Zero waste living is a lifestyle in which an individual doesn’t use plastic, and most would be surprised how much plastic there really is. The goal of people who live a zero-waste life is to have none of their own trash sent to a landfill, an incinerator or into the oceans. This means ordering drinks without straws at restaurants, buying makeup and personal products in bulk, and not using products we may take for granted, such as band-aids.
According to costalcare.org, a nonprofit foundation that is dedicated to protecting beaches, eight million metric tons of plastic is put in the ocean every year. To put that into perspective that’s five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline on the earth, and the waste appears to be on the rise. For many people living the zero-waste life, their reason for making a change is to protect the oceans and save our planet. The excessive use of plastic is killing our planet one bottle, bag, or Q-tip at a time.
Vancouver has begun to realize they can make a difference in our own city. By the year 2040, Vancouver wants to be zero waste. Nada Grocery on Broadway street in Vancouver is a zero-waste version the average grocery store. The store is dedicated to selling products without packaging and making sure everything sold is compostable. All the leftover items in Nada are given to local food banks or composted in community gardens. The Soap Dispensary and Kitchen Staples is another company located in Vancouver that sells bulk soap and household items such as cleaners, and personal care items. Customers can take home products such as shampoo and conditioner in jars!
The amount of waste that gets discarded is discouraging, but thanks to the recent backlash against plastic that has been blasted over social media, some changes are being implemented. People don’t really think about how much plastic they really use. Many people may be more aware of not using single-use water bottles than ever but they have never thought about the exfoliating microbeads in some facewashes or the plastic on wristbands from the public pool.
Many would find it too inconvenient to live a zero-waste life. “There’s no way I could do that, I feel like I wouldn’t be able to get out of my house and not give in to the temptation of just wanting to buy a water bottle at lunch,” said Walwala Tata, grade 10 Riverside student. She added that the only change she would be willing to make is bringing a reusable water bottle to soccer practice or asking for no straws in a restaurant.
Many individuals believe that the lifestyle is much more expensive and harder to live, that it is unachievable to find food products in bulk and to not just give in and buy a plastic coffee cup in the morning on the way to school. The truth is it doesn’t take much effort just a reason and a commitment to change.