At Zero-Living, we have built a lifestyle platform for sustainable brands that introduces our customers to ethically produced, quality products that will help them reduce waste and use fewer natural resources. We aim to change the way people shop, by promoting the ethos of 'choose-better' to create a more planet conscious buying mindset.
But what does ‘choose better’ really mean, and what should you look out for when starting out on your minimalist and zero waste journey? Here are four top tips: 1. Think about the full lifecycle of your stuff
Shoppers should consider the full lifecycle of products they are buying. As a consumer, you will only own things for a short part of their lifetime. With today’s culture of hyper-consumption, it’s all too easy to forget where your stuff has come from and where it will end up once you’re finished with it.
Try to learn about the raw materials that went into making a product, how and where it was manufactured, and how it can be repaired, reused, repurposed or recycled to extend its end-of-life. Looking out for brands that are totally transparent with their supply chains will help you ensure the products you buy are sustainably produced. Take good care of your things whilst they are in your possession. Also, think about all the different options once you are finished with something!
2. Buy fair trade
Poor workers rights and pay make everyday life difficult, and can make it hard for workers to make planet-friendly choices. By promoting fair trade, you will make a difference to communities all along the supply chain.
For us ‘fair trade’ means safe working conditions, minimum wages, gender equality and workers’ rights. We believe that it is only fair to pay a bit extra for this when necessary, and is one reason why ethically produced goods sometimes come at a slightly higher cost. Hopefully, driven in part by consumer purchasing power, this approach will become the standard in future!
3. Purchase fewer new products
To oversimplify a complex issue: the less stuff we make, the less there will be to waste. Whilst over-consumption is a widespread issue, the fashion industry is one of the worst offenders. The rise of fast fashion has seen a 400% rise in the annual production of new clothes over the past 20 years.
By prioritising quality, longevity and versatility when choosing what we buy, we will hopefully need to buy less stuff! Buying second hand or upcycled goods also helps, naturally extending the lifecycle of things that might otherwise have ended up in landfill, the ocean or the air.
4. Consider the materials used to produce things
The obvious culprit here is plastic. At Zero-Living, we ensure that we have as little plastic in the range as possible and, if our brands use any plastic at all, we ensure that they are taking steps toward replacing it with a better alternative. Check out these 7 eco-friendly home products to get you started in reducing your plastic footprint.
We also look to supply organic and sustainable materials which have been repurposed, recycled or are certified as being more planet-friendly such as GOTS and FSC. We are particularly looking at helping to minimise use of textiles that are made using chemicals which can harm the planet or materials that are overproduced and not sustainably replaced.