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Béa Johnson, French living in the United States, had the trigger the day when moving into a transitional apartment, she understood that living with the bare minimum greatly facilitated life. Since the reduction of waste and everything that can lighten everyday life has become its credo. All of his advice for a “zero waste” life has been brought together in a book (1) and expressed in five rules to respond to all situations. From these rules of life, we have extracted the 10 general ideas that will allow you to get started in a lifestyle where waste is reduced like a skin of sorrow. So, ready?
1. Refuse what you don't need
First rule of Béa Johnson who, logically, assumes that it is easier to take less things out of your home when you make them come in less. Refuse to enter into an automatic consumption logic . The act of consumption must become again a thoughtful gesture instead of being a pastime. The good question to ask yourself is therefore to ask yourself if the purchase you are about to make is a real need or rather a fleeting desire. Refuse single use containers . We have entered an era where the plastic bag is scarce (fortunately) but there are still too many packages that fill our garbage cans. To get rid of these bulky items, we do our shopping with our own containers, be it supply nets, egg boxes or glass jars.
2. Reduce what you need
With this second rule, it is a question of reviewing its operating mode and of evaluating if our current needs are not to be reviewed and improved. Make the choice of the intangible. Here we mainly touch on leisure activities and the objects that result from them which, after use, end up in your trash can. This is for example the case of the press which unfortunately turns into waste once consumed. For this reason, it is better to choose digital for this kind of product. You can also turn to the libraries so you can enjoy the culture without cluttering up with objects. Favor home-made . Reducing your needs requires refocusing on versatile products. Take the case of white vinegar: with a single product you can clean the windows, make washing up liquid or cook! By using grandmother's tricks, you quickly realize that these are always the same products: there is therefore no need to invest in products that serve only one thing. It's the same for cooking. We buy raw materials rather than finished products.
3. Reuse what can be
This third rule allows you to consume better once you have applied the second and third rules. Everything that enters your home should follow this principle. Stop all single use products . This sounds like a no-brainer, but it should be remembered that so-called disposable products have no place in a house that seeks to reduce its waste. We therefore give up paper towels, handkerchiefs, cotton cleansers, disposable razors, paper towels, etc. Innovate in the management of your food. We must also learn to consume better, especially its food. To help, we draw inspiration from books, for example that of Marie Cochard on peelings (2). We also listen to our grandparents who did not know the bouillon cubes. Repair instead of throwing away . On that side things are moving so it would be a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity. The standards for repairability and availability of spare parts will be increasingly strict. It is up to us consumers to always check whether a broken object can be repaired rather than replaced, even when the warranty is no longer valid.
4. Recycle so as not to throw away
At, we can only be sensitive to this rule which advocates recycling and diversion of objects. Give a second life to your objects. Before throwing an object, you must always ask yourself if it cannot have a second life. Likewise, if you need a particular item, try to see if it could not be made from others. This requires a fairly large storage space and sensitivity to manual activities but the game is worth the effort. Not to mention that with this constraint, your interior will not look like any other. Donate to associations when you can't recycle . Of course not everything can be recycled and sometimes we have no choice (in terms of time, desire or space). However, trash management is not the only option yet and before that you have to ask yourself if donation is still possible.
5. Composting your waste
Last rule which emphasizes organic waste which seems incompressible. At this level, only the compost can still reduce its waste which is still the least harmful, provided that you consume organic. Composting even in apartments is possible. Here again, the transition is taking place and if composting seemed to be reserved for professional gardeners, it now affects an increasingly large population, and even a city dweller. New types of composters have emerged to be integrated into kitchens but also local initiatives such as composters to share in neighborhoods. (1) Béa Johnson, Zero waste, Editions des Arènes, Paris, 2013. (2) Marie Cochard, Les épluchures, tout ce que vous faire de vous, Editions Eyrolles, Paris, 2016.