3 Ways a Zero Waste Lifestyle Can Improve Your Health

When my husband and I first started going zero waste, we did so to lessen our environmental footprint and reduce the trash we were sending to landfill. But over time the reasons for our zero waste lifestyle have only increased. Today, we also do it for our health!


Trash is more than just an eyesore. It actually poses a real threat to our bodies. Landfills emit toxic gasses like ammonia and sulfides, causing short-term health effects like headaches, trouble sleeping, lung irritation, and even chest pain.

Landfills also contaminate our clean groundwater – the primary water source for more than 50% of the entire population of the United States. And last but not least, landfills emit serious amounts of greenhouse gasses including both methane and carbon dioxide. Those food scraps leftover from dinner will cause damage long after you toss them in the trash.

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And that’s just the health dangers associated with landfills. What about what’s going on at home? Plastic, one of the world’s preferred materials for everything from plastic wrap to kids’ toys, also poses a serious threat to our health:

“Exposure to harmful chemicals during manufacturing, leaching in the stored food items while using plastic packages or chewing of plastic teethers and toys by children are linked with severe adverse health outcomes such as cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive effects etc.”

This isn’t just a landfill issue, people. This is about your lungs, your skin, and your cells. Is the convenience of a plastic water bottle really worth that?

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When I first heard these facts my mind was changed. It was time to ban garbage and as many plastics as possible from our lives. Just one year later, we are nearly trash-free and our health has never been better. Here are some of the ways that living a zero waste lifestyle has improved our health and can improve yours, too!

1. Less plastic, less exposure.

Of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that has ever been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled; so, the vast majority is accumulating in landfills. Waste. Trash. Garbage. When you start making an effort to cut down on plastic use, you also naturally cut down on the amount of plastic you encounter in your daily life. Plastic water bottles? You don’t use them. Plastic forks? You don’t use them. Plastic bags? You don’t need them; you have your own canvas one instead!

When you go zero waste, you encounter plastics less frequently.

2. Processed foods are a no go.

Most zero wasters do their shopping at farmer’s markets, food co-operatives, and bulk stores whenever possible. This means we mostly eat fresh, whole foods, completely free from packaging.

What does this have to do with health? It comes down to processing: fresh, unprocessed foods get eaten in their natural state before they go bad; processed foods last longer and can be bought packaged, but come with a laundry list of unpronounceable ingredients. When you’re avoiding trash, you avoid boxed, wrapped, and bagged processed foods as well.

When you go zero waste, you naturally eat a more nutritious diet.

3. Toiletries and cosmetics are made the natural way.

The vast majority of cosmetic products are packaged in cute, but totally unrecyclable containers. That plastic mascara tube, shrink-wrapped bar of soap, and disposable razor will just end up in the trash when you’re done with them. No new life in sight!

When you go zero waste, arrowroot powder replaces your aerosol dry shampoo, you invest in a stainless steel razor that has removable, recyclable blades, and if you’re brave you start using baking soda as a deodorant. No waste. No clutter. No chemicals.

When you go zero waste, you eliminate chemical products too.

COURTESY BY: http://care2.com/

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