zero waste

Encyclopedia entry - Nanine Roth - July 23, 2021 - 2 min reading time
Shopping basket

Zero waste as a major goal: for many people, waste avoidance is becoming increasingly important. What exactly does the term mean and how can it be implemented?

Definition: What does Zero Waste mean?

"Zero waste is a lifestyle or philosophy that aims to produce as little waste as possible . The motivation behind this is not to waste resources and to avoid environmental pollution.

The goal of Zero or at least Less Waste (= "less waste") is achieved through recycling & upcycling, repairing and re-gifting, but also through a change in purchasing behaviour, for example by doing without certain products

Zero waste is basically a very sustainable consumer behaviour, which is also reflected in the many unpacked shops that have opened their doors in recent years. Since 2016, shops where it is possible to shop without packaging have been on the rise; by now, they can be found in almost every major city.

But companies can also take the zero-waste idea into account and already take appropriate steps when developing goods and packaging: Recycled materials, a recyclable product and the avoidance of unnecessary packaging are important steps for a functioning circular economy.

Sign Reduce Reuse Recycle and Yarn
To avoid waste: Reduce - Reuse - Recycle

Why Zero Waste?

The idea behind Zero Waste is a radical reduction of waste in order to save resources and minimise pollution. This is especially true for plastic products, which are made from petroleum and whose recycling is still very poor - plastic waste can therefore be found everywhere. (see also: 9 Facts about Plastic | (Micro-)Plastic and its Consequences)

Bottling food
Unpacked shops: Buy as much as you need in your own container.

Zero Waste is an ideal that most consumers cannot achieve.
It is difficult to achieve in our culture, where products are transported long distances, are supposed to be available all year round, are designed for "to go" and can be delivered free to the door.

However, it is certainly possible to implement a lifestyle of Less Waste or to achieve Zero Waste at least in individual areas of life - for example, by switching to home-made cleaning products in the household or by purchasing individual food groups such as pasta, rice, oatmeal in unpackaged shops.

By the way, the filling bags made of washable paper in our online shop are perfect for this.

How can I live Zero Waste / Less Waste?

Here are simple tips to get you started:

At the supermarket:

For commodities: