Working towards a zero-waste home

It is difficult to live in a developed country without feeling somehow baffled by the amount of rubbish we throw away on a daily basis. There is this slight sense of shame that most of us feel when we carry our large plastic bags to the wheelie bin. My shame turned into despair when I became a father and I realized that my bin was just not big enough anymore. We all have a pretty fair idea of where our general waste ends up: it’s either incinerated or disposed of in landfills. Neither of those options sound very sustainable.

Concerned by our impact on the environment, as individuals, but also as a species, most of us would therefore consider recycling a very convenient solution. It doesn’t dramatically change our way of living and consuming, we just need to make a small effort to remove recyclable materials from our rubbish. Sadly (without even considering the additional energy required to recycle and the pollution potentially generated in the process), there is one major issue with recycling: some materials such as plastics cannot be infinitely recycled.

So, is the only option to eliminate our waste once and for all? When I submitted the idea to my wife, her usual calm and methodical personality dear to the people of England was betrayed by a slight expression of panic. “We don’t have time for this,” was her first reaction: I told myself that this could be good material for my personal leadership challenge!

While trying to create change in my family and motivate them to look for zero waste solutions, we will measure our progress by weighing our weekly rubbish before disposing of it. In two years from now, I would like my bin to receive only a third of what we put in it today… Let’s the challenge begin!