Have you ever heard of the concept of zero waste? Although the zero waste movement, which has been adopted as a policy in our country, has been interrupted for the last 1.5 years due to some hygiene concerns, we all need to support this movement by holding one end.
Bea Johnson, whose book has been translated into Turkish as Zero Waste House, is one of the pioneers of the zero waste stream that emerged as a reaction to the increase in disposable products, especially plastic, in the world. Johnson is a great role model, taking steps in every aspect of his home, from the kitchen trash to the bathroom, producing only 1 jar of garbage a year. However, if you look at your own house and look at at least one bag of trash that comes out every day, please don’t get discouraged. “Zero waste or less waste?” While discussing, the first thing you should pay attention to is what you are doing now and what you can change. Taking steps to reduce your waste, even if you can’t reset it. I will definitely talk about what you can do in more detail in the coming weeks, but today my aim is to bring you closer with zero waste stream.
Paper towels, tea bags, plastic bags or cling film, which we see as indispensable in our homes today, are actually products that have entered our lives in the last century. There was a time when all of these products were absent or substituted. If you keep this in mind, which of the disposable products is it possible for you to leave? For example, you can use a kitchen cloth/towel instead of paper towel in the kitchen, you can brew tea with leaves instead of tea bags, and if only one person is drinking, you can use a mug with a strainer or a latched strainer. It is also possible to use washable and reusable silicone bags instead of refrigerator bags and a storage container instead of cling film, a plate or wax coated fabrics if you want to cover a bowl. As I said, there are many product alternatives that we can use at home, and these are the first ones that come to my mind without even thinking about it. Today, I ask you to look at the trash can(s) at home after reading this article and write down the things that catch your eye the most so that you can choose a starting path for yourself.
So all we can do is replace things that generate waste with reusable materials? Sometimes our hands can be tied to say “No”. Then let’s take a look at the 5 steps of zero waste and saying ‘no’ in order, and see what we can do in cases where we can’t say ‘no’.
1. Say “No”
In other words, we can call it ‘rejecting products that will generate waste’. Disposable products, papers we print for nothing, items that we will not actually use or that we already have, even if they are not disposable…
Sometimes there are things you can’t say ‘No’ to. For example, if you do not have the chance to buy open products, the packaging of many foods such as pasta, legumes, etc. can be an example. Then what you can do is reduce the unit packaging. For example, choosing the larger size of the products you buy, if possible, buying a pound if you buy leaf tea instead of tea bags. And of course, as we mentioned in the first item, making a good distinction between wants/needs and reducing the instant purchases we see and like even though we don’t actually need them can be counted in this item.
We reduced it, but we still have the packaging. For example, a glass jar of a product you buy, like a shoe box. You can use them for yourself or those around you, or you can recycle them for another purpose. Jars can be used for so many different purposes at home. Making a pen holder, storing other spices, legumes, and putting food in the refrigerator are some of them. Speaking of shoebox, it can be a very good in-drawer organizer by covering it outside and inside. Thus, these materials are prevented from being waste.
If we can’t do any of them and we want to dispose of that packaging, then what we will do is to separate the material in our hands correctly. Generally, municipalities collect products such as paper, metal and glass directly or they recommend you to collect them in piggy banks on the streets. Apart from this, there are now textile piggy banks for clothes that cannot be worn, or some brands collect them from time to time. Batteries should not be thrown in the regular trash. We should learn the boxes put by TAP on the website and deliver the batteries to them. You don’t pour the waste oil from the sink, do you? You can find out the nearest collection point to you by calling ALO 181. For electronic waste, many organizations accept wastes that used to work with batteries or electricity free of charge with their contracted cargo company.
5. Make compost
We can also call it fertilization. What we call household waste, leftovers, vegetable and fruit peels, raw paper, coffee pulp, brewed tea leaves… You can turn all of these into soil according to your own conditions. There are different ways to compost at home and in the garden. I recommend the Wheat Association’s Compost Guide, which you can obtain free of charge, in this area.
Please do not forget to look at what is the most common waste in your home. If you want, you can reach me at @turkisiminimalizm on Instagram and share it. Maybe I can offer you a solution you haven’t thought of before.