Recycling is a great place to start but not to finish.
What is circular economy?
Circular economy is a sustainable alternative to today’s linear economic model. In today’s linear economic model products are made from cheap, easily accessible materials (like plastic) and the model is now reaching its physical limits in terms of resources and waste. In a circular economy, resources are regenerated, recovered and reused. In a circular economy the end product is not waste, because the materials are designed and made from resources that can be reused and made into new products after the end of their so-called lifespan.
Let me give you an example of circular economy: take-away coffee cups are made to be used only once and they become waste. They cannot be easily recycled, because of the plastic lining inside the cup. But when you use a glass jar or a take-away mug made out of glass, you don’t create waste on finishing your coffee, because you can reuse the mug. If the glass mug breaks, the glass can be remade into a new glass jar. No waste created and fully utilized resources.
Six tips and tricks for starting a zero waste lifestyle
Living a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t mean that you don’t create any waste at all, but more that you are making changes and trying your best to leave as little waste as possible.
1. Refuse the disposable
Refuse the plastic straws, bags, take-away cups, plastic containers and wrappers. Try to choose products, snacks and drinks that are not packed in one-use containers and plastic wrappers.
2. Bring our own
Buy and bring your own reusable cup, water bottle, straw, linen napkins or utensils so you can avoid using the disposable alternatives. If you drink coffee on the go, keep a reusable cup in your bag.
3. Use reusable grocery bags
When buying groceries, prepare before you leave the house and grab a bag or two, so you can keep your purchased items in them rather than buying a new (plastic) bag. Also get yourself a couple of produce bags or containers for fruit and other small items. Try to shop in bulk if possible.
4. Switch to more sustainable alternatives
Going zero waste doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t panic. Change your plastic toothbrush to a bamboo brush next time you buy one. Switch your liquid shampoos, conditioners and dish soap to soap bars. Take one step at a time and shift to a sustainable alternative when your product is no longer usable.
5. Make your own products
When you begin noticing all the plastic wrappers, you easily start to wonder if could you make your own products? The answer is yes – almost always! Many zero-wasters make their own toothpaste, deodorant, bread and cleaning supplies, etc. This also saves money and helps you avoid filling your surroundings with unnecessary chemicals.
6. Do research!
After you have adjusted to few changes, look up more tips and habits. On the social media, you can find more ways to reduce waste by searching for “zero waste”, “trash is for tossers” or “plastic free”. On Instagram and YouTube, you can connect with like-minded individuals to keep you motivated!
Always remember, permanent changes take longer to achieve, so, don’t try to change your habits at once.
Five key words for anyone starting out a more circular lifestyle or going zero waste
Author: Anne-Mari is an intern at *ship and a business student focusing on communication. She is passionate about the environment and believes that leading by an example everyone can make a big difference.