Canadians produce approximately 6 pounds of trash every day, per person. That adds up to a collective total of 31 million tonnes of garbage per year — with only 30 percent getting recycled!
The key to a healthy planet is significantly lowering our greenhouse gas emissions by reducing what we consume and reusing as much as we can. Enter zero waste living. By implementing environmentally-friendly habits, you help reduce the amount of trash headed for landfills and decrease all the nasty pollution created by it.
Whether environmental, economical, or personal, there are numerous good reasons to start making zero waste changes to your lifestyle. Read on to learn 10 benefits. Then, start with the small sustainable changes that make sense for you. Future generations will thank you.
10 benefits of going zero waste
1 Backs local economy
Shopping locally encourages a circular economy that works to strengthen your community and fight climate change. This aspect of a zero waste lifestyle sustains local producers and creates new jobs (like repair and rental) that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
2 Creates conscious shopping
Meaningless shopping becomes a thing of the past when you buy what you need rather than what you want. Mindful shopping helps keep the planet healthy and saves you a whack of money (see below)!
3 Fattens your wallet
Whenever possible, purchase high quality items designed to last. They pay themselves off over time and you avoid spending more money on replacements. This is especially so for household appliances, furniture, and sustainable clothing. Opting for secondhand items will increase savings, help preserve natural resources, and reduce waste production.
When it comes to sustainable, non-toxic cleaning and personal care products, the initial investment can cost more than regular everyday branded products. But they’re made from quality ingredients good for you and good for the planet. That translates into long term savings for both your wallet and your health.
4 Fosters connection
Zero waste living inspires community involvement, innovation, partnerships, and sharing. It helps you meet like-minded people and sparks significant positive change.
5 Limits chemical exposure
Swapping out single-use plastic for glass, metal, and biodegradable materials will limit your exposure to toxins. Due to their BPA compounds and endocrine-disrupting additives, plastic materials have been linked to neurological issues, hormone dysfunction, and cancers. Plus, it can take up to 450 years for plastic to decompose. (Yes, you read that right — 450 years!) Who can wait around for that?!
6 Promotes positive habits
The modern world makes it very easy to get wrapped up in material things. There’s an abundance of unnecessary shopping and all the unnecessary stress trying to have the latest and greatest thing (especially when you can’t afford it). Switching your mindset and focusing on what you really want out of life will save you time and money, and provides mental relief that allows for the space to focus on things that really matter — like experiences.
7 Provides a healthier lifestyle
Going zero waste means fewer visits to the grocery store and choosing products that support your health. Reducing your consumption of packaged, processed snacks prevents waste production and provides everything you need to create balanced, healthy snacks and meals. All those ready-made foods contain a heap of sugars, bad fats, and chemicals, as well as a heavy dose of plastic and cardboard packaging.
Unpackaged, fresh produce and bulk food items (like grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and pasta) provide quality nutrition without unnecessary waste. And, when you shop for produce and other items at your local farmers’ market, you put money back into your local economy.
8 Minimizes pollution
Transitioning to a zero (or low) waste lifestyle is an excellent way to lessen your carbon footprint and conserve resources to help secure a healthy environment for people, plants, and animals.
9 Sets an example
People in your life will take notice of your zero waste efforts. Your actions promote conversation and provide a chance to share the importance of what you’re doing and how they can start establishing an environmentally conscious way of life. Setting an example for younger generations is a smart step to safeguard a healthy future for our planet — and a healthy future for them.
10 Supports sustainable companies
Unfortunately, the majority of big business isn’t as much about a healthy planet and people as they are about dollar signs. Being aware of how the brands you buy view fossil fuel emissions, the treatment of employees, and any other social, economical, environmental, and political issue you care about is key to a healthy, sustainable future.
Need ideas on how to get started with zero waste? Stick with our blog! We also share ideas and inspiration on our social media channels. Find links in the footer below.
Photo credit: NeONBRAND via Unsplash