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Avoid waste and save money: Tips for "Zero Waste"
Avoid waste and save money: Tips for "Zero Waste"

Video: Avoid waste and save money: Tips for "Zero Waste"

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Video: 15 Ways to Reduce Waste and Save Money - Zero Waste For Beginners 2023, January

Waste separation and recycling are a good thing. Avoiding garbage benefits the environment even more. With our zero waste tips it works.

We all collect and separate paper, brown, green and white glass, residual waste, organic waste, disposable and reusable bottles, etc. - and hope to do something good for the environment. While recycling conserves resources and raw materials, avoiding waste looks different. Hello disposable company! In addition, recycling packaging materials, bottles, paper, etc. costs a lot of money and energy. Money that manufacturers have you pay for at the supermarket checkout with every product with the green dot.

According to the Federal Environment Agency, every German citizen produces an average of 462 kilograms of household waste a year. Ascending trend. Plastic waste, in particular, is extremely problematic due to its long shelf life: it takes 50 years for a polystyrene mug to disintegrate, and for an ordinary PET bottle it is 450 (!!) years. Time to rethink and avoid garbage.


Plastic waste is a long-term problem.

Photo: Illustration: The house

Avoid waste with the zero waste solution

Avoiding garbage should be the goal in the future, so it shouldn't be created in the first place. The zero waste movement follows this approach. Zero waste, in German: zero waste, zero waste! After all, even rifle aid now comes from the state: On March 30, 2017, a new packaging law was passed that extends the deposit obligation and thus strengthens the use of reusable packaging.

An approach that Bea Johnson is sure to appreciate. Because: "Our society is in dire need of zero waste", the author writes in her book "Living happily without garbage". Born in France, she and her family have been living in California since 2008 according to the zero waste principle. Her insight: "Dealing with garbage begins by curbing consumption." To avoid garbage, Bea Johnson has introduced her own garbage system for her family:

  • Refuse (which we don't need)
  • Reduce (what we need)
  • Reuse / Recycle (which we cannot reject, reduce, or reuse)
  • Let it rot (compost)

But, according to Bea Johnson, a completely garbage-free life is complex and currently not possible in our society. But getting as close as possible to it.

This is how zero waste can be implemented in everyday life

The 20-year-old student Phoebe Nicette from Berlin writes on her blog "Phoenomenal" about sustainability, zero waste and fair fashion. "I just didn't understand why I produce so much garbage that will exist on this planet for centuries when I won't. This is sheer madness,”says Phoebe Nicette in the“Das Haus”interview.

Munich-based Marius Diab (26) lives even more radically: in a consumer strike. Instead of buying things, he lives on the garbage of others, takes care of his own crops or donated food (keyword food sharing) and lives in a homemade yurt (of course, from things that were thrown away) in the country. Marius Diab describes his motivation in an interview with “Welt”: “Consumption and nutrition make up about half of the personal ecological footprint. Since I don't use it, I've cut my footprint in half.”


Phoebe Nicette uses reusable packaging for her daily snack break

Photo: Phoebe Nicette

Now not everyone has to change their lives as extreme as Marius Diab or Bea Johnson. A few small changes in everyday life can prevent waste in order to improve the waste balance positively. Perhaps the most important motivation here: less consumption and therefore less waste ultimately means that you save money. Just think of the garbage collection fees.

Avoid garbage tips for beginners

1. Here are a few simple tips that everyone creates to avoid waste: Reusable instead of disposable, grocery shopping, especially with fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables and meat, correctly assess, reduce paper consumption, use rechargeable batteries.

2. A tip from blogger Phoebe Nicette: "So simple and yet underestimated or often forgotten: the jute bag! Just put one in every backpack and bag. Use bags of different sizes to carry fruit, vegetables, bread and rolls. Already after the 30th use, jute bags are greener than any disposable plastic bag.”Bea Johnson goes one step further and uses used pillowcases for her purchases. Avoiding garbage is so easy.

