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Why a Zero Waste Lifestyle is a Form of Activism

The more you learn about zero waste, the more you realise that it’s about much more than changing your personal lifestyle. Every change you make directly affects the future of our planet. In that way, your zero waste choices are a form of sustainable activism, every day.

There is a lot of focus on how we can get decision-makers around the world to pay attention to climate change and make sustainability a priority. At the same time, we also need to remember the power that we have as individuals when we come together.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate, Marc Buckley, explained in an interview with our founder, Coral Ruz, that we can all play a part.

“We’ve been misled,” says Marc. “We thought the oil, coal, and gas industry, the automotive industry, were the biggest global causes of human suffering and greenhouse gas emissions. They’re on the list, but the top five all have to do with agriculture, food, and beverages.”

The UN’s SDGs are the ideal starting point for building a more sustainable world. In a different way, each one of those is related to a zero waste lifestyle. If we reduce food waste by shopping economically, there will be more to go around for those in need, helping to combat world poverty and world hunger. If we reduce the amount of plastic we consume, fewer microplastics enter our oceans and the air, helping wildlife populations thrive around the world.

Zero Waste Protest

“Who are the goals for? Are they for people, cities, companies, countries?” asks Marc. “They’re for us. They are the physiological needs of humanity to get us to a better place.”

The SDGs were designed to work in tandem with one another, something an individual can affect in the same way as a corporation or a government can – although perhaps to a lesser degree.

As Marc says, “it’s impossible to work on just one sustainable development goal, no matter which one you pick, and not work on the other ones.” You don’t need to go to a climate activism protest or take part in Fridays for Future to do your part for the planet. You can raise awareness and protest in your supermarket, in your home, and when you shop online.

“What more beautiful way to fix our planet and heal human suffering than the thing that most people do three times a day and that can be really enjoyable.”

So how can we start the zero waste journey?

Being able to enact change and support climate activism in your everyday life means that anyone can be a climate activist. Not everyone has the time or the freedom to be as active as they want to be. But by adopting a zero waste lifestyle and making small changes every day, you can make a difference and learn more about the movement without disrupting your routine or spending extra money.

Zero Waste Lifestyle

“Anyone, no matter how small they feel or where they’re at, what age or gender, can contribute something,” explains Marc. “If you’re passionate and you personalise how you want to become an environmentalist…you can start there. Start where you’re at.”

You don’t need a fancy degree or a whole new set of bamboo cutlery to get started with zero waste and climate activism. Make one small change: make your coffee at home instead of buying one in a disposable coffee cup. Switch to loose fruit and vegetables from a market instead of from a supermarket. Have a go at making your own washing detergent.

Zero Waste Cleaning

Whatever your next step is, remember that you are one of the thousands of people around the world all working to make a difference for our future planet.

Hear Marc speak passionately about his own story and experiences with climate activism here:


  • Rachael Davies

    Rachael Davies is a freelance writer and journalist based in Edinburgh, with work in National Geographic, Huffington Post, and TechRadar. You can find her on Twitter @rachdaviesetc or via her website.