Zero waste: "the best rubbish is the one that is not produced"
The "zero waste" approach is a state of mind, a way of consuming and an awareness. More than just a trend, “zero waste” is a necessity. Today's highly industrialized society produces excessive amounts of waste. This behaviour is more than harmful to the environment. Each of us, on our own level, can try to change the way we act, step by step, in order to contribute to a better world.
In 2015, world production of plastics reached a record level of 320 million tonnes, equivalent to 10.1 t per second (meter), consuming about 8% of the world's oil production. Each year in Europe, 25 million tonnes of plastic waste are collected of which only 30% is recycled!
Hong Kong, Turkey, the EU-15, Australia and the USA produce 500 kilos or more of municipal waste per person per year. However, in terms of total volume, China became the largest producer of municipal waste with 300 million tonnes in 2005.
As a result, the volumes of waste produced worldwide continue to grow. The situation is at the very least alarming. In light of this, we cannot remain insensitive. We are all affected and it is up to us, each in our own way to produce less waste.
The pioneer of zero waste, the French American, Bea Johnson, summarized the process in 5 essential steps:
REJECT everything you don't need (plastic bags, straws, paper napkins). All of a sudden, you avoid throwing away 31kg of paper per year!
REDUCE what you need or cannot reject. Adopt a minimalist approach and use only what you really need, in order to avoid overconsumption.
REUSE what can be used again: reusable containers made of fabric, glass or stainless steel, buy second-hand, repair items or find a new use for them instead of throwing them away. A certain amount of creativity goes with this approach, which makes it even more interesting.
RECYCLE everything that needs to be recycled. Only 20% of our bins are recycled and a lot of waste, which should be recycled, ends up in the wrong garbage can. However, since Gabon has no recycling plant, this option is difficult to implement here.
COMPOST everything else (organic waste), about 30% of your garbage.
Thanks to this simplified method, the "no waste = zero waste" approach becomes possible for everyone. There is no small gesture, each act is important and motivates you to do another, and so on. It is the duty of all of us to contribute to the preservation of our planet because, as they say, we do not inherit it from past generations, we borrow it from future generations. And if we do not act now, it is our children who will pay the price.
Here at MAM Gabon, we have decided to commit ourselves to Zero Waste and would be absolutely delighted if you would join us too, dear MAMers. Throughout the year, we will share our "zero waste" tips and tricks. Feel free to send us yours! It will be our pleasure to share them with the rest of the MAM community.
You will not be bored, this new adventure will be animated by explanatory articles, DIY (Do It Yourself) challenges, photo competitions and field outings…
"Every gesture for the planet is an important gesture"