Quaker Minute Detail

5 Easy Ways to Move Toward Zero Waste

Grace Morrison ’22
Sophomore Grace Morrison explains Zero Waste and provides guidance on how to move towards that lifestyle.

You may have heard your local “hippie” friend talk about the environment and living zero waste, but what does that mean?
Zero Waste is a lifestyle based on eliminating unnecessary materials that have no viable or economic option in the end. The average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash every day. People who live a zero waste lifestyle attempt to change that amount to zero. Your first question may be, “Does zero waste really mean zero waste?” No, a zero waste lifestyle is the attempt to reduce waste, while also realizing that no one is perfect. We can not be sure where that paper we placed in the recycling goes, but one can hope that the right decision was made. Your second question may be,  “Where do non-recyclable objects go?” People who create small amounts of trash use methods of composting, donating, and repurposing. A zero waste lifestyle also includes buying only necessities. This includes purchasing sustainable products. You may say to yourself that living a zero waste life is impossible, but there are many simple steps that you can take today! Remember, this process to reduce your waste does not happen overnight!

5 Basic Steps Towards a Zero Waste/ Sustainable Lifestyle:
  1. Donate your old clothes, books, toys, and furniture. Why throw it away when someone else could use it?  The amount of waste in landfills has tripled since 1960.
  2. Shop at thrift and second hand stores. Do you really need to buy that new shirt, or could you find a similar one for a better price, and save the environment?
  3. Stop using plastic bags (this includes sandwich/snack baggies)! Instead, use reusable cloth bags. 
  4. Buy a shampoo bar. Think of how often you go through shampoo, and each time you put that bottle in the trash. Most shampoo bars only come in a recyclable box!
  5. Invest in a sustainable toothbrush, because over 1 billion are thrown away each year, just in America!

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