First Impression On Zero Waste Most Likely Leads to Misconception

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Illustration By
Abdurrahman Rabbani

When the first fully synthetic plastic was invented in 1950, it was meant to be a solution for practical life. With a purpose to make life easier, plastic became a sensation and lifesaver. Fast forward to 2020, plastic has turned its back, turned to be the most prominent foe to the environment. Quoting from the National Geographic website, there are approximately 5 trillion plastic waste floats in the ocean. Unfortunately, as much as plastic harms our earth, the clothes that we tossed in the bin ended up in the landfill would release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas causing great damage to the environment. Fashion Revolution even stated that synthetic fabrics like polyester could take hundreds of years to biodegrade. It comes as no surprise that the global community joins hands to strike the war against the problem, and the existence of Zero waste Indonesia aims to raise awareness about zero waste lifestyle.

"This movement encourages and challenges us in evaluating our lifestyle and fixing our practice that potentially harms the environment."

In a brief definition, zero waste is a movement to changing the habits of using items that’s hard even near impossible to be decomposed. The movement’s arduous work encourages and challenges us in evaluating our lifestyle and fixing our daily practice that potentially harms the environment. Means, we have to avoid sending waste or debris to the landfill as much as we can because mostly the waste we’ve made got mixed and just piled up without getting recycled. According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in 2017, “Out of the total waste produced (organic and non-organic), only 7.5% are processed. The rest of the waste were piled, burned, ignored, and as much as 69% are transported to landfills.” So, yes, the ugly truth is: recycle is not the ultimate answer. That’s why in zero waste movement, it is known as 5R, 1S; Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Sort.

Still, we tend to misinterpret and intimidated by the term right away. We are often digesting the words literally, so the definition we have in our mind that we aren’t allowed to make any waste. As a living human being, we will always make waste considering it is impossible with every consumption that we took. What zero waste movement attempts to do is educating the wise ways of reducing waste. From the 5R 1S principle adoption, we can start by refusing to use a plastic straw or bring our Tumblr for a drink. It certainly takes time to change our habits as it used to be the thing that we do every day. Furthermore,  Zero Waste Indonesia creating a one-stop-solution platform for zero waste lifestyle, to share the educating content as well as the alternatives towards reducing waste. Maurilla Imron, founder Zero Waste Indonesia shares rather than being pretentious and condescending, Zero Waste Indonesia relied on upon gently and interactively approach by giving possibilities and accessible choices for the audience.

Zero Waste taught us to go back to our traditional culture—focusing the usage of natural items, what we have around us and press the urge of excessive buying."

Zero Waste Indonesia’s program envisions to break the misconception, including how we thought applying this kind of lifestyle ought to be fancy. However, Maurilla Imron gives different perspectives as the value of zero waste practice is that we could utilize our stuff as well as mindfully considering how it will affect us or how long the goods will last. Therefore, Zero Waste Indonesia initiated #TukarBaju (clothing swap) campaign to minimize the least prefer clothing in the closet ended up in landfills and to be alternative how we could still maintain the look with the secondhand product. The habit of impulsive buying means more costly impulse. A low price leads to something or someone required to pay a higher price to produce—whether it is contributed to climate crisis or the labor in the manufacture being underpaid and overworked.

The rising movement with a better purpose doesn’t imply a smooth ride. There’s always doubt that zero waste movement is pointless if there is no push from government policy. But, like Anne-Marie Bonneau stated, ‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly’ which taught us to go back to our traditional culture—focusing the usage of natural items, what we have around us and press the urge of excessive buying. We don’t have to buy new fancy things as we can’t wait forever to take a small step. Eventually, our step will take us for a brighter and more significant impact on our earth.