How much garbage do you generate? The Zero Waste movement is swiftly picking up momentum around the world. It may seem daunting, but there are so many tips that we can implement in our personal lives and at work. Does your office have an environmental committee? It may be time to start one!
Why Zero Waste?
- Only 9 percent of plastic gets recycled. Much of what we think is recyclable is not, and that which is recyclable often doesn’t get recycled.
- Since many Asian countries have stopped the import of our low-quality plastic, our recycling industry is in crisis. There’s too much product and not enough demand, and as a result, nowhere for our plastic recycling to go.
- Many (possibly even most) types of plastic are toxic to us and the environment.
- By 2050, it’s estimated there will be more plastic than fish (by weight) in our oceans. This plastic is deadly to wildlife, who mistake it for food.
Follow the 5 Rs
- Refuse what you don’t need
- Reduce your waste and possessions
- Reuse items rather than using disposables
- Recycle and read up on the recycling rules in your municipality
- Rot a.k.a. compost
Make simple swaps
Go slowly, making a couple changes at a time. Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
On the go
|Use a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush and compostable floss.||Plan meals so you only buy what you need, and compost scraps.||BYO straw.||Provide loose-leaf tea and Zero Waste coffee.|
|Refuse cotton swabs made from plastic.||Choose unpackaged foods from the bulk section, produce section, bakery, and butcher—and bring your own (BYO) containers.||BYO water bottle.||Stock the kitchen with unpackaged fruit and bulk snacks.|
|Consider a bidet attachment, and switch to eco-friendly toilet paper.||Cook from scratch more often.||Use a travel mug.||Avoid single-use plastic and disposable cups in the kitchen.|
|Use cloth reusable cosmetic rounds to remove makeup.||Use reusable food wraps (such as beeswax wraps) instead of plastic wrap.||BYO containers to restaurants for leftovers or when picking up takeout.||Create a recycling and compost system.|
|Use cloth pads, a menstrual cup, or period panties instead of disposable menstrual products.||Use reusable pouches for snacks and lunches.||BYO cloth napkin.||Switch to ethically sourced office supplies like recycled paper.|
|For skincare/hair care/cosmetics, look for glass, metal, or paper tubes; refills; or solid options.||Choose glass, paper, and (non-bisphenol A) cans instead of plastic food packaging.||BYO cutlery.||Use a hand dryer or towel instead of paper towels.|
|Use a metal safety razor with recyclable blades.||Use cloth napkins.||Research bulk/refill stores near you.||Switch to recycled, Zero Waste toilet paper.|
|Use handkerchiefs.||Use cloths instead of paper towels.||Refuse receipts.||Use Zero Waste refill soap for the washroom.|
|Use solid, refill, DIY, or non-plastic-packaged cleaning products and soap.||Grow your own food.||Refuse unwanted/unneeded free promotional items.||Start an office eco-friendly committee!|