Today I want to shine a light on 3 common Zero Waste misconceptions that I frequently experience. I think it is important to address these misconception in order for the Zero Waste movement to continue spreading across the globe. Those misconceptions are:
Zero means Zero.
Wrong. It is impossible right now not to produce any amount of waste. Even the most experienced Zero Wasters still produce waste. Zero Waste is simply what we strive for. In the meantime, you may hear others using the phrase “less waste” as opposed to Zero Waste in order to avoid any confusion.
The term Zero Waste was originally created to describe a circular, or Zero Waste economy in which products are carefully and intentionally designed, manufactured, distributed, consumed, and recovered in such a way that waste and landfill are not solutions to a products. In a properly functioning Zero Waste economy, zero would actually mean zero.
Likewise, Zero does not mean zero because of the state of our current economy which is termed Linear, or cradle-to-grave. This means that products are cheaply and poorly designed/manufactured to be short lived and sent to landfill. Waste is an end result for products. Our current economy is the opposite of a Zero Wasters economy. We cannot avoid waste because of this cradle-to-grave model of design and manufacturing.
You have to fit your trash in a mason jar.
Wrong. The mason jar trash is not a requirement for living a Zero Waste lifestyle. Moreover, the point of it is to be a visual that gives you a better perspective on how much waste you are accumulating and what kind of waste it is. The mason jar trash can is not a requirement, but it can be something you can strive for in the long run! Do you have to do it? No. Can you still be a successful Zero Waster if you do not do it? YES! Do not let anyone tell you otherwise!
Zero Waste is all or nothing.
Let me start off by saying that it is so important to do what makes YOU happy. It is so important not to compare yourself, your Zero Waste journey, or your lifestyle to anyone else. My point in saying that is if you do not want to totally shape your entire lifestyle to fit more into the Zero Waste mold, you do NOT have to. That is okay! The ZW community loves any and all efforts. If anyone criticizes you and throws the word ‘hypocrite’ out there or tries to discredit you and all your efforts because not every single action you make is totally eco friendly, simply ignore it.
What I love about Zero Waste is that any change you make has a HUGE impact on the environment. If you decide that ditching plastic straws is as far as you want to go, that is awesome! If you want to change your entire life completely, that is awesome too! Do not overwhelm yourself. Go at your own pace, and change what you want to change. It is not a race. Any sustainable alternative to plastics/disposables helps the environment greatly.
If you come across these misconceptions in your own mind or with others, consider my words to help guide you! Remember that there will always be exceptions, mistakes, critics, skeptics, etc. Nothing is perfect nor should anyone ever stress about being perfect. If you have another tip that you believe to be essential, let me know!
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