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Zero Waste (thematic block of the month).

by Diego Alejandro Leones Leiva | 30-09-2021 21:57 recommendations 0

Zero Waste or Desperdicio Cero in spanish is "The conservation of all resources through the responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of products, packaging and materials without burning and without being dumped into the soil, water or air that threaten the environment or human health".

Zero Waste goes far beyond using a bamboo toothbrush, solid shampoo, consuming food in bulk or filling a single-use plastic bottle. This concept entails a different way of looking at "waste".

Let us explain:

In the 1970s, single-use plastic leapt to fame, with a very effective and relieving proposition (for people of course): being able to get rid "forever" of everyday objects that would otherwise have to be cleaned, cared for and maintained.

In this way, zero waste arises as a response to the improper and excessive use of single-use and short-lived plastic.

This proposal has two fronts to consider: the practical side and the conceptual side. The first encompasses our actions as individuals and consumers, and the second, the design of the cultural, social and political scheme in which we live today.

From theory to practice:

From the practical point of view, a term you have surely heard comes up; the 5Rs.

Think of the 5Rs as Maslow's Pyramid of Zero Waste. This is a hierarchy of the planet's needs, which each of us can put into practice for our own well-being.

Here is the order to reduce waste. If the first cannot be achieved, move on to the next, and so on.

  • Reject: anything that we don't really need (plastic food bags, plastic water bottles, plastic razors). All plastic that can be replaced by another material that fulfills the same function, is rejectable.

  • Reduce: what is not needed. Of course, it all starts with being clear about what is essential and what is not. The idea is to make conscientious purchases, avoiding waste and extreme consumerism.

  • Reuse: it is about replacing disposable products with reusable products.(refillable water bottles, cloth grocery bags, second-hand clothes, etc.)

  • Recycle: everything that has not been able to pass through the previous filters.

  • Rot (Compost): the organic waste that remains.

The conceptual side of waste 0

This front allows us to understand that the waste generated by each of us is only a part of the issue at hand.

Waste 0 offers a holistic solution, addressing the problem as a whole. We as individuals can choose a zero waste way of life, however, the change also has to happen at the deepest level, where the sources of the problem are discussed, generating a change of rules and regulations that establish the responsibility of the manufacturer in this system: disposable to reusable, short life to durable and synthetic to organic.

It is clear that not all materials provide the ease of reuse to achieve a 100% cyclic system. Plastic, for example, is more harmful than any other material and provides little reuse value.

In a zero waste system, petroleum-based plastic must be completely eliminated.

Zero waste does not focus on a linear (end-to-end) industrial system, but rather a circular one, in which the end of one product means the beginning of another, just as in nature.

How do we as consumers influence this system?

While we consumers have little control over production systems like these, we have the power to choose what we want. And if what we want is not what we are offered, eventually there will have to be a change of direction in the industry, towards a more sustainable and circular design and production process.

In other words, our daily habits (practical side) directly impact systematic design (conceptual side).

Where to start?

We know that it may seem overwhelming to generate such a change in habits. However, our efforts do not have to be perfect. There is no destination to get to, but a road to travel.

The goal of zero waste lies in the way we shape our efforts and the way we meet our needs through them. It's a simple change of habits for a greater purpose... much greater.

Here are some products to start reducing our waste in simple ways.

-Bamboo toothbrush

-Reusable water bottle

-Reusable shopping bags

-Reusable coffee cup

-Solid shampoo and conditioner -Solid shampoo and conditioner


Let's remember that with small, imperfect changes, from a million people, we can contribute to a natural, beautiful and sustainable future.

As Gretha Thunberg says, "changing your habits is creating an opinion and sending signals to others to drive a larger movement.

Zero waste is no longer optional; it is necessary and starts with empowered, conscious individuals.
Zero Waste

Diego AlejandroLeones Leiva

  • El Salvador E-gen Ambassador Diego Alejandro Leones Leiva


Joon Mentor

  • Joon Mentor says :
    Hello Diego,
    this is your mentor Joon.

    Quite interesting analogy between 5R principle and Maslow's Pyramid.
    Never read such about it on the web even though I have read several articles
    about zero waste. As you have mentioned, it is not possible to go 100 per cent
    Zero Waste due to different reasons. One of the reason is that companies that
    produces the goods make the wrapping with the materials that are not recyclable.
    What we can do as a normal citizen is to urge those companies to use more eco-friendly wrapping best if could be recycled, but okay if it is changed to easily rotting

    Well read your articles and let's keep up!
    Posted 01-10-2021 03:30

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