3. Reject single-use plastic, unnecessary packaging and free plastic gifts and advertising mail. Making yourself aware that the free coolie you give is just junk and you already have hundreds of it is a first step.

4. Everyone can buy second-hand goods in the second-hand shop or on Ebay, broken electrical products can often and easily be repaired. Sweden is setting a good example: the aim is to lower the VAT on repairs and thereby create an incentive to repair used or broken items instead of buying something new.

5. Phoebe Nicette advises: “Simply order your drink in the restaurant without a straw. Plastic straws are often unnecessary, are thrown away afterwards and also only decompose in centuries.”

6. The coffee-to-go movement is jointly responsible for the fact that waste production has grown in recent years. Instead of the disposable cup, buy a reusable one. Coffee chains like Starbucks support sustainable behavior: If you bring your own mug, you get a 30 cent discount. The situation is similar with water bottles: In the USA there is currently a real hype about owning your own water bottle and always refilling it to avoid garbage.

7. There are now food sharing projects in many major cities. There you can find groceries that others had left and donated. If you don't like used food, at least consider whether you can donate food that you might have bought too much or would throw away before a trip. In Berlin there is the restaurant "Totally happy". There you will surely be served dishes from surplus food.

Biomüll kompostieren
Biomüll kompostieren

You can compost most of your organic waste and use it later as a natural fertilizer.

/ Graham Corney

8. Zero waste has long been used in the garden: when composting. You can already dispose of a large part of your organic waste and at the same time have a useful fertilizer.

9. Every German buys an average of 60 items of clothing per year, usually super cheap from fast fashion chains such as Zara, H&M and Co. In order to meet demand and fashion trends, production is becoming faster and cheaper, mainly from polyester fabric. What many do not know: With every wash cycle, microparticles are flushed out of the chemical fibers, which end up in the groundwater and the oceans and thus in our food chain. So the next time you stand in front of the shelf, think of Bea Johnson and ask yourself: Do I need the xth floral blouse or the fiftieth pair of shoes? And if you want to purify your wardrobe right now: Flea market or online flea markets such as Kleiderkreisel, Vestiaire Collective and Ebay are a good address for this.

10. Be creative! You can turn old, worn clothing into something useful and reuse it for a while: Simply cut an old T-shirt into squares and practical cleaning rags are made from it. Do you have leftovers from colorful sewing or patterned curtains that you no longer like? Simply use them to make beautiful decorative elements for your home, such as a woven Easter basket. You have already avoided the garbage.

11. A lot of packaging waste is distributed by retailers. But there are revolutionary projects that want to avoid waste. The first "Original Unpacked" store opened in Berlin a good two years ago. There are now stores across Germany that largely dispense with unnecessary packaging.

Original Unverpackt Laden in Berlin
Original Unverpackt Laden in Berlin

In 2014 the shop “Original Unverpackt” opened in Berlin. There you can buy lots of food "unwrapped" and loose, you just bring your reusable packaging with you. The Lush beauty chain also uses jars and containers several times.

Photo: Elizabeth Rush

Here are a few simple tips from Bea Johnson on how to avoid garbage

  • Teabag? A reusable tea strainer is much better.
  • You can donate selected books and magazines.
  • Sow seeds for the balcony or garden in egg boxes. Then you don't need plastic pots.
  • Detergent booster: Add 120 ml of undiluted vinegar to the washing cycle of your washing machine: this prevents detergent residues and yellowing, makes the fabrics softer, the colors fresher and reduces static electricity.
  • Wilted lettuce can be revived in an ice water bath.

Book tip

Bea Johnsons Buch Cover
Bea Johnsons Buch Cover

Bea Johnson's book cover

Photo: Steve-Holger Ludwig Verlag

The French Bea Johnson is the mother of the Zero Waste lifestyle. She wrote a book about the background for this change. With many practical tips for everyday life.

Bea Johnson, "Zero Waste Home: Live happily without garbage!", 360 pages, € 19.90, Steve-Holger Ludwig Verlag, 2016

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