharing, and skill sharing help reduce waste and costs.
Good for Personal Finances
Consuming less and reusing more, instead of just recycling, can have an appreciable impact on your wallet. For example, simply cutting out convenience items that are often packaged in plastic and buying staples in bulk can represent big savings.
Good for Personal Growth
Unexpected benefits of waste-free living include the increased confidence and critical thinking skills that come from doing good for yourself and the planet. Who knew waste-free could be so good for you?
The key to successful waste-free living is understanding you can’t cut everything out of your life—it’s impossible! But small changes over time can have a ripple effect that make a significant positive difference in your life, your community, and the world at large.