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Your Zero Waste Questions Answered

By The Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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This January we celebrate National Zero Waste Month, and that means promoting a zero-waste lifestyle. Here is Manila Bulletin Lifestyle’s helpful primer on all things zero-waste to help you get engaged in the movement, with questions asked by the hypothetical YOU.

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YOU: So, what exactly is the zero-waste movement?

MB LIFESTYLE: The zero-waste movement is a mindset rather than a hard target. The goal is to produce zero waste and eliminate all trash and garbage. This is a lifestyle that can be adopted by individuals, companies, and countries. According to Bea Johnson, author of Zero Waste Home, people who live zero-waste lifestyles do so by following a series of principles defined by the 5Rs.

Refuse

Refuse

YOU: 5Rs? Doesn’t she mean 3Rs?

MB LIFESTYLE: While many people are familiar with the 3Rs, proponents of zero-waste lifestyles suggest that there are in fact 5Rs we as individuals should be concerned with: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot. Here, we made an easy graph for you to refer to.

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Reduce

YOU: Hold on, shouldn’t companies and corporations get involved in this movement too?

MB LIFESTYLE: You are absolutely right! Even our local, national, and international governments and leaders! Currently, our products are made with a cradle-to-grave model. At the end of a product’s life, it gets dumped somewhere, creating waste, trash, garbage, however you call it. For companies to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle, products need to be made with a closed loop cradle-to-cradle model: the resources that go into a product should be repurposed for other uses at the end of the product’s lifecycle, just like in nature where one part of the ecosystem helps sustain another.

Reuse

Reuse

YOU: Well, that sounds like a good idea, but it also sounds like a lot of work. Why should we care about National Zero Waste Month?

MB LIFESTYLE: The lifestyle most of us currently adopt is not sustainable for our planet, and the 3Rs of reduce, reuse, and recycle are simply not enough to save us. According to the British Royal Statistics Society, only nine percent of all plastics get recycled, the rest is either thrown into landfills, burned in fires that create smoke that damages our atmosphere, or dumped into the ocean. The World Economic Forum suggested that the amount of waste dumped into the ocean “is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean per minute”.

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Recycle

YOU: That does not sound very good…

MB LIFESTYLE: It really, really, really isn’t. By reducing waste we not only conserve our resources, but we also minimize the water and air pollution that contribute to climate change.

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Rot

YOU: Okay, so what do I do now?

MB LIFESTYLE: This month, we are publishing articles by the youth of the Philippines on the zero-waste movement. You can check them out by clicking #ZeroWasteMonth, or you can even send us an article through mblifestyleyouth@gmail.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Most important, do what you can to minimize your waste, encourage the people around you as well, and do not be afraid to demand more of companies and the government. In the words of Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.



Source: Manila Bulletin

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