Nature is zero-waste
Zero-waste in its purest form exists only in nature.
The Earth’s systems are in perfect balance with one another, and everything serves a contributing purpose to this state of equilibrium. Waste accumulation simply does not exist. Take a tree for example; a tree creates waste in the form of oxygen, which is necessary for life on Earth. Say you breathe in that air and as you exhale, you release waste in the form of carbon dioxide. As you may already know, trees absorb that ‘waste’ to continue the cycle, creating a perfect balance to sustain life on Earth.
The natural balance of the planet, however, has been drastically altered since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. This shift in manufacturing processes paved the way for a linear economy, as the mass production of fuel-consuming products were designed with monetary profits in mind. This has thrown off nature’s balance, and led to the exponential amount of waste in the form of emissions, plastics, chemicals – the list goes on – that we are now trying to combat.
The zero-waste movement
In recent years, entrepreneurs, YouTubers, social media influencers, activists, and journalists have all played a contributing role in the zero-waste movement’s surge in widespread popularity. From offering tips on how to live sustainably and waste-free to promoting aesthetically pleasing sustainable products and brands, the movement covers a huge range of topics and has therefore resonated with millions. Interestingly, the original concept of zero-waste was not actually meant for the consumer, but rather for corporations to adapt and restructure their supply chains to eliminate waste.
The zero-waste movement has been particularly successful in exposing the unethical and unsustainable practices of the mainstream fashion industry. This has paved the way for new and emerging brands and companies alike to restructure the industry from the inside out. Ditching the outdated structures and unjust monetary values of the industry altogether, sustainable companies and brands often place strong value in the ethical treatment of workers, sustainability and transparency in their supply chains, and creating high-quality apparel that is produced at a more gradual pace and is meant to last.