The Zero Waste philosophy is about avoiding garbage, in particular non-biodegradable plastic waste.
The average German throws away about 450 kg of household waste a year, so more than one kilo a day. Recycling is theoretically possible with high energy consumption but in reality it often does not work for various reasons like the waste not being properly pre-separated. A large part of all waste gets burned. Every year, up to 10 million tons of waste worldwide end up in the oceans.
This has numerous consequences for the environment, humans and animals:
Often, marine animals mistake larger plastic parts for food. The indigestible garbage then clogs their digestive tract, so that the animals can no longer take in more food and eventually starve to death. Small marine creatures also take in garbage with their food, oftentimes micro plastic stemming from cosmetics and clothing. These micro particles pass through the food chain back to us humans and endanger our health.
The best alternative therefore is not to cause any garbage to begin with. This saves resources and protects the environment. There are numerous ways to avoid garbage, here are just a few suggestions and ideas:
- Always carry a reusable coffee cup with you
- Always have a container with you and have the ordered food packed right into it. This saves packaging!
- Go shopping in stores that offer bulk foods (in Vancouver, there is the Soap Dispensary: https://www.thesoapdispensary.com/ and Nada: https://www.nadagrocery.com/ to only name two)
- Second hand shopping because the textile industry is one of the most polluting industries worldwide