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Zero waste: how and why to embrace this positive philosophy

Everyday in the world are produced tons and tons of waste. Just imagine the quantity of waste you make every day and multiply it for 7 billions of people. The result is an enormous quantity.

To reduce the damages caused by this wasting policy is fundamental to recycle and upcycle the waste we produce.

It can happen that the recycling itself is not sufficient anymore to reduce the environmental impact and to keep our planet and us safe and healthy.

This is where the Zero Waste philosophy comes from.

It is based on the idea that the secret for a sustainable life is the reduction of waste and their transformation in raw materials.

In this article we will see in detail the Zero Waste philosophy, we’ll discover why it is so important and we will give you some advice to embrace it, reducing your impact on the environment and almost eliminating our production of trash.

Let’s start!

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What Zero Waste means

Zero Waste is a philosophy intended to limit as much as possible the production of waste to for reducing the use of dumps and incinerators.

Based on the European Union’s waste hierarchy a product has to be reinvented or its production to be limited or interrupted if it can’t be:

  • re-used
  • repaired
  • reconstructed
  • renewed
  • refined
  • resold
  • recycled
  • composted

Zero Waste philosophy follows exactly this logic.

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5 main concepts of Zero Waste philosophy

Bea Johnson, pioneer of the Zero Waste movement and blogger of Zero Waste Home, invented the 5R, five concepts that have become the bearing columns of the Zero Waste philosophy in all the world. Here they are:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Rot

Later it has been added a sixth R by the Zero Waste community: Repair.

These five concepts have to be followed exactly in the order they are presented.

Let’s see them in detail.


The first step to minimize waste production is to avoid refuses entrance in your house.

So learn to say “no” to waste, most of all the one caused by:

  • Disposable products like shoppers, straws, plastic dishes and cups.
  • Brochures, advertising, indesiderate mail
  • Anything that will soon end in the rubbish bin


Reducing means buying things with a precise aim, concentrating on necessary purchases and avoiding to buy anything we don’t really need.

Try to avoid impulsive shopping and fast fashion or low-cost electronic purchases. Slow fashion products can be a good solution.


When we talk about reuse, we mean the use of products that are not disposable.

Any examples? Try to prefer cloth shoppers, reusable thermos, washable diapers or towels instead of scottex.


When you have followed the first three points, you just need to recycle waste.


There are two ways to create rot.

The first one is to recycle all the organic products through the separate collection.

The second way is to directly compost our domestic waste and using them, for example, as compost for our plants: a natural and biological rot that will make your garden greener and more vigorous.

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Why embracing the Zero Waste philosophy

In recent years, problems linked to waste disposal in dumps and incinerators are reaching worrying dimensions.

In fact, disposing waste in dumps has a great economic impact, moreover the biggest damages are caused by the emission of harmful substances for the environment, that have a heavy impact on the quality of air, water and soil. It is obvious that is fundamental reducing waste production addressed to disposal.

This change must be the result of a collective action, a transformation of our way of thinking.

Institutions too have understood the urge of this need, and many Italian districts have already participated to the Zero Waste movement. You can find a list of all the districts that has subscribed to it here.

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How to sustain the Zero Waste philosophy

Now that you have understood what is the Zero Waste philosophy, it’s time to practice it in everyday life! But… how?

Living a sustainable life is not an impossible challenge and, most of all, you won’t need to revolutionize your whole life to success.

You will need to adopt some little precaution that will make a difference in the near future.

So here are a few recommendations to help you minimizing the production of refuses and living a Zero Waste life:

  • Say no to disposable products
  • Avoid purchasing products with packing, prefer unpackaged ones
  • Don’t take your car for short-distance destinations. Choose instead public means of transport or have a walk
  • Prefer bio and sustainable cosmetics
  • Limit the shopping in big shopping center, choose instead to buy from local producers
  • Limit the use of paper, you can use your phone to make a shopping list instead

People caring about the world and the environment


In this article you’ve discovered what is Zero Waste philosophy, its main principles, why it is important and how to embrace this lifestyle.

With just a few precautions you’ll be able to keep a sustainable lifestyle, minimizing your impact on the environment and donating health to your body and to the planet you live in.

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