Monday, May 08, 2017 by Tracey Watson
While the modern sanitation system is a blessing that preserves good health and just makes life more pleasant all round, it is also a contributing factor to the huge amount of garbage Americans generate each year. Let’s face it, for most of us, once something is discarded in the trash can we never think about it again. It just magically “disappears,” right? Well, the problem is it doesn’t actually disappear; all that rubbish has to go somewhere.
Each one of us generates an average of 4.4 pounds of trash a day – or 1,600 pounds a year – and at least half of that ends up in a landfill somewhere. If we saw all that trash mounting up we would more than likely be more conscious of limiting it. As it is, for the most part, it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind,” and that has serious implications for our planet. [RELATED: Did you know that batteries take 2 million years to decompose? Read more about it at NaturalNews.com.]
A growing movement among young millennials and others to do something about this problem has led to many adopting what is known as the “Zero Waste” lifestyle. This group recognizes that just recycling and reusing certain items is never going to be enough to preserve our natural resources and protect the Earth. Resources like trees, petroleum and precious metals are extracted for the timber, agricultural, mining and petroleum industries, and the waste from these industries is actually even far more of a problem than what we generate individually.
The organization Eco-Cycle points out that in the past 40 years, the Earth’s population has doubled, and it continues to grow at a rapid pace. If the use of natural resources continues as it has in the past, and we all keep using packaging as we currently do, we would need five planets to keep up with the demand. Drastic change is needed, with more than just increased emphasis on recycling and reusing; the planet’s resources as a whole need to be protected.
Zero Wasters have risen to the challenge, using cloth bags for fresh produce, getting perishable items like cheese from local farmers and keeping them in glass containers, and virtually eliminating the use of single-use packaged items.
And Zero Waste just got trendier and more chic, with the launch of the store Package Free, based in Brooklyn, New York, on May 1. The store sells directly to the public from that location, as well as online. Package Free sells all the items needed to virtually eliminate having to throw things away after a limited time. Available products include cloth produce bags, bamboo toothbrushes, silicone menstrual cups and non-plastic shower curtains. Instead of the usual plastic, beautifully packaged cosmetic products are housed in glass bottles and jars. And don’t go picturing a hippy den; this upmarket and gorgeous store is located in one of Brooklyn’s trendiest neighborhoods, and looks more like a gallery with its concrete floors, neon lights and high ceilings. It is easy to imagine that the store’s appearance and trendy location will attract a whole new demographic of shoppers to the Zero Waste lifestyle. [RELATED: If you’re interested in finding out how you can contribute to restoring the environment, visit Environ.news]
While the concept of Zero Waste is not new – it got its start under President George H.W. Bush, when Congress passed the Pollution Prevention Act – it has gained a lot of steam in the past few years, thanks to bloggers like Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers, Celia Ristow of Litterless, and Kathryn Kellogg, with her blog Going Zero Waste. These women have made it their mission to reduce their waste to the barest minimum, some even proudly displaying a year or more’s waste in a single mason jar.
Will you take up the challenge?