The zero waste movement consists of normal, everyday people working to lower the amount of actual garbage they produce. A combination of tactics is used to reach this goal, including lowered consumption, recycling, and composting. The following tips can help you lower the amount of waste that comes out of your home.
Tip #1: Refuse and Reduce
These are the most important of the tips, especially when it comes to plastic items. Plastic is not technically recycled, but it is downcycled instead. This means that a plastic item cannot be recycled into a similar item, but is instead recycled into something else that requires less pristine plastic. After this occurs a couple of times, the plastic can't be recycled anymore. Paper is similar, with the difference being that paper can eventually be composted at the end of its useful life.
Because of this, you should first practice refusing and reducing. This means don't take things you don't need, even if they are free. Think of the free pens handed out at events. Also, reduce what you do purchase. Avoid shopping as a hobby since the more you consume, the more garbage you produce.
Tip #2: Reuse
Reusing is the one step that many of those that are trying to be environmentally savvy know well. Plastic bags, bottles, to-go cups – these are all garbage. Reusable shopping bags are so popular that they have become the norm in many areas. Reusable cups and water bottles are also becoming more popular. If you are striving for zero waste, you may want to go even further. Consider putting together an out-and-about kit in a small bag. It should contain a reusable hot/cold drink container, an empty food container in case you need a doggie bag, a cloth napkin, a reusable fork and spoon, and a stainless steel straw. With this with you, perhaps in the car, you can easily turn down disposables.
Also, take reuse to the next level at home. Before throwing away anything, consider whether it can have a second life in your home or someone else's. Another idea is to shop second hand instead of always buying new.
Tip #3: Recycle
Recycling is a must, even for items with minimal recycling life. Find out what the curbside options are in your area. The simplest recycling option is multi-stream. You will be provided with a single bin which you throw all recycling materials into – typically glass, paper, and certain plastics. For any type of recycling that isn't handled by your normal garbage company, call around to others. In larger cities it is often possible to find companies that take just about every single type of plastic, although you may need to take items in yourself to drop them off.
If your curbside recycling doesn't offer single stream, put a separation system in place. Since you won't be generating as much garbage, repurpose those old garbage cans so they become recycling bins – one for each material that you need to separate.
Tip #4: Rot
Rot is another way of saying compost. Most non-meat and non-dairy food items can be composted. You can do this in a backyard composting bin or even an indoor worm composter. If you don't want to or can't compost, check with your garbage company. Some take food scraps for composting, especially those with yard waste removal services. They may even take meat and dairy, since industrial composting methods use heat to fully break down the food.
For more information, contact a company like Industrial Services Inc.