Zero Waste is pretty straightforward. Zero for nil/no. And waste refers to our garbage or footprint. So combine it together, a layman’s term will be NO GARBAGE. In Malay that will translate as, “TIADA SAMPAH” atau lebih tepat lagi, “TIADA SISA”.

WASTE or SISA is more precise as the objective of practicing Zero Waste is to avoid unnecessary leftovers including food (yes, your scraps), cloth, and packaging. The BIG reason for this is that we have come to an overconsumption era, where we buy everything in excess, and soon throw them away. Almost the whole globe is repeating that cycle of buy-and-throw, instead of the reduce-reuse-recycle.

The 3R: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The three steps above is not like a chicken and egg cycle, but it has a distinct starting point. It really starts with the first R: reduce,  where the root cause of the environmental problem starts. It is very hard to reuse and recycle when we have too many, especially with limitations to reusing and recycling, which we will discuss in another post.

So Zero Waste is reducing our footprint by avoiding all unnatural products that will not decompose or biodegrade, also single-use item such as food packaging that will go directly to the landfill (or the drains and ocean). Most importantly, NO PLASTICS!

Artwork by Phil Gibbs

Minimalism & Zero Waste

What does minimalism have to do with zero waste? Well, firstly the less you need, the less you buy. The less you buy, the less you throw away. Also, getting rid of getting unnecessary stuff will get rid of the urges of wanting more. Philosophers call it the Diderot Effect.

The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things.

Of course, now and then we will need to buy new things. Always buy systematically and consciously. I will always have a list or a Mock-up board (especially for home deco and clothes) so that I won’t buy things on impulse to regret and throw away later.

Stop Hoarding

A hoarder is someone who likes to cling to things – even the old and dysfunctional. I am a hoarder, I still have stuff I from when I was 9. But unless you really need to keep using something, we need to let go and move on. And the best zero-waste-way of doing this is to re-sell or give away your stuff.

I’ve been trying to minimize since last year. I really like the idea of light, hassle-free life. Like you can pack up anytime you want, and go for the wanderlust. Maybe one day I’ll live in a campervan (unlikely) or a pondok-house (more likely). Whatever it is, after the experience of living in an apartment, and a huge landed home, I think I want a  small space.

However, I just can’t get myself to spend the time going through EVERYTHING I have, to get rid of them. The idea is just so exhausting. It’s like having to take out A LOT of trash, but without the urgency.

Ok, #vanlife is definitely not simple. It’s pretty complicated. The making of the van part, especially.

Today, I realized I was wrong about that. Minimizing isn’t about getting rid of bad stuff, it’s about picking up only the good stuff, the stuff we need. Instead of getting a box for unwanted stuff, I should get a box for the stuff I NEED. (Well, maybe a couple of boxes. hehe) Then get rid of the rest.

That sounds so much easier to me, honestly. I won’t have to dig deep into old boxes, because, obviously, I don’t need those stuff since I live months without them anyways. But of course, I will need to find the stuff I rarely use but will do on occasions. But they’re not much, honestly.

I believe the more we let go,
the more will come.

I think I’d apply that to my social media too. Lol.

Have you tried minimalism and zero waste? Does this make any sense to you?


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