UnPacking Terminology

If, like a lady I once met for the first time, you hear the words “zero waste” and “a thin waistline” pops into your head – then this is the place to have a few terms debunked. This is terminology I often come across and how I understand the terms:

  • Zero waste is a term used for sending zero waste to the landfill.
    • A zero waste lifestyle follows this order and this order only – REFUSE, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE, ROT
  • Single use plastic is an item of plastic that is used once and then thrown away.
    • Plastic comes in many forms and I feel it’s worthy to note that they have a 2 times recycle cycle before they cannot be recycled again! So the idea is to not worry about recycling if you are refusing it in the first place… and just because it has a recycling number on the label doesn’t mean it’s recyclable.
    • Don’t feel despondent about the plastic you already have in your home – REUSE as much as possible – hand wash bottles (refill) Tupperware (reuse with leftovers) Glass jars are an excellent item to reuse for leftovers and meat too –  reuse that glass bottle the pasta sauce was bought in, reuse that plastic tub the salad came in for collecting veggie peels etc. that can head to the compost…
    • There are companies now that make “green plastic” that looks like plastic but it’s compostable because it’s made from vegetables – Kuro-Bo Activated Charcoal and Bundu Beard use this with their products. There is also biodegradable takeaway packaging being made!
  • Reusables are the wonderful, easy tools we can use over and over again to refuse single use plastics – the wonderful bamboo, stainless steel and glass straws you can now buy, fresh bags for loose produce, beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap and wax paper and travel mugs, glass jars and bottles for drinks and water and cloth bags instead of plastic grocery bags.
  • Biodegradable and compostable aren’t the same but similar in that it refers to the process of degradation a substance undergoes in the soil – so I reckon if it’s biodegradable then it breaks down and returns to the earth without poisoning the soil and compostable is that it will degrade and provide nutrients to the soil – maybe you’d like to comment below and give some more info on these terms?
  • Grey water is the used water from say a dishwasher load or washing machine or bath that can be used to water plants and grass and veg BUT if you are using non eco friendly products then the water shouldn’t be used over veggie patches and I’d be cautious with over grass…
  • Sustainability and self-sustainability, to me, means being able to not rely on someone for my products or electricity for example – so growing my own veg one day, using solar power and if a product is sustainable then I know it will last a long time – think the wonderful blades and brushes from Bundu Beard and, reusable straws for example.
  • Minimalism aligns with the refusing, reducing and reusing terms, I feel – with less around me I feel less anxious and less cluttered and with less I have less to worry about throwing out or cleaning. Less in my cupboards means I can see what I have, use what I have and only go and buy what I need. When I then buy what I need I can source the products better – think shopping for clothes at thrift stores like Catsaway Love in Ballito or online via Laya Thrifts.

Are there terms you’ve heard before that sound like Latin then comment below and let’s find answers together?
Would you like to add to my meanings? Or, would you like to give some more terms and meanings? Then please share your positive comments so we can all become more clued up together.

Until next time…

waste less • refuse more

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