Is it possible to be zero-waste in a consumer world?


One of the most common problems that has disturbed natural flora and fauna and has had a significant impact on the climate all around the world is global warming. As ecologists try to figureout different solutions to save our planet, one such solution, which has taken the world by a storm, is the zero-waste revolution. In contrast to waste management and recycling of waste products, zero-waste refers to waste prevention at all costs. Depending on a set of principles, zero-waste encourages the use of reusable items and discourages the use of single use items, such as plastic.

Companies like S Jones Containers, who sell and rent containers mostly for shipping goods, have also introduced alternative eco-friendly uses of containers for other purposes including conversion to buildings, show rooms and exhibition units, which facilitates waste reduction. Governments, organisations and citizens of different countries around the world have already come together to tackle the unnecessary generation of plastic waste. Recently, the UK government announced a 25-year plan which aims at setting a global gold standard on completely eliminating plastic from the region.

However, a number of modern-day consumers, who have always used plastic for shopping and storing different types of things, cannot imagine their lives without single-use plastic bags or plastic storage containers. As you walk down the aisles of the local supermarket, you will find shelves filled with items such as rice, pasta, flour and even vegetables in plastic bags, and drinkables such as milk and juices in plastic bottles. Takeaway food and desserts also tend to come in plastic containers. On the other hand, when we shop online, all our items get delivered in bulky packets that use loads of plastic for packaging the items. With so much of plastic being usedin our day-to-day lives, all we do is toss those single-use plastic items into the trash and never look at them again. This unmindful trash, generated by us over manyyears, has now led to plastic pollution, which has had a considerable effect on the health and well-being of humans, as well as the environment.

Although living a life without plastic might sound unimaginable, it is not impossible. If we look back deep into our own history, we can find simple solutions, which can help us live a zero-waste life. One thing that many people never think of is the world before plastic. For many of us, plastic has existed forforever. While plastic was actually invented in the early 19th century, it was only processed to make disposable plastic items untilthe end of the 1950s. It was only after the 1960s thatthe mass production of single-use plastic started and it became popular all over the world.

So, how did people manage before the introduction of single-use plastic? The simple answer to this complex question is they had resources available to survive. Whenever people went out for shopping, they would bring several items, such as fruits, vegetables, bread and poultry, wrapped up in a paper. On the other hand, items such as milk, jams and sauces were available in glass bottles,which were either returnable or reusable. Additionally, people used reusable bags, containers and bottles to store everything, and would often clean and reuse them over time.

As it is not possible to go zero-waste overnight, one of the simplest ways to eliminate plastic from our everyday life is by changing our perspective. We need to be more aware of how our consumption of plastic is endangering the world. As we start valuing our environment and natural surroundings more, we will start working towards reaching our sustainability goals. Both consumers and brands need to change their lifestyle and work together to completely stop the use of disposable plastic products.

As a part of the 25-year plan, the UK government is now urging supermarkets to set up “plastic-free aisles”. These aisles will consist of all loose food products, which will give consumers an opportunity to either use paper bags or reusable containers to store and purchase these items. Additionally, people are now being encouraged to cutoff the use of plastic straws or water bottles and use reusable straws and water bottles. Coffee-lovers are also being urged to carry reusable coffee mugs and get them refilled at coffee shops.

The ultimate goal of these initiatives is to conserve all resources by being more responsible towards consumption, reuse and production. Moreover, to go zero-waste, global citizens will also have to take measures to recover all kinds of single-use plastic products without burning them or discharging them into the land, water or air. With the help of these initiatives, government and non-profit organisations are educating consumers towards being more thoughtful before shopping. As zero-waste is a long-term goal, achieving it is possible, but its effects will only be seen after years of dedication and combined efforts.

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