Eighteen by Lisa Gibson

Low Waste. Eco-Lifestyle. Life

A 'Low Waste vs Zero Waste' Debate

A 'Low Waste vs Zero Waste' Debate 

Now I wanted to write this post for two reasons, the first to obviously talk about what I mentioned in the title; the debate between what it means to be Low Waste vs Zero Waste, of course. But, I also wanted this to be a little bit of a disclaimer post too, for what this blog is about and what message I'm trying to portray. As claiming to be a Low Waste blog can lead to everything being scrutinised as 'not truly low waste' - if I where to show a paperback book I read, it could lead to questions 'isn't that more wasteful than reading a paperless kindle?' you get where I'm coming from. So, I wanted too to explain my stance on it all, what Low Waste means to me and what I do to tackle Waste and ultimately my options on the matter, as being 'light-hearted' is always my intention with Eighteen..


The debate behind what it means to be Low Waste vs Zero Waste began for me upon creating my FMP idea for university. Researching the Zero Waste market lead me question if the naming of the market is actually correctly at all, as to ultimately be 'zero' waste is near impossible in todays climate of plastic-wrapped everything and governments not doing much to stop the act of doing so.  This lead me to question whether it would be appropriate to rename it 'Low Waste' instead, as everyone can lower their waste in someways, and puts way less pressure on us, the individual, to do so.

Reducing waste for the everyday, working-class girl like me, where Sainsburys still have foods wrapping in 'not yet recycled' bags amongst other things, it can be a challenge. I try my best whilst shopping to buy produce in glass jars, as these can be reused countless times and/or recycled, as well as buying fruits and vegetable loose - even down to not weighing them to get a sticky label, as these are not recyclable as the cashier's able to put them through the till, without barcodes needed - a trick I've recently learnt! But it can be tricky avoiding plastic, as well as not having a zero waste shop within walking distance.

So, the way I look at the Zero Waste market, in its aspirational form on Pinterest, with glass jars of refillable pasta and neatly stacked spices; yes it's incredibly aesthetic and brilliant. BUT, it's not achievable for the majority of us, and thus becomes something people don't actively try to do as it's not on an 'everyday' level. With my little space on the internet here, I want to bring an everyday stance to Lowering Waste, yes I may not have a large audience and I completely am not putting the large 'Zero Waste Influencers' down as they have an amazingly positive impact. I do just feel there needs to be a bit more of a normality to reducing waste.  As, at the end of the day, the blame is not on the everyday person, yes we can make a huge impact, but ultimately it needs to come from Governments banning single-use plastics for there to be a real, drastic difference. 

Meaning, with my blog here, I aim to give some everyday Low Waste advice, coming from a cash-strapped recent-university graduate who is trying to make a small difference, and doing as much as she can.  As Low Waste really isn't all about having aesthetic jars lining your cupboards all the time, its a way of living and a mind-set, it should't cost you the earth but what you do can help the earth. So, yes I may show you a paperback book on this blog, or still use/do things that could be deemed unsustainable, but it's a journey for all of us, and I am continuously trying to change my lifestyle to be more Low Waste - as we all should in our own way. 

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