Earth is full of natural resources that we are using every moment without even paying for and making this world vulnerable for the coming generations. To make ourselves conscious that we have to protect this environment for us, we have to make efforts as can switch to using products that are less harmful to the earth and its inhabitants by ensuring sustainable meanings to combat climate change, global warming, and various other threats that are affecting our environment badly. We can make this world eco-friendly and sustainable by adopting green measures like eating organic food, using energy-efficient methods, consuming less fuel, and more.
What is meant by zero waste?
The standard definition of zero waste as described by the Zero Waste International Alliance is: “The conservation of all resources using responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
Zero waste usually follows five R’s principles that is to Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle which means that we must think before buying anything that can we use another one already owned by us, or we can recycle or if in cases you have to buy make sure that it’s less harmful to the environment.
What are the benefits of Zero Waste?
Zero waste is vital for making this world sustainable and healthy for humanity in many ways. That’s why everyone is following the “Go Green” policy, which means that we have to make this world better for living by creating less harm to it and not exploiting its natural resources. Here are some of the benefits of zero waste as follows:
1) Improved health:
Whenever we visit any departmental store, everything is packed into plastic and boxes. It doesn’t mean that food or eatable is healthy. Instead, it causes severe harm to the healthy body and the environment because this plastic is not combustible. It remains there in landfills for years, causing carbon emissions. So we need to divert ourselves to using organic foods that are fresh and natural.
2) Improved lifestyle:
This era of modern technology has made us fool in the name of appliances and reliability, and we have just left behind the traditional methods of living using our minds. Mindfulness can give us better solutions like we can dry our clothes in the sunlight and fresh air. Still, we are forced to use these artificial machines that are causing severe damage to the environment by emitting toxic fumes. We should use the natural methods of cooking and cleaning instead.
3) Less toxic materials:
Adopting natural methods or converting to the less harmful practices, as in the case of bicycling or biking, rather than the driving car that uses diesel or petrol causing carbon emissions, can be the better solution.
What is meant by Second-hand stores?
Second-hand stores usually refer to the stores selling recycled products to reduce the hazardous impact that can cause the making of a new item. There is a famous saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” the same is with second-hand stores because by selling recycled items, you save them from lying in the landfills. In addition, second-hand stores are relatively sustainable because they don’t exploit natural resources like water, energy, or any other on that specific level which is a brand-new element.
Most of the time, we don’t focus on the fact that what impact a plastic cup can make on earth because to us, that doesn’t matter, but if we look at the fact that “According to the statistics of EPA, only around 32% of waste is recycled in the United States, on the other hand, a large amount around about 140 million can be seen lying in the landfills and only 9% of the used plastic is recycled on an annual basis. So looking at these facts, we must stress the need to recycle the items to reuse them to lower the impact of harmful chemicals or other toxins.
What items can we get from second-hand stores?
Second-hand stores are selling many kinds of items varying in quality and depending upon the fact that these things lower the impact of the things that have been already manufactured. Generally available items on these stores are listed below:
- The clothes
- The books
- Furniture items
- Kitchen appliances & products
- Kids toys with games
- Driving cars
- Home decor items
- Electronic elements & much more
So how are second-hand stores beneficial for Zero Waste?
Second-hand stores are ensuring productivity and sustainability by selling recycled items for reuse. These both are essential principles of zero waste. Many people are also shifting towards online shopping because of the awareness created to adopt the green policy. They order something needy online, so there is no waste of money on fuel or anything extra. In return, this can help the environment to sustain as there will be fewer carbon footprints. Online buying also increased during this pandemic because there was lockdown everywhere and modern technology made people survive.
1) Help to preserve natural resources:
Natural resources of earth were used to be infinite. Still, the man has exploited these a lot like for making papers trees are cut down on large number almost 95% of books are made of virgin paper, the plastic is made from the oil that has been dumped from the earth and to make a pair of jeans almost 1800 gallons of water are used for growing cotton, then its transportation cost, fuel that cause the carbon emission likewise any item we use has used natural resources that’s why they are depleting. But the good news is that when an item is recycled, it uses nothing of the natural resources because it’s only changed from one shape to another. Scientists believe that we have only 47 years of oil left. If we continue to use the oil at this level soon, we will be out of this essential natural resource. So, we must stress purchasing used items as they generate less waste and use no natural resources.
2) It saves energy:
According to an estimate, the transportation industry uses almost one-fourth of global energy consumption. Let’s look at the manufacturing industry for making products, for producing electricity. The sector needs energy in any form like coal combustion, nuclear energy, oil or natural gas, or any other. Hence, the energy consumption is high enough to process the electric machines. The second-hand items do not require such an amount of energy, and by adopting this lifestyle, we are making an effort to reduce renewable energy consumption.
3) Less demand for packaging:
Whenever we buy a new item, it’s packed, it’s evident that it has a cost to us and the environment because the plastic cannot be deleted or destroyed soon. The packaging industry would touch the one trillion $ by the end of 2024 if it continued like this. Then comes second-hand buying, which involves no packaging, so there is no or less waste, so we should divert to second-hand items to save our earth.
4) It reduces waste:
Mostly, we throw the used items without even thinking about how it will impact our earth or environment or give it to someone if it’s usable. If we look at the facts, only 15% of items or clothes are recycled the other 85% are just lying into the landfills or dumps as was waste creates serious environmental and health issues. Furthermore, second-hand items sell these recycled items without rigid packaging, so the chances are that these items will not harm the environment.
5) It helps to reduce pollution:
Have you ever thought before using any t-shirt about how much pollution it may have caused during the process of its manufacturing? No, we don’t feel like we buy, wear and throw it. From extracting cotton to the whole manufacturing process, it produces a lot of pollution. The pesticides fertilizers are used, the transportation fuel caused the carbon emission, the dying colors, etc. Transportation generates tons of carbon dioxide emissions, causing severe health problems. Buying second-hand items are relatively less polluting because they end up reused by another individual, so we must shift towards these to save the earth.
The world is becoming conscious of its actions towards environmental degradation. Countries are making efforts through seminars, online campaigns, and educational programs to make people aware of the eco-friendly environment and sustainability. For example, the United Kingdom is following a “Clean Growth” policy to ensure zero greenhouse emissions till 2050. However, we have to take measures on an individual and community level to save this planet, as in buying second-hand items to make this world a wonderful place for our future generations.