The growing importance of a Zero-Waste lifestyle
Posted by Steve Kleber on Jun 14, 2010
Bea Johnson of Mill Valley, Calif., has her own unique supermarket rituals. She brings supplies such as glass jars and reusable bags to store the food items she buys. She makes her own cleaning products, and she returns milk bottles for refills. Zero-waste has become the lifestyle for Johnson and her family.
Elements of this zero-waste philosophy have already hit mainstream. Many shoppers already take reusable bags into stores to limit the amount of plastic bags they collect, or they use containers such as Tupperware boxes to take snacks to work as opposed to plastic sandwich bags.
The California state Assembly has also reacted to the growing trend of zero-waste. It recently approved a bill to ban plastic bags from stores. Many stores already implement plastic bag restrictions – some even offer incentives for customers who recycle their bags. Many Trader Joe’s locations give a small discount for any customer who brings in a paper bags for re-use.
The benefits of the zero-waste philosophy are three-fold: it saves money, is healthier, and it’s better for the environment. Without any packaging costs built into the price, food costs less. Buying in bulk at local farmer’s markets also help save a great deal. Many fattening foods come heavily wrapped and therefore should be avoided. Also, food is fresher when it doesn’t come in plastic wrapping. Especially if the food items purchased are fresh products from a farmer’s market. And obviously, less plastic used in packaging will reduce the amount of chemicals and oils used to make shopping bags. This will also lower the amount of plastic going into landfills and oceans.
For many zero-waste followers, it has become a refreshing, new way of life. “I think my family is a lot happier now,” said Colin Beavan, author of “No Impact Man.” “It’s not simply about less packaging, it’s about changing your whole outlook, about wanting less and getting so much more as a family.” And any activity that can help save money while simultaneously saving the environment and reducing pounds will only become more popular. Zero-waste is here to stay.
You can read about Johnson’s daily zero-waste lifestyle on her blog at zerowastehome.blogspot.com.