Stirred by the nationwide grassroots-led movement of Indonesia Bebas Sampah (Zero Waste Indonesia), two years ago the government targeted the country will be free of waste by the year 2020. Besides the lingering question of how we will accomplish such feat, to some the most pressing question is, What does Zero Waste actually mean?
“Zero waste is a vision, and to accomplish it, first it’s important for people to realize that you need to understand what you shop, why you shop, what kind of containers it comes in, and in general just make informed choices,” says Paola Cannucciari, Program Manager of ecoBali. To be clear, zero waste is not about producing completely nil in terms of an empty waste bin—it’s about significantly decreasing our output of waste that gets delivered into methane-producing landfills and giving our waste a “second life” as another useful resource.
You can contribute too! Just implement these simple Rs into your life: reduce your purchase of plastic bottled-mineral water and rethink that perhaps it’s better to carry your own water bottle wherever you go; refuse plastic bags, plastic straws, and Styrofoam and instead bring a reusable shopping bag and food container; recycle the waste that you produce (your milk carton materials can literally put a roof over your head!); and repair the stuff that can still be fixed instead of buying new ones. Let’s start from there. Ultimately, zero waste is about ensuring that nothing you consume ends up as, well, waste.