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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

What is a zero waste lifestyle

The zero-waste movement is an eco-friendly lifestyle that aims to reduce the amount of waste an individual creates on a daily basis. The primary purpose of this lifestyle is a commitment to sending as little waste to landfills as possible

Climate change and global warming are no fiction. It is as real as the recent floods we suffered in Pakistan. The natural disasters and calamities we have seen in recent years are due to the rapid evolution of climate change and global warming. To understand the concept of zero waste lifestyle, we first need to have a clear understanding of the concept of climate change and global warming. Climate change means dynamic variation in temperature and weather. Unnatural human activities since the 19th century have contributed immensely to climate change mostly by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.

In this time of era, our ecosystem is very much vulnerable to waste and pollution that is being produced by human beings. For this very reason, the concept of zero waste management and zero waste lifestyle is very important to understand and adopt in our daily life. The concept of Zero-waste management was introduced in the 1970s with the meaning of “recovering resources”. The major purpose of the zero-waste approach is the arrangement of a circular flow of materials, thereby reducing waste to the minimum. Waste is also a problem resulting from having too much. It may be the sweetest cantaloupe you will ever eat in your life, but if the farmer planted too much cantaloupe, it’s going to go to waste.

Read more: Turkey and UN sign benevolent text to support zero waste approach

Understanding a zero-waste lifestyle 

Allah addresses this problem of excess in the Quran: O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the wholesome things which God has made lawful for you, but commit no excess for God does not love those given to excess. [Quran 5:87]

The purpose of a zero-waste lifestyle is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, which contributes to climate change and global warming. This lifestyle reduces our harmful impact on our ecosystem, encouraging sustainable living, biodiversity, and a healthy, productive balance of organisms. The zero-waste philosophy is based on the idea of managing materials in ways that preserve value, reduce environmental impact, and conserve natural resources. Recycling strongly supports sustainability by protecting the environment, reducing costs and producing additional jobs in the management and handling of wastes back into the industrial cycle.

Zero waste promotes not only reuse and recycling but, more importantly, it promotes prevention and product designs that consider the entire product life cycle. Recycling plastics cut down on the long degradation time while helping to make sustainable new products. Recycling improves the health of communities by reducing pollution in the air, water and soil by keeping toxins and waste out of landfills and incinerators. Recycling requires innovative design and management of products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of materials systematically.

Recycling supports our planet’s sustainable development goals on which our future generations are desperately counting. Making the switch to zero waste in your home or business doesn’t just affect you, but can also have many positive benefits in your wider community.

Read more: How can Pakistan learn from China’s success on zero emission coal power

The goal of recycling is to redefine the current production and consumption system, in which resources are taken from the Earth and, sooner or later, landfilled or dumped into toxic holes in the ground.

Recycling processes are also energy efficient. It takes 20 times less energy to make an aluminum can from recycled materials than raw materials. Implementing zero waste requires switching from waste management via incinerators and landfills to a value-added resource recovery system. Zero Waste systems reduce greenhouse gases by saving energy, especially by reducing energy consumption associated with extracting, processing, and transporting raw materials and waste.

The benefits of recycling are multifold with positive impacts on a very personal level that ripple out to your household, community, and the world at large. Save the Children organized Pakistan’s first-ever “Zero Waste Eco Festival” on 15 May 2022 to raise awareness amongst children and the youth about climate change and environment-related issues.

Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) is working vigorously to complete its 15-day Zero-Waste Operation successfully. LWMC CEO Rafia Haider said that the objective to conduct this operation was to give the final touches to our preparations before the mega cleanliness operation of Eid-ul-Azha. “The cleanliness of the city will be improved on top priority”.

Read more: Engro Polymer to launch think-tank for plastic waste management

Did you know?

1. It takes 2,700 liters of water to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.

2. It takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to manufacture one pair of jeans.

3. It takes 22 gallons of water to make one pound of plastic. In fact, it takes at least twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle as the amount of water contained in the bottle.

4. Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, generates over 13,500 tonnes of solid waste every day; implementation of the programs relevant to the sound management of chemicals and hazardous wastes will help to overcome land pollution.

5. Statistics indicate that more than 90% of waste in low-income countries is dumped or burned, there is no possibility of recycling it.

6. Every U.S. citizen generates approximately 808 kilograms of waste annually.

7. New Zealand is one of the first countries to adopt a national goal of achieving a zero waste policy. A number of companies are now embracing the zero waste concept including Hewlett-Packard, Kimberly Clark, and The Body Shop. Cradle-to-cradle (C2C) strategies are at focus on designing industrial systems so that materials flow in closed loop cycles.

8. The earth’s average surface temperature has risen about 2 degrees since the late 19th century.

9. The year 2016 and 2020 are tied for the warmest years on record.

10. The top 100 meters of the ocean have warmed more than 0.6 degrees since 1969.

11. Between 1993 and 2019, the Greenland ice sheet lost an average of 279 billion tons of ice per year.

12. The rate at which sea levels are rising worldwide over the last two decades is double that of the last century.


The writer has a master’s degree in Mass Communication from the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad and often writes on geopolitics, international developments, and strategic affairs with a special focus on Af-Pak affairs, Asia, and the Middle East. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.