Can minimalism and zero waste go hand in hand? I’ve seen this question come up a lot and it’s an absolute no brainer for me so I’m confused as to why people are feeling conflicted about it. In my opinion there’s no conflict between minimalism and zero waste, in fact, I would say they are one and the same. I’m not a minimalist but seeing this question again today made me want to share my perspective.
Some people seem to think minimalism involves not keeping stuff, in other words, throwing stuff out as soon as you are done with it to avoid clutter. On the other hand people seem to think zero waste involves hoarding random items like yoghurt containers and scraps of fabric until they can be reused. In my mind these are serious misconceptions. The essence of both lifestyles is that you don’t get the stuff and waste in the first place! The golden rule of zero waste living is to refuse what you do not need. Careful assessment of your needs leads to reduced clutter and waste, which means you shouldn’t have a lot of random things to reuse or repurpose. Is it not the same for minimalism? Shouldn’t minimalists be carefully assessing their needs before deciding what enters and what leaves their home. If you are not doing this, how can you call yourself a minimalist? Your home is simply a thoroughfare for stuff that comes in one door and goes out the other shortly after. That’s not minimal or mindful consumption.
Whilst not a minimalist, I do love clutter-free environments and that is part of my attraction to zero waste living. So let me say it again, I don’t believe there’s any conflict between minimalism and zero waste living but I’m keen to hear your opinion too, am I missing something? Have you struggled with balancing the two? Is one more important than the other to you?