Is zero waste really possible? I’d bargain on no. There are all sorts of considerations around why:

  1. Currently ‘zero waste’ living is not accessible to the average person
  2. It assumes everything we send to the recyclers actually gets recycled (it doesn’t – sadly)
  3. There is waste we cannot control
  4. We often forget about other types of waste – like our greenhouse gas emissions (i.e when we drive a car)

That’s not to say that striving towards a zero waste life is a bad thing – if those choices are accessible to you. Here are some tips on how to shop more zero waste in South Africa.

Use what you have

…and treat it well. Also, don’t get too caught up in the trend of buying pretty zero waste things and partaking in green consumerism. When you are considering a purchase, always ask yourself if you can borrow it or do with out it? If you really need it, buy second hand or local.

Always have a low-waste mindset

Is this a single-use item? Can I avoid it?

Embrace the weird

Be prepared to use your scarf to carry your groceries when you forget your carry bag (Etc!)

If you can, shop at zero waste stores

In South Africa, a number of zero waste stores have opened:

Support local farmers and markets

Whether it’s by a visit to your local farmers market or by ordering a weekly vegetable box from a nearby farm, supporting local farmers can help reduce carbon emissions, waste and boost local people and economy.

Bring your own bags and containers

To the shops, to get take out, to festivals and picnics.