Benefits of Green Living and the Zero Waste Lifestyle
After working two jobs for a year in my efforts to max out our payments for our mortgage, I was exhausted. It was only then that I realized I needed to find a better way to live. I decided to try adopting a zero-waste lifestyle and fully embrace a more conscious way of living. The switch has had so many benefits for my mental and physical health, relationally, and with my connection to the earth.
From my experience, I have gained endless so much perspective from being more in tune with my environment. Being aware of the repercussions of my actions has provided me with a greater sense of purpose, and a desire to continue to grow and learn.
If you are here reading this, there is a good chance you are curious about perusing a more eco-friendly lifestyle, or maybe you already have. Either way, this post is aimed to highlight all the benefits I have gained from switching over to a zero-waste lifestyle to help you understand the greater impact of making conscious choices throughout all areas of your life.
I hope you enjoy it!
You reduce your impact on nature
Zero waste encourages you to produce less waste in hopes of offsetting the total waste output of humans on nature. Reducing your ecological footprint saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, prevents pollution caused by reducing the need for new materials, and helps sustain the environment for future generations.
You bring more awareness to climate change
I think the best way to advocate for change is to lead by example. Sharing your decision to go zero waste and the reasons why with your family and communities help to spread awareness for the issues at hand that are greater than ourselves. The more individuals that start to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle, the more we will be able to communicate to large companies that we will not tolerate their choice to dismiss their effects on climate change.
You can reconnect with nature
When you choose to focus your life around reducing your waste for the sake of the planet, you start to value nature a lot more. It’s just like starting a relationship; when you put time, effort, and care into getting to know someone and what is important to them, you begin to appreciate them more. Similarly, when you take the time to learn what is important to our planet’s ecosystems and WHY your choices matter, you begin to develop a deep appreciation for the natural beauty around you.
You consume less
Adopting the zero-waste lifestyle encourages you to review your current consumption and assess areas where you can reduce it. Over time and with practice, you start to lose that consumer-crazed desire to buy something new every time you need to feel happy or fulfilled and only make new purchases when you are really filling a need. The lifestyle will also encourage you to value your purchases in a new way and base your decisions on quality and longevity versus finding a quick deal on something that isn’t built to last.
You save more money
By choosing to be conscious about your purchasing habits, you will save money long term. There is a lot of controversial discussions on whether or not the lifestyle is expensive, so I wrote a post last week answering the question “Is the Zero Waste Lifestyle Expensive?” you can check out if you are interested in more of the details. In summary of my experience, by reusing what you already have and repurposing different objects around your home for other uses, you can save quite a bit.
You spend quality time with family
A product of developing a higher awareness of your surroundings is the appreciation of what you have. Instead of finding fulfillment in money and object possessions, the zero waste lifestyle encourages connection and community. There are frankly WAY too many western cultured examples of associating ‘spending time’ with consumerism; from spending the day at the mall with your mom, or going to the movies with your siblings, there are so many normalized activities that encourage waste and aren’t genuinely focused on spending time with the people you are with. I am not suggesting you will have to cut out the things you love, going zero waste just helps you consider the slower, more connected activities out there.
You become more content
This has to be one of the best benefits of zero waste because it has a huge impact on your quality of life. Instead of being focused on achieving more and gaining more ‘stuff’, your values shift to appreciating nature, your relationships, and what you have at this given moment. Achieving contentment and tuning into being more present can transform your life in so many ways. Good Therapy’s article The Essence of Contentment: How Acceptance Promotes Happiness lists these as the top benefits of being content: peace of mind, happiness, stronger relationships, ability to distinguish wants and needs, and simplicity.
You have more time
In finding contentment, I have found that my use of time has changed significantly. Instead of long hours at work pushing to acquire another client or meeting twenty deadlines in a week, I have been able to slow down. I love my work, but I have found value in my time outside of it. I no longer have to justify the way that I spend my time and I make the choices that are best for me and my family instead of what society tells me I should be doing.
You clean less
Simply put, having less stuff equals less cleaning! An awesome benefit of zero waste is not needing to upkeep on so many material items. Reducing the number of pots, sheets, and clothing was the first step for me. Being a minimalist helped more with cleaning less than the actual zero waste lifestyle. The zero-waste lifestyle introduced a few more reusable items that can create some clutter if you are not also a minimalist.
You start experiencing more
All that money and time saved from shopping less and putting your needs first will result in a desire to experience more things. Instead of being surrounded by everything you could ever want at home, living zero-waste encourages you to step outside of yourself in order to find fulfillment. This will help you develop a desire to get outside, challenge yourself, try new things, and make new memories.
You are not as stressed
When you let go of society’s expectations of you and remove the comparison to how others live, you take a lot of weight off of your back. In today’s society, we thrive on performance, competition, and perfection, which leads to an insidious increase in stress. Stress causes damage that is often underestimated, and it is a social phenomenon that should be closely examined and evaluated. I have found gaining fulfillment outside of performance and competition and finding it in appreciation for what I have has GREATLY reduced my stress levels.
You reduce food waste
When going zero waste, you will notice all the small things that contribute to your waste production, including food. I have learned so many tips and tricks about how to reduce food waste in my home and make the most of what I have. From scrap cooking recipes to implementing composting on our property, I no longer buy more than I need and use what I have consciously.
You connect with your community
Connecting with the zero waste community has been such an honor of being a part of this lifestyle space. Through PEI’s zero-waste Facebook group I have hosted garbage cleanup events, found recommendations, and have received so much support and encouragement for what I am doing here. Having a community to rely on means that you’re surrounded by people who know exactly what it is you’re going through. Taking up space in an environment of like-minded individuals is one of the greatest feelings and can improve your confidence.
Your health will improve
In my newfound appreciation for the planet, I have found myself more inclined to take care of my body too. There are so many fun ways to get out and move your body while enjoying nature. Reducing stress, being in tune with your needs, and getting outside more are all things that have improved my fitness and overall health. Going zero waste also makes you more conscious about your food habits and their greater impact — encouraging you to nourish your body in a way that is kind to both your body and the planet.
You learn new things
There are endless opportunities to learn within the zero-waste lifestyle. From new DIY solutions to how to better advocate for our planet, leading a green-focused life will give you so many opportunities to educate yourself, and the ability to teach others too! If you are looking for a place to start, head back to my main blog page and pick a post that stands out to you. I try to provide educational content mixed with tips and tricks I have learned along my zero waste journey to share with you.
You change your perspective on the world
Living more consciously will change the way you view your environment, the people around you, and the world as you see it today. It can be overwhelming at first to realizing the corruption, damage, and negative impact so many societal systems have on our beautiful home. However, in time, you will gain greater awareness of what is in your control, and what is not. What you can stand for and stand up to, but also what is and isn’t really important.
What’s your favourite benefit of adopting a zero-waste lifestyle? Leave it in the comments below!
Hey, Claudia here
I am a senior graphic designer, a dog mom, an advocate for a zero-waste lifestyle, climate change, and sustainability. My articles are based on personal experience and well researched to give you the best source of information for all things zero-waste.