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Waste Management Pyramid - A way towards Zero Waste Living

Zero is such an important invention. Zero adds significant importance and value to the entire number system.

Then how about Zero and Waste brought together? That is Zero Waste.

“Zero Waste” is a habit, more a personal habit that wants us to live with literally zero waste.

But, is it possible?

Why not? Yes, of course possible. In fact, it is the need of today.

And, the waste management pyramid is a pathway towards it.

Oh, wait! Waste management pyramid? Sounds something unusual, right?

Yeah! Because we all only heard about Egypt pyramids.

So, let’s first see what is this waste management pyramid.

It’s a pyramid-shaped structure that defines the hierarchy of guidelines to manage the waste. This layered structure represents ways for sustainable living.

(Image source: ©Gururaj Bastade)

The bottom of the pyramid leads to more sustainable living opposite to the top part which is more investable. That means the more our waste management system is towards the upper side, the more we need to invest time, money, and resources to deal with it. And, that is also harmful to our environment.

Now, if we want to live completely zero waste life, it means for our waste management pyramid “Dispose” option is not there.

This habit is difficult but we can move closer to it. Let’s see how.

We take a daily routine of Gaurav who is making a zero-waste habit. He works in a school as a Science teacher. Here are things that Gaurav do / support or his family does / supports.

• He always take homemade food box with him and leftover food plus home kitchen waste gets composted (TREATed) at his home.

• He always carries own water bottle and cutlery (steel: straw, spoon, small plate) in his bag so that he can REUSE them.

• He always carries a small napkin or handkerchief so that he can REDUCE paper waste eg. paper napkins at restaurants.

• Any paper he comes across, he brings / keeps in his home in paper scrap which he can give to paper scrap shop monthly so that it gets RECYCLEd properly.

• He keeps a cloth bag with him always and does not bring a single plastic bag after he is done shopping from the local market. Thus he follows REUSE and REDUCE policy.

• Plastic seems unavoidable for him, but he makes sure to SEGREGATE plastic and RECYCLE or REUSE plastic items.

• He tries to find REUSable replacements to plastic items, eg. materials made of cloth, bamboo, organic items, glass, etc.

• He encourages his kids to play on the ground or gardens than with toys. And otherwise prefers environmentally friendly toys. Thus he tries to REFUSE or REDUCE waste generation.

• Things like broken glass, bulb, metal, etc. he keeps at home separately and gives to scrap shop to RECYCLE them.

• Any unused things which are in good condition, he tries to find people who can REUSE it by buying or he DONATE them to needy.

• Any unused things which are not in good condition, he tries to get it TREATed to REUSE instead of getting a new one immediately.

• Any unused things which are not in good condition, and also he doesn’t want to continue using it, he makes sure that it reaches the right hands for TREATment or RECYCLing.

• For any occasion, he avoids disposables to REFUSE waste generation.

(Image source:

Did we just notice how Gaurav is traversing with the waste management pyramid while dealing with his waste?

And there is such n number of ways to fit our waste into the right place of waste management pyramid.

Once we decide to take responsibility for own waste, we tend to find ways for moving towards zero waste.

So, let’s start putting “Zero” and “Waste” together and start a journey towards “Zero Waste”. And, the waste management pyramid is a way to achieve it.

As like Gaurav, I have started my journey. I am sure you will too, soon! And, as we both could do this, I think everyone else can also do this.

And she said it perfectly:

“Benjamin Franklin said there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes. But I'd like to add a third certainty: trash. And while some in this room might want to discuss reducing taxes, I want to talk about reducing trash.” - Ruth Ann Minner

Exactly! We all should talk about reducing our trash. Otherwise, we will be heading towards a crisis situation. Yes, crisis, due to landfills and litter.

Follow on to the next wlog, which would depict "A journey from Zero Waste Lifestyle to Zero Waste landfills"

Hello readers, I am Bharati Koot aka #BBK. I am Software Crafter at "Nelkinda Software Craft" and Environmentalist, who always strives for better Software and a better World. I dream of clean India and the clean world so that our future generations can live happily. I believe in being the change that we want to see in the world.


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