4 Ways to Improve Your Sustainability Efforts and Reduce Waste Culture

Posted by Nadia Darwesh on

The matter of how to lead a sustainable lifestyle has been a huge talking point at the start of this new decade.

Points of concern have mainly revolved around man’s contribution to accelerated climate change worldwide. However, there has also been much discussion on related topics such as the toxicity of fossil fuels, the negative impacts of worldwide consumerism, and how to mitigate global waste culture. 

Given the heightened coverage, people are now displaying more of an interest in engaging on eco-conscious issues. Yet despite this, many still don’t know how to go about it without sounding too kooky, or on the part of men, girly.

On this score, two things are for sure. One, the best thing you can do is start. And two, surface solutions such as swapping out plastic straws for metal or paper alternatives don’t cut it anymore.

Below is a roundup of what does.

Zero-Waste All the Way

The zero-waste movement is gaining traction as a viable and enduring solution to consumerism. The aim of it is just that: to reduce one’s waste to nothing.

A frequently recommended approach to zero-waste states that rather than focusing on buying goods that are marked as green or sustainable, we should instead be more mindful about our purchasing habits.

This means opting for quality over quantity, especially when it comes to fast fashion. It also means being more aware of the amount and type of packaging that your favorite products come in, and redirecting your shopping needs towards more organic options such as home gardening or your local farmer’s market.

More Reduce and Reuse, Less Recycle

A surprisingly consistent strain of critique in recent years has focused on the negative impact of exalting the recycle stage of waste management over reduce and reuse.

Yet another by-product of consumerism, this neglect arises when businesses concentrate on selling more of their eco-unfriendly products to customers, promising to offset their inadvertent contribution to waste culture by taking on 100% of the recycling process.

While recycling is admirable, it shouldn’t be seen as the end-all of waste management, especially since research has shown that the process can at times require as much, if not more, energy and resources as the original manufacturing activity.

Next time you’re buying something that you believe will negatively affect your community’s sustainability efforts, take the time to find out about the recycling policies of the company. Doing this will help you make a better-informed buying decision and possibly even inspire you to open up constructive dialogue on the same with the makers of the goods.

Have Open and Inclusive Conversation

One persistent thread of critique on the sustainability agenda has been based on the belief that a lot of its marketing seems skewed towards women's interests. As a result, men get turned off by the idea of eco-consciousness or going green because it’s a bit too feminine for them.

Whether this is completely true remains unclear, but it does remind us of the need to have open and inclusive conversations on the topic with everyone around us.

Informing yourself about what sustainability looks like for a person whose life experience differs from yours based on gender, race, social standing, or location, is one of the best and simplest things you can do to spread awareness about it. Not only does it open up opportunities to learn and implement new ideas, but it also provides dependable avenues of feedback.

Do your civic duty

It is your duty as a citizen to pay attention to the policies that influence your country’s ecological outlook. By exercising your right to vote, you can help effect massive change where it matters the most: in the regulation of corporations and industry, some of which have committed the biggest of ecological crimes.

Stay updated by reading the news and frequently researching suggested legislative strategies that will help to offset further disaster. Change.org and Avaaz.org are examples of online activist platforms where you can freely and actively campaign for change regardless of where you are in the world.
 
Which method sustainability method have you been inspired to start on today? Let us know.

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels

References:

  1. Shrestha, Priyanka. “Climate Change: Scientists Say Last Decade Was Warmest on Record.” Energy Live News, 16 Jan., 2020, https:/www.energylivenews.com/2020/01/16/climate-change-scientists-say-last-decade-was-warmest-on-record/.
  2. Lowrey, Annie. “The Case Against Paper Straws.” The Atlantic, 20 Aug., 2019, https:/www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/08/paper-straws-wont-stop-climate-change/596302/.
  3. Somerville, Madeleine. “Yes, You Recycle. But Until You Start Reducing, You’re Still Killing the Planet.” The Guardian, 19 Jan., 2016, https:/www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/jan/19/eco-friendly-living-sustainability-recycling-reducing-saving-the-planet
  4. Brough, Aaron R. Wilkie, James E.B. “Men Resist Green Behaviour as Unmanly.” Scientific American, 26 Dec., 2017, https:/www.scientificamerican.com/article/men-resist-green-behavior-as-unmanly/.
  5. Young, Angelo. “Coca-Cola, Pepsi Highlight the 20 Corporations Producing the Most Ocean Pollution.” USA Today, 17 Jun., 2019, https:/www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/06/17/20-corporations-behind-the-most-ocean-pollution/39552009/.

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