My first steps towards zero waste

Over the past months, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of waste that I produce. Time has come to look at where I am at this point, and where I want to go.

Where I am

Here is the current state of my waste production and my efforts to reduce it:

  • As of today, I don’t use any plastic bag. I always reuse my own bag, be it to buy fruits or to carry other things, and I systematically refuse new bags that I am given.

  • I started to bring my own recipients when I wish to buy take-away food or drinks, be it a reusable cup for the taiwanese bubble tea shop or a Tupperware for the buffet. However, I still often happen to buy take-away food that comes in disposable packaging, plastic boxes or other Earth-unfriendly material.

  • Usually, I rarely buy new things that I don’t need. Nevertheless, when I buy, I don’t make a peculiar effort to select goods whose packaging and manufacturing process are good for the environment.

Where I want to go

Going 100% zero waste is not possible unless I totally transform my lifestyle, hence it is not my goal. Nevertheless, I’m a human being, which means that I am able to change my habits, little by little. Here are my concrete objectives for 2018:

  • I’ll stop producing any waste coming from take-away food, which I’m often doing. From this day on (Saturday 14th April 2018), if I intend to take away, I’ll systematically bring my own recipient. If the restaurant refuses it, I’ll either eat on the premises, or choose another restaurant.

  • I’ll select one common product, whose making process and packaging are bad for the environment, and that lacks a more ecological alternative, and learn to fabricate it myself. I’m not as skilled as my elder sister, who can make her own toothpaste, but I believe I’ll be able to find at least one polluting item that is not too hard to make by myself, and thus can be replaced.

  • Whenever I’ll need to buy something, I’ll first check if I can buy a second-hand item instead of a new one. If I can’t buy a used one, I’ll do my own research in order to choose the most environmentally friendly product. Symmetrically, whenever I’ll want to send an object to trash, I’ll first check if I can give it away. These precautions must become a new habit.

I have set these goals because they are easy enough to be feasible, but will still have an impact on my waste production that is both substantive and assessable.

Let’s do it!

Hasta la vista, baby

Appendix: why zero waste?

(warning: skip this part if you don’t like inconvenient truths)

Why going zero waste? Out of gratitude. I’m thankful for being born on a planet that was in a state as good (or even better) as the one received by the generations that came before.

As an individual that is part of the planet Earth, my responsibility is to make sure that the people who will come after me will inherit an environment that is as good, or even better, than the one I’ve been given.

Today, of all this waste that we produce, only a fraction is recycled, and out of this recycled part, only a tiny amount can really be 100% recycled. The rest goes away, gathering to create a plastic continent in the ocean, accumulating in landfills that are kept far away from our over-sensitive eyes, or contaminating our drinking water and food chain. This beginning-21st-century lifestyle (consume & throw away) is not sustainable.

I’m only a drop in the ocean and my actions will, at best, have an impact divided by 7 billion people. But I’ll be a thinking and active drop.

14th April 2018