The notion that the actions of a single person can’t stop the flood of chaos and damage produced by large corporations is a false one. One person can make a difference. The reach of that difference may be limited if friends, family, and neighbours don’t follow suit, yes, but you will always have an impact. That’s why we need everyone to push towards a world of zero waste.

This isn’t just to minimise your own impact. It’s to vote with your money towards a future that you want to see. If there’s a market for something, then a business will rise up. If there’s a societal push for something, then governments will shift their position. The fact is the power of the people is massive, and sometimes all it takes is one person to make a big difference.

You can limit that difference to just your household or work to expand your hope for the future beyond the confines of your walls. With the power of the internet, and the possibilities of a small business, there are so many great ways that you can really make a difference in this world.

A great focus for everyone, for example, is to transition into what’s known as zero waste. Zero waste is the cornerstone of so many essential processes that we need the world to adopt.

What is Zero Waste?

Zero waste simply means that nothing goes to landfill. Landfills are hugely inefficient, and the stuff we throw into them isn’t actually degrading the way it used to in the past. Before plastic, for example, landfills were essentially a large composting system that turned the bottom layers back into reusable soil that would enrich the ground or could even be used as a fertiliser. Now they’re toxic waste dumps. The plastic in them won’t even degrade the way we hope. Rather, they’ll just break down into smaller and smaller plastic pieces known as microplastics that then leak into the ground.

Zero waste is a principle that seeks to stop non-degradable items from ever reaching that stage. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever throw anything out. Rather, it means championing reusing, minimising packaging, and, if none of that is an option, choosing materials that can be easily recycled.

While some plastic can and is recycled, it can’t be recycled infinitely, and that’s if it’s recycled at all. The recycling system is massively broken, with most of it immediately being thrown into the trash rather than sorted and recycled like we’re hoping.

That’s why zero waste champions aim to do away with packaging altogether and use reusable products instead. If not, they’ll use cardboard or aluminium. Aluminium can be recycled infinitely, while cardboard can either be recycled or otherwise will fully decompose in a short period of time.

How Can You Become a Champion of Zero Waste?

There are so many ways that you can become a champion of the zero-waste movement:

  • Start Your Own Zero Waste Journey

It’s hard to be perfectly zero waste when the world is just not cooperating. Go to your local shop, and everything from treats to fruits and vegetables will be contained in plastic. Worse is that plastic film is on almost everything, and that can’t be recycled at all. It’s doomed to waste away in a landfill somewhere after just a few days of use.

The solution, then, is to shop at farmer’s markets, independent producers, and zero-waste stores. There are options out there, though they aren’t yet universal. You’ll have a better time if you live in a city, especially if your area is green and full of eco-friendly initiatives. If you don’t, then you’ll likely need to go further to find a farmer’s market or, alternatively, find options online. Increasingly small, eco-friendly brands are accepting packaging back for direct repurposing. This way, containers can enjoy multiple lives, though there is the issue of transportation costs and pollution levels.

The sad fact is, there’s no perfect solution; that’s why it’s a journey. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do it perfectly. Instead, find ways to lessen your impact where you can.

  • Start Your Own Zero Waste Store

If there’s a lack of options near you, then start your own. Zero-waste stores or bulk food stores are the perfect addition to any high street and can be hugely popular if you’re the first on the market. People, even those that aren’t eco-conscious, are tired of having ingredients locked behind pre-packaged sizes. Sometimes you just want a little bit of something, other times, you want a lot. Zero-waste and bulk food stores fit the bill and often cost less to boot.

As a zero-waste store, you can buy bulk garlic, onion, flour and more and then sell it by weight. This model also has so many opportunities to engage with your community about environmentalism and zero-waste living. You can have a free container section of donated containers that you’ve cleaned and washed. You can also have a premium section of containers that are cleaned and premeasured so that those without their own containers who want to revamp their pantry have a great place to start — and increase their checkout amount.

Don’t just stop there, however. Partner with other UK-based eco-friendly brands and stock their products. You can sell eco-friendly beauty supplies, zero-packaging soaps, and so much more. Refillable or zero-packaging options should be available for everyone, so if you’re passionate about this movement, give people their own source of zero-waste shopping.

  • Educate Online

Regardless of whether you own a store or not, a great way to get the message about zero-waste out there is to head online. Create videos that help people on their own zero-waste journey. Talk about what zero-waste is. Follow news and even legislature so that you can help your audience of eco-conscious people do more by pushing for the reforms they want to see. There are so many ways you can help the planet by creating content, and, if you own a business, so many ways that you can use that platform to direct customers towards your zero-waste store. This creates a beneficial cycle for you and for the planet.