Zero Waste 101

What is Zero Waste? Zero waste is the process of eliminating reusable or repairable materials from ending up in the landfill. Zero waste encourages manufacturers, municipalities, and consumers to evaluate current consumption patterns and minimize single-use items. In order to divert materials from the landfill we must share the responsibility of producing and consuming sustainable products while limiting our use of disposable items.

Let’s start by exploring the zero waste hierarchy layers below:

Zero Waste Process

Reduce/Reuse

Buy less and use less! An important part of waste reduction is using natural resources wisely and avoid the use of single-use products that end up in the landfill. Also reuse items whenever possible! Investing in reusable and durable products will decrease the need for new ones. Keep resources from entering the waste stream and allow products to be used to their fullest extent.

Repair

Focus on mending broken or malfunctioning items that we would normally want to recycle or toss. Find practical solutions to repair items to prolong product use. Not only is repairing broken items good for the environment, in many instances it can save you some serious cash!

Repurpose/Donate

Transform the value of items by turning them into other useful items. Tap into your creative side! Transform your home or a room with decorative creations by revamping old items without wasting a dime! Remember to donate unwanted items that are still in good, workable condition to local organizations that redistribute goods to the public.

Recycle

Recycling is the last step in the zero waste hierarchy because all the steps above should be considered before recycling is an option. Recycling saves natural resources, reduces the amount of waste in landfills, saves energy, prevents pollution and creates jobs.

The Zero Waste Lifestyle

There are some challenges posed when making the transition to a zero waste lifestyle. Recognizing that there changes are needed to improve environmental conditions is the first step. Luckily, WasteFreeSD provides the resources to start your journey to a path of litter-free living. Live beyond recycling and rethink your waste, this will ensure that there are natural resources for many years to come. An open discussion about waste mobilizes our local community to find solutions to our every growing problem of creating unnecessary waste. This movement start with you!

There are 2 simple steps to embarking in a lifestyle that is litter-free.

  1. Take an inventory: Start by evaluating what you use and what you toss out. An average American generates about 4 lbs of waste each day, what is making this number so high? Your food scraps are abundant, packaging is excessive, products become obsolete, these are just a few examples of what is weighing us down. Consider actions like composting, buying in bulk, and repairing items; reassess the following week or month and watch your waste SHRINK.
  2. Take it slow: The transition to a zero waste lifestyle takes time and practice. Make small changes that move towards your goal of ZERO. This can be as minimal as changing your shopping habits like taking a reusable bag to making a list of items needed (so you don’t overshop). Continue to oversee your progress and make small goals for yourself that are attainable and realistic. Zero waste is achievable and it’s just a small step away!

Recycling at Home in San Diego

Many items can be diverted through curbside
recycling programs or collection centers.

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