We bring you the top five unexpected benefits you’ll experience once you commit to going zero waste.
We all know the environmental benefits of adopting a zero waste lifestyle. Doing so will reduce your carbon footprint, conserve resources and minimise the pollution you inadvertently create when partaking in a linear (rather than circular) economy.
By going zero waste you reduce the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill and the amount of plastic ending up in our oceans.
But there are also more tangible and personal upsides. Some of these benefits may be somewhat obvious (an improvement in your health by switching from a diet of processed, packaged foods to one of wholefoods, for example), whereas others may be somewhat of a surprise.
Here are the top five unexpected benefits you can expect to experience once you commit to going zero waste.
You’ll dodge questionable chemicals
Many of the beauty and cleaning products stocked on supermarket shelves are made from petroleum-derived ingredients, bottled in petroleum-derived packaging, which aren’t great for the environment or your own health.
It’s been reported that many of these products may cause both short- and long-term health issues, including respiratory problems, metabolic issues and chronic illnesses.
Simplifying both your beauty and cleaning regimes by using less products is one way to avoid these chemicals. Why use kitchen spray, bathroom spray, window cleaner, floor cleaner, toilet cleaner and bleach, when simple vinegar, baking soda and an essential oil will do?
There are also many simple household products you can make yourself, so you know exactly what it is that is going on your skin or being used around your home.
Our DIY citrus cleaner recipe and our apple scrap vinegar recipe are both effective general purpose cleaners. Add a little baking soda and some elbow grease and you can clean any surface in your home knowing you’re not breathing in noxious fumes from harsh chemicals. Plus, you’re reducing the waste you create by avoiding all those plastic bottles.
You’ll experience a sense of community
When you adopt a zero waste lifestyle, the way you shop for food will dramatically shift.
Conventional, artificially lit supermarkets are rather soulless places, with their rows and rows of uniformly arranged plastic packed wares and tinny musak on rotation.
Heading to your local farmers’ market, food co-op or bulk foods store allows you to get to know the producers of your food. They can impart their valuable knowledge about where your food actually comes for, its carbon miles, what’s in season and how to prepare the fresh produce you buy.
There’s a real sense of community from shopping in this manner, and as we’ve all discovered over the past two years, a strong, self-reliant community is vital when facing any kind of adversity.
You’ll enjoy some cash savings
There is a myriad of ways you will save money when you go zero waste.
In fact, you can read this piece to find out the 12 ways you’ll save cash while saving the environment.
For example, you’ll save money by swapping harsh chemical cleaners for homemade ones, simplifying your beauty routine in a bid to avoid plastic packaging, and making many food items from scratch.
There are also savings to be had from avoiding single-use items and opting for reusables instead, and simply eschewing the mindlessly consumption we’re all brainwashed into believing will lead to enduring happiness.
And when you do decide you can’t live without an item, sourcing second-hand or borrowing from a library (whether books, toys or tools) will also be much easier on your wallet than buying brand new.
You’ll up your food game
In a bid to avoid plastic, upping your game in the kitchen is pretty much mandatory, and choosing not to rely on ready-made sauces, condiments, packaged foods and pre-made meals will help improve your culinary game.
Learning some simple recipes for everyday food items like bread, crackers, pasta and pasta sauce, and even dairy staples like butter, ice cream and yoghurt will go a long way to helping you avoid excess waste.
You’ll become more self-reliant
One of the casualties of modern life has been a loss of basic life skills. Why mend something when you can simply buy a replacement, right? Why make something yourself when you can just slap down your hard-earned cash and purchase it from a store? Or so the rationale goes…
Living zero waste though inspires you to learn and develop skills such as mending, baking, preserving, foraging for food, composting, gardening and growing your own vegies, all of which enables you to live more self-sufficiently while also lowering your carbon footprint.