If Brian Shasserre (pronounced sash-er-ray) is out running errands without his reusable water bottle and gets thirsty, he just goes thirsty. That’s because Shasserre is a reuser. Rather than purchase a plastic, single-use bottle of water, he’ll will go without, because he believes the environmental cost of plastic is too high. Shasserre is part of the Zero Waste Movement and is proof you can change the game one person at a time.
The Zero Waste Movement is exactly what it sounds like: reducing household and personal waste. The opposite of this movement, and what people like Shasserre try to avoid, is single use — using a product once before throwing it away. He and his family (partner Emily and four-year-old daughter, Amaya), like many people who work to reduce waste, hope to save money and the planet by choosing to reuse.
His advocacy for multi-use products over single-use products is a journey that involves asking questions and adopting a different mindset. It’s a shift in perception, understanding and interpretation, he says. “I’m an environmentalist, so I’m concerned with, and advocate for, the protection of the environment. Refusing single-use products is simply aligning my actions with my values.”
There are many advantages to following the Zero Waste Movement and eliminating single-use from your lifestyle.
Single-use households create more trash and recycling, and usually have cluttered shelves and drawers due to the number of single-use products. Multi-use households produce dramatically less, if any, trash and very little recycling, and have less stuff cluttering their lives as a result.
So how does the average person make the shift? Brian says it’s as easy as adopting the five R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Rot. (Reusing is using something again; recycling is sending it off to get made into something else.)
Start with refuse. “We can refuse single-use by adopting reuse,” he says. Shasserre and many other Zero Waste Movement advocates point out that reusing saves money, because most people already have the tools they need. “People are already buying single-use products that are re-usable — peanut butter jars, salad dressing jars, bread bags. You don’t have to recycle it. You can re-use it. You’ve just bought your reusable water bottle, a container for storing soup, your bag for bulk foods. It may not look as pretty, but it works, and costs you no extra money to create a good habit.” Shasserre even makes his family’s laundry detergent and dish soap and his shaving cream in an effort to reduce plastic in his life. “We’re not zero-use by any means. We’re on a journey. We’re novices, but we’re making every effort we can, and that’s what matters.”
Interested in making a change?
Website dedicated to helping create new habits that will enable positive life changes. Check out the habit-tracking app.
How to get past your habit obstacle and change using simple steps.
Understanding human potential and self-improvement.
- “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg
- “Drive” by Daniel Pink
- “Mindset” by Carol Dweck
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