How to Achieve a Zero Waste Lifestyle

HEAT (Hungerford Environmental Action Team) member Maria White is reducing her carbon footprint by using her power as a consumer and would like to start a support group for others who are also trying to adhere to the core principles of a Zero Waste lifestyle, namely: Refuse, Reduce and Reuse, before you move on to Recycle and Rot. If you would like to have occasional get togethers to share ideas, expertise and every-day conundrums around Zero Wasting and help others to do the same please contact

Zero Waste reduces pollution, encourages conservation of resources, improves our standard of living, and can save us money.

Whilst recycling is extremely important, the amount of packaging that consumers have to pay for (for its manufacture, recycling and the pollution it causes the planet) is unsustainable. Even when you have local convenient recycling centres it is worth remembering that plastic can only be recycled a finite number of times and the recycling process uses energy and releases toxins.

So to reduce the amount recycling she creates, Maria is proactively refusing and reducing unnecessary packaging in the first place. This is a form of Non-Violent Direct Action, because it encourages businesses to invest in greening their product range. She does BYOC (Bring Your Own Container), and luckily the Hungerford area provides a lot of opportunities for this eg. at bakeries, bistros, farm shops, supermarket (for morning goods), markets and the butcher – as well as the Packaging Not Included Zero Waste Shop in Marlborough. Maria also makes staple necessities from scratch with products that can be bought with no/minimal packaging.  For example a skin balm made from bees wax and vegetable oil, kept in a small resusable jam jar.

The Zero Waste ethos also applies outside of the home. For example if you refuse freebies made from petrochemicals you will discourage the production of more; you can ask retailers to reduce their packaging, cafes/restaurants to reduce their paper, cartons plastics.  Inaction condones waste and perpetuates it, action can initiate change.

One of Maria’s inspirations is Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson who says “Today, waste is the result of deficient planning, design, and infrastructure; tomorrow it will adhere to a clear set of actions and reflect clever resource management.”

Here is Bea Johnson’s TEDx Talk that gives a very good overview : Two adults, two kids, zero waste


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