By Cathy Earle, Eorth
When you hear the words “zero waste” or ”plastic free” they are often taken literally. It is assumed one would create absolutely no waste, and nothing purchased would be made of plastic.
While the goal of zero waste living is to create no waste, and the concept of plastic free is that you’re eliminating the need for plastic products, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to eliminate all waste and all plastic in your life.
The goal of a plastic free lifestyle is to reduce individual reliance on single use plastic. Plastic free or zero waste products, including their packaging, could be placed in a compost system or recycled — creating zero waste.
Products such as cling wrap could be replaced with beeswax wraps. Rather than buying water in plastic bottles — with the assumption that they will be recycled — instead use refillable stainless steel water bottles. And purchase cotton buds that use a bamboo or paper stick, rather than a plastic stick.
Single use plastic items as well as multi-use plastic items such will eventually make their way to landfill. That’s why zero wasters opt for wooden handled brushes versus plastic dishwashing brushes, bar soap instead of plastic pump soap, and stainless steel wire pegs rather than plastic pegs.
Going plastic free or living a zero-waste lifestyle does not happen overnight. You don’t just toss out what you currently have and replace it with zero waste options — that would be wasteful! But you can over time slowly replace the single use plastic items you commonly purchase, and make more eco-friendly waste free purchases.