Living Zero Waste

September 23, 2020

#zerowaste #livingwastefree are hashtags we have seen grow over the past few years. This past zero waste week we have seen our feeds full of people trialling this way of living. However, living ‘zero-waste’ isn’t a new idea. Social media didn’t create this, people have lived this way for centuries. Even as recently as my grandparent’s generation people threw less out, were more resourceful, repaired more etc.

One of the reasons society creates more waste is because of planned obsolescence. The economics and industrial industries coined this term in the 1920s. It means to produce products with a limited use life. Either literally becoming unfunctional or just unfashionable over time. Phones are an example of this when new updates don’t work on older models. Apple had a lawsuit filed against them over this issue in 2017.

Because of the above and the excessive consumer marketing that surrounds us all the time, zero waste living is near impossible in our society. The issue is often discussed on a personal level, but the problem is bigger than us as individuals. So, with no guilt, let’s just continue to try our best.

Food Waste

One way that we personally have been reducing waste is with our food habits. Food obviously has a limited use life. Roughly a third of food produced for humans never gets consumed. If food is not composted or donated it ends up in landfill releasing methane gasses into our atmosphere. Meaning that if food was a country it would be the third largest producer of carbon dioxide in the world, after the US and china. This is shocking not only for the environment but for the 8.4 million people in the UK who struggle to afford a meal.

Top Tips

Use vegetable stalks in cooking. Broccoli stalks, cauliflower leaves etc are often thrown out when they are completely edible and if cooked correctly taste delicious. @MaxLaManna’s Instagram account is full of recipe videos using food scraps that might have otherwise ended up in the bin. He creates pesto, hummus, soups and more using ingredients that in majority of households gets thrown away

Freezers are such a blessing. Throughout history there has been much less food waste, yet we don’t have an excuse now because there is an easy option to preserve food. Did you know bananas are the most wasted fruit around the world? Freeze them to use in banana bread and smoothies. My grandparents used to fill ice-cube trays with herbs and water to use into curries and stews. Meaning there was no pressure to use fresh herbs immediately before they went off.

Compost, compost, compost – Food waste composting at home significantly reduces the methane emissions. For a guide on how to compost check this page out. Not everyone has the luxury of a garden, but composting can still happen in an apartment / flat. You can drop compost off at most allotments / community gardens.

Re-growing food such as carrot tops, celery, spring onion, herbs etc. This lockdown with slightly more time on our hands we have been re-growing vegetables from the scraps that normally get chucked in the bin / compost.

Once these habits are engrained into your routine it can save you pennies.

Throwing away less = purchasing less.

Obviously, the above options aren’t viable and accessible to everyone. Sustainable habits can be time consuming, expenisve and not everyone has access to fresh food. We only encourage people to do the best they can as individuals.