Should You Consider a Zero-Waste Lifestyle?

Did you know that the average American creates nearly five pounds of waste every day? That’s a lot! If you track where your garbage goes, you’ll find that trash often ends up in oceans, leads to air pollution — and causes other harmful environmental issues.

If you want to make a difference, you can explore a zero-waste lifestyle. This switch comes with various advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a look at whether you should become zero-waste.

What Does “Zero-Waste” Mean?

If you lead a zero-waste lifestyle, you create no waste. This philosophy means that you reuse, and eventually recycle, as many items as possible. It’s your main goal to ensure your waste doesn’t arrive at a landfill. This transition often takes several years to perfect.

Here’s a quick example. How do you make smoothies? Currently, you might buy packaged frozen fruit that you pour into a single-use plastic cup once blended. If you did zero-waste, you’d purchase whole fruits and have a reusable cup.

Remember that you want to create as little waste as possible throughout your day.

Benefits of Zero-Waste Lifestyles

There’s no denying that zero-waste has many perks. After all, your actions will positively impact the environment. It’s easy to see a connection between waste levels and climate change when you consider specific situations. For example, you may not know that landfills emit gases like methane that warm the atmosphere.

If you want to make a change, your most significant contribution would be to lead a zero-waste lifestyle. It’s certainly stressful to think about how one person can improve the planet’s health. However, you can make a tangible difference — and zero-waste helps. There are also social and economic benefits to zero-waste.

It’s important to mention that zero-waste has recently become more common. This development means zero-waste should be possible for everyone. There’s no longer a need to travel miles to a unique grocery store. Instead, you can use different supplies and methods to make your switch easier. It might be more affordable to be zero-waste since you buy more items in bulk.

What’s the bottom line? This lifestyle helps in many ways. It’s a terrific way for individuals to work against climate change, all while benefiting their communities and saving more money.

Downsides of Zero-Waste Lifestyles

There aren’t many downsides to zero-waste. That said, you’ll need to put time and energy into a routine that makes sense for your family. This process often takes trial and error. It’s also sometimes tricky to find replacement products. Makeup, for instance, has become more green, but you still have containers to toss when you’re done.

Some people have criticized how zero-waste can be non-inclusive. Even an expense like $30 for a new set of reusable meal containers might be out of the question for certain families. Others don’t have the space to grow fruits and vegetables to be zero-waste. These hurdles make zero-waste more geared toward privileged individuals.

It’s essential to consider every aspect before you dive into zero-waste. There may be other eco-friendly lifestyle changes that fit your situation. This process will be different for everyone.

How to Make Zero-Waste Work for You

Many zero-waste advocates state that “true” zero-waste doesn’t exist. Unless you personally make your clothes and grow your food, you still create waste even when you cut back. That’s why zero-waste should be about any effort to lessen your output.

If you only want to switch to reusable grocery bags, you can use that action as a stepping stone into a zero-waste lifestyle. It’s sometimes as simple as switching to a reusable coffee mug. Feel free to start with straightforward changes so that you’re not overwhelmed. If you want to dive into a completely new routine, you have the power to do so.

It’s all about what zero-waste means to you.

Zero-Waste Can Be Customizable for Everyone

If you’ve seen people with a few wrappers in their hands saying that’s the only trash they created in a year, you probably wonder how they got to that point. It takes time and dedication to become fully zero-waste. As a result, you might think you can’t lead this lifestyle. However, you have options — and zero-waste will be whatever makes sense for you.

About the Author

Jane is the Editor-in-Chief of and an environmental writer covering green technology, sustainability and environmental news.