The best way to embrace a zero-waste life is to make the most of what you already have, advocates say. But will it make a difference?
Scorning the convenience of cheap clothes, packaged foods and plasticware, more people are embracing the zero-waste movement. Through composting, recycling and shopping with one’s own containers and bags, adherents aim to reduce landfill and ocean waste in the coming decades.
Taken to the extreme, some households manage to reduce a whole year’s worth of rubbish into one small jar.
Though it is gaining global momentum, the movement has plenty of critics. Zero-waste adherents are often accused of being “elitist,” because it could be expensive or time-consuming to research and shop for groceries and household items at specialty stores. Some also question whether minimalist lifestyles can help the environment, amid a world economy that revolves around consumption.
But activists do appear to be making some structural strides. In recent years, large companies including Starbucks, Disney and Unilever have announced plans to reduce single-use packaging in their offerings. And more than 90 countries, including India and New Zealand have also begun taking eco-friendly steps such as phasing out plastic bags.
Still, waste continues to pile up. Each day, some 3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid waste are generated around the globe, according to the World Bank. And The World Economic Forum warns that there will be more plastic by weight than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.
In this episode we ask, what does it take to become a “tiny trash” household? Join the conversation.
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
The zero-waste movement is coming for your garbage – Vox
Conscious consumerism is a lie. Here’s a better way to help save the world – Quartz
3 Malaysians and local groups leading the way in zero-waste – Star2
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