This article is published with permission by Andrea to re-post her comments from the Be Zero Instagram page.
The term zero waste originally wasn't intended to be implemented as a lifestyle trend of sorts - it's actually an industrial term which refers to a circular economy - where we design, manufacture, consume, and recover in a circular fashion without waste as an end product. Unlike our current linear economy, which means we design for the dump.
So many people take the "zero waste" term as though it's all in or nothing...as though you don't consume or participate in any other thing that could be waste related. The premise of zero waste is actually to look carefully at what we are designing, to embrace careful consumption, material mindfulness, resourcefulness, simplicity, and to revisit craftsmanship of our products and services. It's about bringing value back into our belongings.
The shift is about changing our attitudes towards consumerism, resources, and materials. We also have to understand that anything we consume right now can be spun with a bad environmental breakdown, that's because we've designed infrastructure, manufacturing, consumption, and disposal with waste and convenience in mind. So by living/having a zero-waste/circular mindset it becomes our living protest against this linear economy of production and consumption. It's saying, I want a better outcome than the tons of trash and toxic plastics polluting our planet. I want better design, better recovery, long lasting, durable, reusable and repairable products. This level of consumer demand will ripple upstream and that's how change will happen.
There is no perfect system right now, but we can make immediate changes that are simple and powerful to help us get there.