March 30, 2023

With the current global attitude shifting to a more environmentally-friendly outlook, many people have started to look at their consumption habits and change their routines to help the planet. One new lifestyle trend that is growing in popularity is the low- waste or zero-waste movement.

Alondra Blanco, sophomore environmental science major at California Baptist University and newcomer to the low-waste lifestyle, defined it as “minimizing the use of single-use plastic products, buying goods that are not overly packaged and finding alternatives to fit my needs.”

One major trait of the low- waste movement is the focus on plastic consumption, which has caused an overflow of single use plastics to enter the world’s current waste systems. 

According to the University of Oxford, 55 percent of the world’s waste consists of plastic. Most of these plastics cannot safely return to the environment, making the use of less plastic an important part of the low-waste lifestyle.

Along with decreasing plastic use, people partaking in the lifestyle tend to focus on the goods they are consuming. Many of these goods are made of compostable materials such as bamboo or steel. These goods are easily recycled or composted, decreasing the amount of waste going  to landfills.

 “It is possible to be low -waste as a college student, but only if the campus takes initiative, as well, to further supply students with resources. You can only take it so far with all of the plastic forks, lids and bags that are handed out like candy, so it is extremely important,” Blanco said.

While it may seem daunting to partake in lowwaste living, Cindy Villasenor, Garden Ranger in Los Angeles and advocate for the low-waste lifestyle, said she hopes to encourage people to not be afraid of making the change.

“Take baby steps. It is easier because if you try to go in 100 percent then it might overwhelm you. Make one swap at a time and take time to look up and research things,” Villasenor said.

Through her work, Villasenor brings light to the importance of these movements.

“The less trash we create, the cleaner of a planet we will leave our future generations. That also goes with leaving them a clean land, clean air, clean water. I want to make sure future generations have a livable planet,” Villasenor said.

At a recent Riverside event, Villasenor hosted a “Low Waste Lifestyle Workshop,” where she taught people about this way of living. One attendee of the event was Madison Santiago, sophomore environmental science major.

“I learned (from the event) it’s OK to not be perfect all the time, but as long as I can consciously try to reduce my plastic consumption and impact on the environment, I’m going in the right direction,” Santiago said.

The low-waste lifestyle has become an easy and accessible way for people to take steps toward helping the environment. Anyone is capable of living it out with the right resources and information.

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