If you’re a reader of our blog, we know you also likely keep posted on the latest environmental topics. Recently, you may have heard the term “zero waste.” This idea is not new but now is gaining momentum and attention. So what is zero waste? Basically, the concept suggests we reduce waste to zero (or as close as possible) by re-purposing the waste or by building products that do not have to end up in landfills. Ideally, products would have a long life, be repurposed once their use is over, and then finally be recycled or composted.
Keeping waste from burdening our already overloaded landfills is crucial. We produce a lot of trash and it’s adding up:
- Americans produce 250 million tons of garbage per year
- Almost 1/3 of waste is packaging
- And only 1/10th of garbage is recycled
- We have tripled our waste since the 1960s
- Every day, Americans produce enough trash to fill 63,000 trash trucks
- It’s not just the landfills: as of 1992, 14 billion pounds of trash were dumped in the world’s oceans
This all matters for many reasons. Such volumes of waste harm the air, land, and water and pose a threat to humans and animals alike.
Yikes! What can you do to implement a zero waste lifestyle? A great strategy is to “Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot,” and in that order. Here are some easy tips:
- Compost! 40% of San Diegans’ trash is compostable. Solana Center offers composting workshops and supplies.
- Buy in bulk. This reduces packaging. Many local grocery stores, such as Sprouts and Whole Foods, have lots of bulk options for dry goods such as rice, beans, cereal, nuts, and much more.
- Reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle. Use less. What is no longer usable, give it another life.
- Avoid disposables. The kitchen is a major culprit here. Did you know plastic garbage and food storage bags are not recyclable? Neither are plastic utensils or straws.
Have other tips or questions? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!