technology and zero waste

The problems with Zero Waste Living and New Technology

I’m a huge fan of new technology, but there’s no denying that it can conflict with a Zero Waste lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to.  

Each year, or in some cases every few months, companies are releasing the latest smartphone or gadget.  The components are getting smaller and smaller with more complex materials and this can make it harder to recycle them when they reach their useful end of life.

The electronic waste problem is huge. More than 20 million tons of e-waste are produced every year.  Therefore, if we want to embrace new technology we have to address the issues.

And, that’s before we even start to think about all the energy and resources being used to power it all.

The whole ethos of Zero Waste is that we reuse resources in a circular economy rather than constantly buying and disposing of them as we do in today’s linear economy.

Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health. – Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA)

To embrace Zero Waste we need a change in mindset and how we deal with new technology.

Benefits of zero waste living and new technology

There are many benefits to new technology. You only have to look at the Internet which is such a wonderful source of information that can help us all on our Zero Waste journeys.

We can use Smart meters to monitor the energy use in our homes and help us reduce the amount we use.  Smart home devices can be used to programme everything from lights to washing machines.

Technology has also allowed us to have less “stuff”.  We no longer need to buy DVDs, CDs and Books when we can just download them or stream them live.  Although, having said that I still actually like to read real books and am a huge fan of libraries.

With the rise of the smartphone there has also been a huge increase in the numbers of Apps being developed.  These Apps cover everything but there are a number that are really useful if you are trying to live a Zero Waste lifestyle.  These are 5 of my favourite Apps:

Olio – Food sharing App

PaperKarma – Stop junk mail

Refill – find local places to refill your reusable water bottle for free

Too Good To Go – links customers with restaurants and allows them to buy surplus food at a discount , helping reduce food waste

Neighbourly – helping supermarkets redistribute food to local charities and good causes

how to combine zero waste living and new technology

So it is possible to embrace new technology and Zero Waste but you just have to be a mindful consumer.  

Here are my top tips on how to embrace technology and Zero Waste:

  1. Don’t upgrade your smartphone if it’s not necessary
  2. Buy secondhand rather than new or if buying new buy something that’s built to last
  3. Share resources, you don’t always have to go out and buy something new if you’re only going to use it occasionally
  4. Try and repair items rather than replacing them
  5. Donate usable items 
  6. Monitor and reduce your energy consumption – switch to renewable energy supplier if possible
  7. Consider switching your search end to Ecosia they plant trees when you search, it costs about 56 web searches to fund one tree
  8. Limit your time on Social Media, browsing the web and streaming, don’t neglect real life connections
  9. Buy from companies with good Zero Waste credentials 
  10. Recycle unusable electronic items

Have you changed your approach to modern technology as part of your Zero Waste journey?

Written by 

Hi, I’m Frankie. This is my blog (Thoroughly Modern Grandma) about blending old fashioned values with modern technology, whilst trying to reduce our waste and be a little kinder to our Planet.

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