Towards Zero Waste: Why “Less Is More”
Achieving zero waste means leading a responsible lifestyle with the goal of reducing the amount of waste you generate and, as a result, reducing your environmental footprint.
Unfortunately, we still don’t fully understand the actual impact of waste on the environment, simply because once we throw something away, we forget about it, shifting the problem somewhere else.
How much waste do we generate anyway?
The average European citizen produces about 500 kg of waste per year, a good 50 bags of garbage weighing 10 kg each per person!
Just in the last half century, we have generated billions of tons of waste (especially single-use plastic products) and much of this has been released into the environment, causing immense damage to water and land ecosystems. According to some estimates, only 10% of all the plastic produced in human history has been properly recycled, 14% has been burned and the remaining 76% has ended up in landfills or released into the environment.
All of this shows us that we are going in a direction that is unsustainable for our planet because it is unable to remedy all the damage we are causing it. Remember that, in nature, waste simply doesn’t exist. All natural by-products become an integral part of other processes.
The circular economy
Fortunately, there’s a solution to this problem. It’s called the circular economy! This economic model is inspired by what happens in nature itself. In the circular economy, everything produced is produced to last and be reused. This means that when a product reaches the end of its lifecycle, it can easily be recycled, composted or repurposed.
In a nutshell, when a product reaches the end of its lifecycle, the waste doesn’t end up in the landfill.
The zero-waste lifestyle embraces a circular mindset where the main goal is for at least the unrecyclable waste bin to always be empty!
Suggestions for a Zero-Waste Lifestyle
The good news is that we can all make a difference, and reducing waste isn’t that complicated. In order to render your lifestyle less wasteful, just follow these simple tips below. Are you ready?
As our grandparents used to say: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Nothing could be more true! If the goal is to reduce waste, we need to avoid producing it and throwing it away. So the first rule is to PREVENT waste from being generated in the first place, and the easiest way to do this is to purchase less and only buy things you really need.
Say no to packaging
If you think about it, more often than not, packaging becomes waste as soon as it enters your home. How can you prevent this? For example, you can always carry a reusable shopping bag or water bottle. You can seek out shops that sell things in bulk or avoid buying pre-packaged fruit and vegetables at the supermarket. You can buy products with simple, recyclable packaging. Always check the label to find out if the packaging is recyclable or not!
Watch out for single-use products!
Disposable plates, silverware and containers – it doesn’t matter what they’re made of – even if they’re biodegradable or paper, they quickly turn into waste. There are reusable alternatives for a lot of different products, just do some research and be prepared to change your habits.
It’s time to learn to do something we haven’t done in a long time: REPAIR things when they break! Repairing helps reduce waste, save money and support the local economy, especially when, for example, you get things repaired by a local repairman or artisan. You can also unleash your imagination and have fun coming up with creative ways to repurpose things!
Last but not least: SEPARATE YOUR GARBAGE. This way, recycling facilities can turn recycled materials into recycled raw materials that can be used instead of virgin raw materials. By choosing recycled paper, for example, you can keep lots of trees from being cut down! The same is true for plastic, glass and metal. If you recycle them, you help reduce the amount of resources you use.
A Zero Waste Farm
Here at Fattoria Triboli, we have always worked to come up with solutions to reduce waste and fully embrace the zero waste philosophy by 2024.
The bottles for our oil are made of stainless steel and can be used forever. All you need to do is rinse them out. Even our olive oil solid soap is a low waste alternative to the traditional bottle of liquid soap.
All single-use products are forbidden at Fattoria Triboli and each employee must properly separate their waste.
But that’s not all. Fattoria Triboli is always searching for new ways to reduce the waste it generates, even in its olive and vegetable growing practices. Stay tuned!
So, in the end, the best way to start living a low-waste lifestyle is to become more aware of the “weight” of your waste. What would happen if you kept all the waste you produce in your house for a whole month? Imagine that!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article. Now you have everything you need to start heading down the path to a life with less waste!