How We Can All Join the Zero-Waste Movement

Klean Kanteen is all-in on the Zero Waste Movement. At our core, we support initiatives that go hand-in-glove with our ultimate mission to eliminate single-use waste that harms the environment. The Zero Waste Movement is a concept based on the ideals of living sustainably, reducing our ecological footprint, and taking intentional action to limit the impact we make on the planet.

But what does it mean, truly, to live a zero-waste lifestyle? Can anyone truly produce zero waste? We’ll unpack how the EPA talks about Zero Waste, and how the movement continues to evolve, so you can see which steps you can easily take to be a part of it.

What Is the Zero-Waste Movement?

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Zero Waste also aims to protect human health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are many ways to be a part of the Zero Waste Movement. You can start by reducing your use of single-use plastics and disposable products. You can also look for ways to recycle or compost as much of your waste as possible. And finally, you can support businesses and organizations that are working to find waste solutions. Ultimately, Zero Waste is about the cumulative effect of many people being intentional—taking thoughtful, purposeful steps at each point of the product consumption process to help reduce and eventually eliminate harmful waste.

Zero waste is becoming more and more popular, not only among eco-concerned individuals, but businesses and industries, too. Again, Zero Waste is more of an ideal than a hard-and-fast number. The philosophy is dedicated to making sure all waste can become resources for other uses, which will themselves become resources for other uses, and so on. Zero Waste aims to use fewer resources, and to favor recycled ones to begin with.

How Hard Is It to Go Zero Waste?

Zero-Waste living can seem daunting at first, but it is actually quite simple once you get started. There are many ways to reduce your waste, and there are an increasing number of resources and products available to help you live a Zero Waste lifestyle. It is easier than ever to make the switch to Zero Waste.

For the average person, Zero Waste simply means gradually trying to cut down on how much trash they produce. This can be done by avoiding unnecessary products and packaging, especially avoiding single-use items like plastic bottles, straws and cutlery. Many are also taking to composting, and in general consuming less and making thoughtful purchases.

What Does Klean Kanteen Do To Be Zero Waste?

You probably already know that we are a Certified B Corporation, certified Climate Neutral, and a member of 1% For the Planet. But one of the strongest commitments we’ve made to the environment is our dedication to using certified 90-percent post-consumer recycled stainless steel in our water bottles, food canisters, straws, and other products.

Simply put: Steel production is traditionally an energy-intensive process that emits a lot of carbon dioxide. We know it is part of our responsibility to acknowledge and seek out alternative means of production that are the least harmful to the environment. Steel is made by the processing of iron ore, the mining of which consumes huge amounts of energy and produces large amounts of gas emissions and water pollution.

That’s the bad news. The good news–and the reason we are making the change to certified 90-percent post-consumer recycled steel–is that the recycling process of steel is much less harmful to the environment. In theory, every piece of steel in existence can last forever, repurposed as steel in some form or another, in perpetuity. Steel products can always be converted into other steel products, with relatively minimal need for new iron ore mining or new steel production.

Our role in the Zero Waste movement is to not just “greenwash” and do marketing that sounds environmentally friendly—we are living it by committing to using recycled steel that can be reused in perpetuity. Purchases of these types of products will promote a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner soil and water, less perfectly good steel sitting wasted in landfills, and more eco-conscious jobs.

What Can I Do to Be Zero Waste?

Almost everything you do can present an opportunity to live Zero-Waste, from the choices you make when you decide to order something online, dispose of food packaging, or reuse something you already own for a new purpose. Klean Kanteen bottles are designed to last a lifetime because we want you to be able to use it forever–if it replaces all your single-use plastics for eternity, we’ll be successful. For even more tips on how to live a Zero-Waste lifestyle, check out Seven Simple Ways to Live More Sustainably.

Is Zero Waste Impossible? Can Anyone Truly Be Zero Waste?

There is an incredibly helpful community on Reddit dedicated to educating people on and including people in the Zero Waste movement, and they capture the concept perfectly: “Zero Waste isn’t about perfection, and one can never truly create no waste whatsoever. Any reduction is noble and should not be looked down upon. We are all taking the steps we can when we can, based on our personal priorities and life circumstances.”

So, no, technically speaking, one cannot be ZERO waste. But there are many, many situations in which you actually can create no waste—the point is to create more and more of those situations in your daily lifestyle.