What is zero waste production

Zero waste: between aspiration and reality

Despite the success of the zero waste movement, a life without waste is still almost unimaginable for many people.

A lot is possible without the requirement of one hundred percent avoidance of waste. RESORTI shows you the facets of the zero waste movement and gives you tips on how to produce less waste.

What does zero waste mean?

Literally translated, Zero Waste means “zero waste”, i.e. complete avoidance of waste. The aim of this way of life is to produce no or as little waste as possible. The first step is to reduce the number of products that cannot be dispensed with. If there is garbage, it has to be recycled or composted.

This means: instead of unusable plastic packaging, reusable / compostable packaging is used; those made of paper, fabric, glass and metal. After all, every German throws away a lot - an average of around 450kg of household waste per year. Even with correct waste separation, only a small proportion of it can be recycled with high energy expenditure. The rest of it has to be burned - and that harms the environment. The answer: zero waste.

The principle behind the garbage-free lifestyle is based on the rule with the five R.

  • Refuse: Reject everything that is not necessary. No sample packs, no unnecessary gifts, no flyers.
  • Reduce: Reduce what is necessary: ​​two coffees a day and half a dollop of cream for your face? The result: less packaging due to fewer supplies.
  • Trap: Use reusable items such as coffee mugs, water bottles, jute bags, etc.
  • Recycle: What cannot be rejected, reduced or reused should be recyclable.
  • Red: Compost whatever is left over - coffee grounds, banana peel, hair, or the like.

If you follow these five Rs, you will save resources and protect the environment.

Beware of false idealism

If you are now rethinking your personal waste production from the ground up, it means: Beware of false idealism! Do not dispose of products that have already been purchased, such as the shampoo in the bottle, the strawberries (packed in plastic) or the polyester T-shirt. This would go against the new lifestyle even more than the actual purchase.

Keep using everything until it is used up or broken. A tip: There are special laundry bags for laundry made from artificial materials such as the aforementioned polyester. This prevents plastic particles from getting into the groundwater.

Martin Koch from RESORTI:
Are you interested in what happens to our waste after disposal? Then we recommend our overview page "Which garbage in which bin?". We collected a lot of background information and statistics there.

Change habits slowly and produce less waste

Zero waste is about changing habits. This learning process takes time; don't be too impatient on the path to a life free of trash. If you carry out the changeover step by step, in the end you will no longer have the feeling that you are missing out on anything.

We recommend converting one area of ​​life to the next to the zero waste concept. Start everywhere at the same time, quickly get stuck in chaos and lose motivation. Do simple things first to quickly sense small successes. For example, replace your normal plastic toothbrush with one made of bamboo. After a short time you will not notice any difference here. Even doing without the small plastic bags for fruit and vegetables in the supermarket does not limit you if you buy small, reusable bags instead.

Zero waste is a complex lifestyle that you don't internalize overnight. Therefore you do not need to be ashamed if you fall into old patterns or if you find it difficult to do without. Also, realize that your new lifestyle is designed to curb global pollution. This promotes motivation.

Advantages of zero waste for us personally

Not only the environment, we also benefit from the zero waste concept. Those who produce less or sometimes no waste will soon get to the point where the question arises: What do I really need?

The logical consequence of it all is that you have more space and time for the important things in life. Zero wasters, for example, finish cleaning faster, and the trip to the garbage can is less frequent (or not at all). Zero waste is also beneficial for your own health: By avoiding ready-made products, you cook and eat more healthily.

Zero waste, less waste - what is feasible? - RESORTI blog

Tips for a litter-free life

A lot of waste is generated by packaging: bags, cups, foils or cardboard boxes that end up in the garbage after being used once.

If you have an unpackaged shop or a packaging-free supermarket nearby, the challenge of producing less rubbish is easier to cope with than for those who have to forego this luxury. Without such a store, however, it is also possible to save waste.

Products such as fruit and vegetables or baked goods are also available in bulk in conventional supermarkets, so that you can do your shopping without a mountain of packaging.

Many refrigerated counters have yogurts and milk in glass bottles. The jars can then be reused for other things, such as storing nuts. Another possibility: walk through your place and see what things are available for bulk purchase. Many farm shops are not official unpackaged shops, but offer the option of packing things loosely. Don't forget to bring your own bags or jars with you. Anyone who has a garden or a large balcony can plant their own fruit and vegetables and thus reduce their packaging waste.

Are you looking for other ways to save household waste? In addition to our article on waste prevention, there are other ideas that can help you shrink your personal mountain of waste:

  • Always have a full water bottle with you.
  • Avoid finished and to-go products.
  • Take your lunch for work in a stainless steel can. Also practical for snacks or for leftovers from the restaurant.
  • Use beeswax-coated cloths instead of cling film.
  • Keep leftovers in the jam jar.
  • Use cloth handkerchiefs instead of disposable handkerchiefs.
  • Replace disposable cotton pads with fabric ones.
  • Use coffee grounds instead of peeling from the plastic tube.
  • Upcycling gives things that would otherwise end up in the garbage a second life: Discarded items of clothing are turned into dishwashing sponges, cleaning rags or the aforementioned reusable cotton pads - simply cut them out and sew them all around.
  • Self-produced foods are a good and easy way to avoid rubbish, for example bread, muesli, soup stocks, tomato puree or almond milk.
  • In addition to food, care products such as deodorant or toothpaste can also be made yourself without much effort.
  • It is the same with cleaning agents: Mix vinegar and water or citric acid and washing soda: your all-purpose cleaner is ready.
  • Do not order online anymore. This way you save unnecessary packaging and support the local retail trade.

As you can see, there are many ways to save garbage and get closer to the goal of zero waste. Check what can be implemented realistically and what things are compatible with your everyday life - without restrictions and in terms of time.

Less Waste: The realistic implementation of the concept

Adhering to the zero waste concept comprehensively and perfectly can seem utopian and daunting. Failure seems bound to happen. Every small step to avoid waste makes sense. With just 20% effort, each of us can reduce 80% of our waste.

The realistic implementation of the zero waste concept does not usually work without compromises. Everyone has to decide for themselves which these are. Very important: In order to achieve something sustainably, it is more productive when millions of people do not do it perfectly than when a handful of people do it perfectly.

Conclusion

To live consistently according to all ideals of zero waste is not possible for very few. Ultimately, it's about rethinking your own behavior and implementing little things. Nobody has to be perfect; even small waste prevention campaigns count. If the thought of not producing any more waste turns into stress and it's not fun, you won't keep your resolutions for long anyway.

We therefore recommend that you orient yourself more towards the less waste than the zero waste motto. If everyone contributes sustainably to the avoidance of plastic waste & Co., the global mountain of waste will become smaller and smaller.

Further information on Zero Waste