You may have seen the term zero waste infiltrating your social media feeds or heard it amongst your circle of friends. Or Maybe you are an avid simple-living eco warrior intent on getting your waste to zero. Wherever you may be in the process, we noted down some of the basics to living a zero waste lifestyle!
1. It’s an Ideal
Don’t set yourself up for failure from the start by believing that zero waste means perfection. In fact 100% zero waste is not completely possible. Especially not in a place like South Africa. Rather see it as an ideal worth striving for. Keep in mind there will likely be waste you can’t avoid, waste from upstream (such as the restaurant you may eat in), not to mention that living a zero waste life is simply not accessible to everyone.
2. It’s a Journey
Becoming more sustainable and reducing one’s waste takes time. In fact it is an ongoing journey that never ends. Be patient with yourself and take it one step at a time. Accept the fact that it doesn’t happen overnight.
3. Separate organics
When food waste sits in a landfill (where waste usually goes), it generates methane and contributes to climate change (yikes). Separating organics improves hygiene, prevents contamination of recyclables and creates opportunity for any food scraps and other home-compostables (anything that was living) to generate compost for your garden. Compost can be created via a worm farm or garden compost bin and we recommend people who don’t have a lot of time or are new to composting to also use Bokashi to first ferment organic waste.
In South Africa the municipality doesn’t always collect, but you can find a drop off point near you or organise for a curbside collection. The most important thing about recycling is to engage with your recycler to understand exactly what they do and do not recycle. This also changes from time to time depending on what buyers of recyclables are willing to buy. So keep in contact! When it comes to storing your recyclables, depending on space, you can either mix all your recyclables together in one bin or you can further separate them into glass, metals, paper, tin and plastic. The more separated at source the better chance your recyclables have of being recycled. But don’t worry if your space only allows for one recycling bin.