What a brilliant invention is Zero. Its meaning changes depending upon its use, add it to bank balance and you will see some happiness. Bring it to temperature and it turns liquid to solid, put it before figure and you could turn model. Add it to waste and you have a way of life.
Yes Zero Waste, (mind it waste not waist). As clear from the name it is a waste management system where the idea is to redesign processes, policies so as to have products without creating waste and hence eliminating the need for waste disposal and garbage management. As any environment-friendly would understand that Earth our home, has ample resources to take care of its inhabitants. However, with the ever-increasing population and wants, we have put an undue pressure on its resources. We are depleting the resources at a very fast rate compared to what it takes the planet to replenish them. Hence we need to be heedful of how we consume them, as we have a responsibility towards our planet and future generations.
Currently, the strategy of managing is to extract resources from nature (cradle), from where they go into manufacturing, then for distribution, from where it reaches users like us and after some time to incinerators or landfills (grave). This is known as Cradle to the Grave method, which isn’t effective considering the waste that is produced while production and after usage, the resources are wasted. That’s where Zero waste comes with a cyclical method rather than this linear one, Cradle to Cradle. This system takes its inspiration from nature where the waste of one becomes the resource for another, also at end of life, their design lets them go back to the cradle. In effect making sure there isn’t any waste per say.
It is all about redesigning the entire production strategy, about ideas and implementation, were from before there is more emphasis on minimising the production of waste while manufacturing itself, rather than being able to recycle it which is considered as the last line of defense.
The thing is that this concept doesn’t just help environment or climate, but helps companies by cutting their cost and individuals by focusing on Reuse, Reduce and Recycle, making life better at the whole. Many companies like GM (General Motors), Nestle, Hershey, P&G (Proctor & Gamble) have started their efforts to go Zero waste in operations.
If you think that it’s a task only for such big companies, and what we can do, then we can all contribute at an individual, community level, and that together will have a major impact along with others. Simple things like:
- Taking a sipper or reusable cup for your water or tea/coffee when you step outside
- Bringing tiffin boxes for your meals rather than paper bags, and for taking back leftovers from a dinner
- Donating clothes, shoes and other items
- Carpooling for long distance, and walking for shorter ones
- Replacing paper towels/napkins with cloth ones
- Replace shopping therapy with doing therapy
- Taking your own carry bags when going for grocery or other shopping rather than getting a new one all the time
- Use natural products rather than manufactured ones
- Avoid plastic as much as you can
These are just some examples, you can do lot more. This reduces the demand and hence supply.
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our Children”. Let’s pledge to return it in a better condition than the one we found it in.