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Making a Change Through Zero Waste Habits and Practices

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30 Sep 2022

5 Min Read

Michelle Lee (Guest Contributor), Josephine Serena (Editor)


Want to reshape your lifestyle but are completely clueless on how to do so? Give the zero waste lifestyle a try! Read more to discover some easy and simple habits which you can practise every day!

Hey you! Yes you right there! Did you know? According to Zero Waste Malaysia, our country produces 38 million kg of waste daily, enough to fill up the Petronas Twin Towers every 7 days. Worse still,  Malaysia ranks 2nd in Asia in generating the most plastic waste! 


Many countries around the world generate hundred million tonnes of waste a day, but some countries are cautious of their waste production and have begun adopting different methods to deal with it.

How a Zero Waste Malaysia Could Be Our Solution

Start your A girl holding different trash in her hand with a zero waste graphic on the wall

Have you ever heard of the zero waste movement?


Zero waste is an eco-friendly lifestyle that aims to reduce the amount of waste an individual creates on a daily basis. In simpler terms, it means no plastic, no wrappers, and no garbage. Although it’s challenging and impossible in today’s very disposable society to unlearn wasteful behaviours, people around the world are slowly adapting to mindful consumption.


This is why I think we should too.


The main purpose of this lifestyle acts as a commitment to reduce the amount of garbage to landfills as possible and the number of carbon emissions released into our atmosphere which contributes to climate change and global warming.


Moreover, zero waste can extend the life of many reusable and recyclable materials while conserving finite resources.


This is because zero waste involves reusing, which involves discarded objects or material being used to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, as well as recycling which converts waste into reusable material. As a result, this reduces an overconsumption of food, fashion, physical things, and finite resources. Lastly, this lifestyle aims to reduce our harmful impact on our ecosystem and encourage sustainable living, biodiversity, and a healthy, productive balance between organisms.


So my challenge to you today is to give the zero waste lifestyle a try! Here are some simple, easy habits and practises for you to transition into a zero waste lifestyle.

Habits to Transition Into a Zero Waste Lifestyle

Habit #1: Recycle

A girl holding a green recycling bin

Since a very young age, our teachers have begun instilling the word ‘Recycle’ and its importance as if not fulfilling the word weighed the same effect as to an unbreakable vow spell. For instance, if we hadn’t thrown our crushed 100 Plus can into the correct bin, imminent death would eventually start seeking us. Recycling is basically a process by which used materials are converted into new products. Recyclable products include cans, glasses, paper products, cartons, plastic containers, etc. Still, why should we recycle? 


Through the act of recycling, we can help by conserving finite resources, lowering our need to collect raw materials. Therefore, keeping usable materials out of landfills!

Habit #2: Thrift Shopping

Thrift shopping is one of the zero waste habits and practices than can make a change in your lifestyle

How does the spending of more money on clothes help conserve the environment and lead a zero waste life? People often confuse the main goal of thrift shopping, which is to spend money purchasing second-hand clothing made out of reused pre-existing materials, rather than purchasing new, trendy, fast-fashion garments which are most likely to wind up in a landfill. 


Besides clothes, you can even thrift for other goods such as household items and furniture! Thrift shopping is such a convenient, fun, and eco-friendly activity where one can enjoy doing it with friends!

Habit #3: Repurposing Household Items

Start your zero waste lifestyle with this habit of repurposing your household goods like reusing mason jars for food storage

The ability to adapt or utilise something for a new purpose means to repurpose. And repurposing items at home breathes new life to old tools which are great to the environment. There are several simple ways in which we can repurpose our household items.


First, you can turn mason jars from the bottle of spaghetti sauce or jam you’ve bought to make great food storage containers and planters. You can also turn old bed sheets into a reusable tote for your grocery shopping. And instead of using  the store’s single-use plastic bags, you can use fabric bags to carry fresh produce.

Habit #4: Quality not Quantity

Bring along your reusable items in a reusable bag whenever you head out to avoid generating waste

It’s better to purchase smaller amounts of better quality, reusable items for higher prices rather than purchasing large portions of singled-used, lower quality items for lower prices.


An example is to avoid buying fast fashion — low-priced but stylish clothing that moves quickly from design to retail stores to meet trends. Clothing stores which champion sustainable fashion include Zara, Levi’s, and Adidas. Furthermore, we can avoid single-used plastics or paper goods like utensils, straws, paper towels, and plastic bottles that contribute to the garbage and pollution plaguing our planet. Instead, use reusable items including metal straws, cutlery or cloth napkins that reduce the amount of paper and plastic waste you generate with every meal.

Habit #5: Connect with a Zero-Waste Community

Having a community focused on zero waste habits, practices, and lifestyle is the key to making Malaysia a zero waste nation

Did you know? There are over 40,000 community members locally who’ve joined in the Zero Waste Movement. The benefits of connecting include expanding your network, creating new connections, and sharing different habits and experiences or milestones of the zero waste lifestyle with the community.


With that, Zero Waste Malaysia invites you to be part of this mission by connecting to their Facebook community group whereby you can get started with learning about the Zero Waste Movement and connect to community members who’re passionate about sustainability. It’s for everyone to join, be it for those who are still new to the sustainable lifestyle or even those who’ve practised it for years!

While it’s impossible to create zero waste, there are still many ways to reduce consumption that can benefit the planet. The habits and practises above are some of which one can develop to practise a zero waste lifestyle!

Want to start practising simple, easy, yet effective ways to lead a zero waste lifestyle? Find out more here.Interested in knowing how else you can be a part of the zero waste community? Join us for our Under The Stars: A Zero Waste Festival on 1 October 2022 from 2 to 9 pm, in collaboration with Zero Waste Malaysia.

Michelle Lee Shu Ling is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) at Taylor’s University. Whilst being President of Taylor’s Model United Nations (TLMUN), and PR Director of the Taylor’s Mooting Society, she enjoys writing from time to time!

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