Trash is a daily part of our lives: the wrapper from the mint that you just ate is trash; last month’s electricity bill statement is trash, and even the garbage bag that you used to throw out your waste is now trash. We produce more waste every day than we are probably aware of and our ignorance can be a problem.
Going waste-free isn’t impossible. You might imagine living the Zero Waste lifestyle in a house by the ocean or on a farm in a province. But making it happen in the city is something anyone can do, as long as you do it right.
1. Learn to say no.
Refusing plastic or any packaging is the first step to living waste-free. In malls, fast fashion boutiques stuff our purchases into large plastic bags. Food courts give away flimsy and disposable plastic containers for take-out orders. The next time you buy something, say no – nicely – to packaging. It’s always a good idea to bring a reusable bag or steel containers wherever you go.
2. Look for Zero Waste alternatives.
Plastic toothbrushes, dish sponges, and paper towels are pieces of trash that we often produce within our homes. Replacing these items might sound ridiculous but take note: there is always an alternative. Lauren Singer, Zero Waste advocate and the genius behind the Trash is for Tossers website, has a list of substitutes for household essentials. She gives the best alternatives to plastic waste and tells you where to buy them. From coffee filters to plastic ice trays, Lauren has you covered.
The concrete jungle of the city shouldn’t stop you from composting your waste. In fact, it’s easy to set up a compost bin in your home. If you live in the suburbs, do it in the garden. For condo dwellers, a rooftop or a terrace may be perfect outdoor spaces for composting, just ask your admin.
Get a metal bucket, preferably one with air holes. Place it on top of bricks or blocks of wood to keep the air holes open. Begin with your base: add old newspaper, leaves, composted soil, or low-moisture potting soil. From there, you can dump your food scraps from your meals every day. Make sure to keep it moist by watering the bin now and then. In a few weeks, you’ll have amazing planting soil.
4. Shop secondhand.
A big part of the waste problem in the world is the production industry itself. We produce more than we consume and most of the unbought toys, clothes, and food end up either in landfills or the ocean.
Instead of contributing to the demand, buy second-hand items instead. You can buy beautiful things in thrift stores for a quarter of its original price. You’re not only doing great things for the environment; you’re saving money, too.
5. Make your own products.
Lauren Singer is a sucker for Zero Waste recipes. She has one for almost everything: toothpaste, deodorants, and detergents (from which her brand The Simply Co. sprouted). Spend a few minutes on Google, and you will immediately see many natural recipes for beauty products made out of items from your kitchen. Learning how to make your products lessens your usage of plastic packaging from supermarkets and drugstores all while being very gentle to your skin.
6. Get creative.
Trash only becomes trash once it hits the garbage bin. But you always have the choice to give your trash a second life. Glass jars from mayonnaise bottles can serve as containers for the kitchen. Your mother had a point when she cut old t-shirts and turned them into cleaning rags. Glue together old popsicle sticks then turn them into an organizer for your dresser. Let your imagination run wild. Gather all your plastic bags and make a sculpture out of them. Turn your Pinterest addiction into productivity and use your waste for your creative projects. In short: have fun.
Zero Waste is more than just a lifestyle; it is the love you show for your surroundings and the environment. Little changes go a long way. Empire East Land Holdings, Inc. does its part by promoting healthy living and a lifestyle of fewer carbon footprints. Through its Transit-Oriented Developments and sustainable living, we can help contribute to the overall healing of the environment in our day-to-day lives.
To know more about Empire East and its homes in Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and San Juan, you may contact Empire East at landline number 810-3333, mobile number 0917-8-EMPIRE, or email [email protected].Follow their online accounts @empireeast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also chat with them on www.empire-east.com. INQUIRER.net/Katrina Tankeh