Leading A Zero Waste Lifestyle in Malaysia
The concept of Zero Waste continues to create a buzz around us and tends to create confusion at times too. Let us attempt to explain what it is and what you can do to lead a zero waste lifestyle.
Zero Waste simply means to do your best to prevent waste from being produced and eventually being sent to the landfill.
When you are being conscious of your consumption and mindful of what is being disposed of, you are on your way to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Why Zero Waste Is Important For The Environment?
Believe it or not, your zero waste lifestyle makes a great deal in preserving our environment. The 5R practice plays a crucial role in the climate change strategy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Mostly, greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the production and use of goods, including food, products and packaging so the zero waste lifestyle you practise will contribute to you conserving energy and reducing the carbon emissions.
The culture of unsustainable consumption calls for pollution as extracting raw materials – whether it is forest logging, mining minerals or drilling for oil – will require A LOT of energy which eventually leads to POLLUTION. Not only that, but processing these materials will also need more energy and leads to more pollution. Sadly, after these items are used (mostly ONE TIME), they will be simply dumped in a landfill or destroyed in an incinerator.
How Do I Get Involved?
So how do we practice this sustainable living? Sounds hard? It is quite simple! To get your started on this journey, we suggest you follow the popular 5R method: REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, REPURPOSE, RECYCLE!
Here is are FIVE questions that can guide you to lead a zero waste lifestyle:
1. Do I Really Need This?
This has to be the simplest step that you can take to go Zero Waste. Refuse what you don’t need. This certainly needs some practise, especially when it comes to making choices that isn’t what we naturally gravitate towards- convenience
- opt for products with less packaging
- say ‘no’ when you are offered a bag for an item you can carry
2. How To Reduce The Amount Of Waste I Produce?
So, the aim of the second ‘R’ is all about reducing the waste produced from your daily activities. Here are a few steps you can follow to achieve your aim –
- buy ONLY what you need
- shop at zero waste shops
- search for reusable items
3. How Can I Reuse What I Have?
The mission of the third ‘R’ is to find ways to use certain items multiple times before replacing them, and the bonus of this is that you get to save some ringgits too! Here is how:
- carry along a reusable water bottle when you go out so you can save yourself from buying mineral water throughout your day
- get rid of plastic bags by bringing reusable shopping bags for your shopping trips
- donate clothes you have outgrown but be kind and make sure they are still in wearable condition
4. How Can I Repurpose Items That I Don’t Need Or Want Any More?
This requires some creativity and patience but there are so many items that we would normally want to toss out that can be upcycled into something else of value.
- get creative with empty jars, makeup bottles and plastic containers at home – spend some time with your kids while also saving the environment
- before throwing out clothes that cannot be donated, especially the worn out ones, try to extend the life of it by changing it to wiping cloths, rugs or even get creative stitch them up to become blankets or towels for your pet
5. How Can I Recycle The Items I Have Used?
The last ‘R’ is about making sure you separate items that can be recycled. The materials that can be recycled are glass, cardboard, aluminium and lead batteries. Before you throw away a product, look for parts of it that could be recycled instead of chucking the whole thing into the waste bin.
Seems A Little Troublesome…
Besides the obvious of doing our part in reducing our waste, the zero waste lifestyle also helps to build a circular economy, where one consumer’s waste turns into a resource for something new. This results in good, green jobs as resources are limitlessly recirculated through our economy instead of being used for one time and then disposed or destroyed.
Reducing and reusing items or materials generates job opportunities in rental and sharing businesses (e.g. car-sharing, tool rental), repair and tailoring, and reuse businesses so ringgits will be spent on local jobs, and it will remain within the community instead of leaving the community to buy imported products.
It may seem like you need to adapt to some changes in the way to live your life especially in the way you buy and use your daily essentials but you are contributing to a bigger cause.
By the way, the rise of the number of Zero Waste Malaysian stores and options for more sustainable products in the market is a testament that more people see the need to do their part in this ecosystem and this will make it easier for us to make the changes in practising Zero Waste.
Shopping Zero Waste in Malaysia
We acknowledge that making changes in the way we buy, consume and dispose of is not something that can be altered overnight. More often, the reason most of us do not usually jump in and commit to making these changes is that we feel we have to do it perfectly but that’s not the case.
Sometimes, all we have to do is to slow down the way we make our purchases, ask ourselves if we need it or not, and leave our houses prepared to limit the waste we dispose of, it is all not that hard!
EcoQueen recognises the need to provide this avenue to offer daily beauty and care products for like-minded people such as yourselves aim to bring together products that are made and sold by local entrepreneurs that fit the Zero Waste lifestyle that you lead. Keep your eyes peeled as we provide more information on these exclusive products soon.
Remember, We Do Not Have To Be Perfect To Be A Part Of This Movement, As Just A Little Can Go A Long Way!