Why Do We Need Zero Waste Life?

05.07.2022
Why Do We Need Zero Waste Life?

Zero Waste is a target that moves to use resources more efficiently in order to prevent and minimize waste formation by evaluating the factors that cause waste generation. Disposal of wastes without being utilized in the recycling process causes serious resource losses both materially and energy.  

With the increase in the world population, it has become a necessity to control the wastes caused by production and consumption activities. Wastes generated as a result of human activities cause environmental pollution and negative effects on human health. Conscious and sustainable consumption is gaining more importance day by day. Zero waste projects carried out in order to reduce environmental pollution and to control substances harmful to human health before reaching the nature are increasing day by day. The recycling and recycling of wastes can save more energy and natural resources. 

What is Zero Waste? 

Zero waste consists of a set of principles that focus on the prevention of wastes generated as a result of human activities and aim to promote the reuse of products. In the zero waste approach, it is aimed to recycle and reuse a material up to the last limit where it can be used. The concept of zero waste does not mean the complete disposal of waste. It aims to produce as little waste as possible from products and to reuse as many waste as possible with recycling.  

The definition made by the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), which aims at a waste-free world by applying the principles of zero waste and forms intercontinental teams for this purpose, is as follows:  

"It is the protection of all resources without burning, discharging into the environment or to soil, water or air that threatens human health through the responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of all products, packaging and materials." 

How to Gain Environmental Awareness of Zero Waste? 

Due to the unconscious and irresponsible waste of natural resources, the balance of nature, which has been going on for thousands of years, has started to deteriorate. It raised issues such as people's consumption-oriented lifestyle, reduction of natural resources, global warming and environmental pollution. Recycling of wastes can be planned with zero waste principle. Thanks to the recycled products, there will be a significant decrease in the need for raw materials. Recyclable waste types can be listed as wood, battery, oil, glass, electronic, paper, composite, metal, organic, plastic, textile and medical wastes. 

In Turkey, new steps supported by the state are also being taken within the scope of zero waste. With the Zero Waste Project of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, the protection and efficient use of natural resources can be ensured. The zero waste regulation created by the Ministry aims to create sustainable development programs with the effective use of raw materials and resources. 

With the trainings given to children from an early age, it can be ensured that they gain habits related to zero waste and conscious consumerism. With the habits that the child will gain at an early age, recycling can become a natural part of life. With the 5D model created for the zero waste approach,  trainings and programs that will enable consumers to participate in recycling can be disseminated. 

In the zero waste approach, different colors are determined for the separation of wastes. With the right colored bags and waste bins, the separation process can be made easier. These colors that facilitate the separation of wastes are as follows. 

  • Blue: Paper wastes 

  • Yellow: Plastic wastes 

  • Green: Glass wastes 

  • Gray: Metal wastes 

  • Brown: Organic wastes 

  • Black: Non-recyclable wastes 

  • White: Food leftovers 

  • Purple: Bread leftovers 

What are the advantages provided by the Zero Waste Approach? 

The zero waste approach does not only aim to deal with the nature and waste problems that occur today. It also includes issues such as future generations benefiting from natural resources and having a clean nature. The zero waste approach may seem like a difficult and demanding thought, but it is quite easy to implement. With simple separations to be made in houses, reuse of wastes and saving energy and material can be ensured. The advantages of the zero waste approach can be listed as follows. 

  • More efficient use of resources 

  • Prevention of pollution of nature 

  • Reduction of risks that may harm the health of living beings 

  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions 

  • Gaining sustainable consumption awareness 

  • Saving energy 

  • Reduction of waste storage areas 

What is the Importance of Zero Waste Understanding for the World? 

Various solutions have been produced and continue to be produced in order to provide a better future with the rapid breakthroughs made in recent years. Zero waste understanding, which is one of the most effective solutions, is one of these solutions produced. It is a very effective and simple application that can be done individually. Pollution caused by waste affects not only one region or country, but the whole world. Organic wastes produced in living spaces can dissolve spontaneously in nature. However, almost all of the wastes generated as a result of human activities can remain in nature for hundreds of years. In particular, plastic, which is one of the oil products, causes pollution in soil and water. 

Recycling of wastes collected by separation is very beneficial for the environment. Especially products such as metal, glass and paper that can be transformed more than once save energy and raw materials. Private companies and institutions such as municipalities serve for the collection of oils that are domestic waste. Products such as biofuel and soap can be produced with collected waste vegetable oils. The energy used in the conversion of products is much lower than in new production. Very high energy savings can be achieved by recycling metal wastes. The concept of zero waste can reduce the amount of waste that can reach nature. Reducing environmental pollution and health risks is very important for a more livable world. 

Conclusion 

With many awareness programs created in recent years, the importance of natural resources is emphasized more and more. The uncontrolled increase in production greatly increases the damage to the soil, water and air. The recycling of wastes generated as a result of production and consumption can protect natural resources and reduce their effects on the environment. Zero waste projects prepared with the support of the state, institutions and people around the world will greatly contribute to the formation of the necessary awareness. The fact that there is a waste management plan that can be followed by the institutions allows to save the consumed materials. With a sustainable zero waste management system, the decrease in the use of energy and natural resources will also benefit the country's economies. 

If the zero waste approach is adopted and made operational in the normal flow of life, we can leave a clean and livable world for future generations.