Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The circle of life. Nature has devised of ways to ensure zero waste, and even the laws of physics support these various systems. Yet man is the only living thing on this planet that has somehow managed to defy the laws of nature and physics.
The average American family produces 121.8 pounds of garbage per week. In a year, this number becomes 6,351 pounds. Various types of post consumer waste like plastic take-out containers, packaging boxes, and even food waste all contribute to the inefficient use of our world’s resources. Since we have yet to develop fully waste-free methods of creating products, the effects are astounding.
Micro-plastics have invaded our oceans and are being ingested by the very animals we consume for food. Landfills are growing in size and number every year, leaching toxic waste into the soils, contaminating the food we grow and the rains we receive.
The level of pollution we have managed to create in the last century alone is incredible. But now people are starting to take notice, and are trying to think of ways how they can minimize their own impact on the Earth. Zero-waste practices are being adopted by many individuals, and a simple search on the Internet can yield hundreds of results.
Here’s how you can go zero-waste in your own household, and teach your kids invaluable lessons that they can bring with them when they grow up:
Harvest that rainwater
If you have a pool at home, you could use filtered rainwater for your pool water. If you are not ready to take the plunge into rainwater for pool water, you can still use rainwater in other ways. If you have a cover for your pool, chances are rainwater will collect on top of it. You can use a pool cover pump with a garden hose implement and use it to water your garden or your yard.
Refuse post-consumer packaging when possible
Here’s one thing every American family does that is entirely unavoidable: grocery shopping. The thing with groceries nowadays is that we buy individually plastic-packaged items and place them in plastic so we can carry them all at once. When you take your kids shopping, instead of the local Walmart, take them to a zero-waste grocery store where you can use your own reusable containers to store the items you want to buy. Or take them to the local farmer’s market where they can help pick and choose the food they will eat.
Use compost instead of store-bought fertilizer
A lot of times we seem to be buying or using man-made or artificially processed things that the Earth itself already provides. Take fertilizers for example. Most fertilizers come in a plastic bag, which as we all know by now, can be extremely harmful to the environment. If your home has a garden and you keep buying fertilizer to help your plants grow, you can make a change by switching to compost. Taking food scraps like fruit peels, unused vegetable cuttings and turning them into mulch via a compost heap will actually yield the same results for your garden without hurting the environment.
As we just moved into our new home literally a day ago, you can rest assured that we will be putting these tips to good use in our own home as well. Having grown up on a farm, we learned early on how to recycle and reuse and I cannot wait to pass along this information to my own children.