A comprehensive zero-waste strategy is the need of the hour for a stronger local economy, better community and environment. By reducing, reusing, recycling, we can benefit the economy and our environment.
How a Zero-waste Strategy Helps
Although it may not be instantly apparent, a zero-waste strategy can bring several benefits to the local economy through job creation. By reusing and recycling products, you can create business and job opportunities for your local community and help your local economy to retain more cash for greater fiscal sustainability. Reducing, reusing and recycling can help to create jobs, present investment opportunities so that the unemployment rate goes down. This will also benefit local industries since they will have access to cheaper raw materials for products thus bringing down the prices of their goods to become more competitive.
There is little doubt that a zero-waste strategy can boost the environment in more than one way. Since there is little to no waste, the risks and hazards posed by landfills overflowing with toxic waste (such as plastics that are not biodegradable) are greatly mitigated.
Recycling can also help you to reduce your carbon footprint and greatly reduce greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. While producing aluminum can consume a lot of electricity, recycling aluminum cans requires around 20 times less energy. Thus, you can realize great savings in energy and fossil fuels by ensuring that you recycle all of your aluminum cans. Likewise, you can save a lot of electricity by recycling other materials instead of having them mass-produced from scratch. Recycling materials is inherently more energy efficient than producing new materials. This can help to bring down the cost of goods and also minimize the adverse impact on the environment.
An incredible amount of food is wasted each year. Almost $30 billion in food items are squandered per annum. This is food that could have gone to food banks, shelters and other places that have much need for this food. By not permitting food to go to waste, you can ensure that it goes to those who need it most. Instead of being dumped and wasted, this food can be given to poor people and other vulnerable segments of society to prevent malnourishment and hunger.
Zero-waste Approach for Curbing Greenhouse Gases
Rising levels of greenhouse gases are a major threat to the environment. The concentration of greenhouse gases is increasing with each passing year due to increased emissions and fossil fuel consumption. It is our collective duty to bring down such carbon emissions to prevent temperatures from rising and wreaking havoc to the environment. Scientists fear that hot and humid places will become even hotter in the near future if the emission of greenhouse gases is not arrested in time. Although several steps need to be taken in this regard, one of the most fundamental is the well-known strategy of reducing, reusing and recycling. It is almost certainly unlikely that greenhouse gas reductions can be implemented without the implementation of this basic strategy that is well within everyone’s reach. Since everyone is capable of reducing, reusing and recycling, we all have the power (and duty) to play our part in reducing our carbon footprint through this strategy.
According to the estimates of the Environmental Protection Agency, around 40% of all greenhouse gases emanate from food production. We will have to make better food choices like cutting down on meat and supporting food production companies that take the environment seriously. Food packaging is also responsible for a substantial part of this pollution. Thus, we should purchase foods that use sustainable and recyclable materials for food packaging instead of plastics. Besides being bad for the environment, plastic also harms our health directly and it has been implicated in all kinds of serious illnesses including cancer.
The root cause of pollution and waste lies in our consumption patterns. Due to our lifestyle choices favoring heavy consumption of goods and services, there is a great strain on natural resources. To satisfy our seemingly boundless demand for goods and services, drilling for oil, mining minerals, mass production and deforestation are necessary. All of these processes harm the environment in several ways. Deforestation can for instance, lead to greater soil erosion and loss of wildlife. All of these processes are intrinsically bad for the environment since they entail heavy pollution. The problem does not end here. when we are finally done with goods thus produced, we dispose them off in ways that further harm the environment. Overflowing landfills filled with plastics and hazardous waste are old news. Now a huge amount of plastic is to be found in the world’s oceans, particularly the Pacific where it continues to harm marine life and devastate the fragile ecosystem. What does not end up in landfills and oceans is often incinerated instead of being recycled.
More Benefits of the Zero-waste Approach
The answer to all these serious problems is to reduce our consumption and wastage patterns. A zero-waste approach can help us to save the environment in many ways. Instead of dumping or burning used products, we should recycle them. Not only will this approach reduce pollution, it will also reduce manufacturing, mining and raw material extraction processes which are almost always detrimental for the environment.
Besides reducing pollution, recycling goods can also benefit manufacturers by giving them access to cheap raw materials. Consumers will be the ultimate economic beneficiaries as they enjoy lower prices as well as a better and healthier environment.
Reducing, reusing and recycling can also benefit marginalized and susceptible strata of society by providing them with business and employment opportunities. Thus, the 3 R’s can help to reduce social inequity and injustice besides benefiting the environment. A zero-waste approach can also bring down the high levels of chronic diseases by reducing pollution levels to create a healthy and salubrious environment for all.
Hence we must all take the zero-waste approach so that the earth is sustainable and safe for our future generations.
You can get started on your zero-waste strategy by availing the services of a reliable company that will help you with waste management. Click here to schedule an appointment.