“More than recycling, we need to produce less garbage,” warns Zero
The solid shampoo does not need packaging, bulk purchases travel in cloth bags or jars and spend months without needing to dispose of the garbage because Ana Milhazes has practically not produced it since stipulating the “zero” target.
“More than recycling, it is necessary to produce less garbage,” said the 34-year-old environmentalist, who in 2016 founded the Zero Waste Movement in Portugal, saying “no” to plastic and refusing to package, as “the most sustainable is to extend the useful life of what we already have. ”
In the apartment where he lives in Porto, the recycling bag is empty, the organic waste was for composting, the garbage is reduced to half a dozen stickers and labels of fabric with no destination (they are not recyclable), the (few) furnitures were made from old things or taken from the trash and the clothes were changed or bought second hand.
“I go to the eco-point every two months, but I take it a little bit,” says the former IT project manager, explaining that food waste, about 70% of the waste produced before, are now delivered to a couple of farmers who will transform them into fertilizer.
The “big change“, as for plastic, went to buy in bulk: “I bring the amount I want and without packaging,” he summarizes.
In order to fulfil the Lixo Zero objective, which currently has 15 thousand “tastes” in the Facebook social network, Ana has also exchanged the tissues for the cloth, the raw cotton for fabric discs and the plastic of the toothbrush and water bottle by bamboo.
These and other elements make up the ‘Zero Waste Kit’, which the activist exhibits in training actions or congresses, as will happen on the 29th, at the 3rd National Geographic Summit, held in Porto with the theme ‘Planet or Plastic’.
Ana will attend a session dedicated to 5th and 6th graders from all over the country and, although she is aware that it is not the children who pay the bill to choose the most sustainable when it comes to supplying the pantry, she knows that they can be “very boring “.
“They end up being able to transmit to parents the fundamental message, which is to refuse and reduce to prevent the production of garbage,” he says.
The activist admits there are no “perfect solutions“, trying to decide on the “less bad” alternative.
“Between a paper bag and a plastic bag, it lasts longer. The problem is that plastic does not dissolve in the environment, like paper,” he explains.
For the activist, the “essential” is “refuse the disposable” and “extend the useful life of objects,” even glass, which “is 100% recyclable.”
“I was always very concerned about environmental issues, but I was very focused on the part of recycling. Until one day I looked at the dustbin and thought: How can a person concerned about the Environment produce so much?” He recalls.
For about a year, Ana combined this project with the career of project manager in the computer area, but said goodbye at the end of 2017, after depletion and two months of low without improvements.
He decided to dedicate himself full time to the Environment, adding the money from the training actions to the yoga classes, which he already gave at the weekends, and “give to live.”
In 2011, had already started to “simplify life” by adopting “a minimalist lifestyle“, which rejects unnecessary purchases.
“We live in a consumer society where everything seems to be a necessity. To change is to leave the autopilot and think: do I really need or am I going to use it?” He says.
Another “strategy” to lose the will to buy is “to count the hours in which we are going to use a certain thing or the ones that we will have to work to pay“.
At that point, Ana began by doing a “cleaning” on the clothes, which she was addicted to buying. He found some by debut and another without use, spread by “four cabinets“. It reduced everything to one.
From the “physical part,” he moved to a “more mental part,” moving away “commitments and people,” denying “wasting time with freights.”
“By eliminating things, we make room for new things,” he notes.
Regrets never had. To avoid them there is still the “doubt box“, where the objects of hesitation are kept for a year.
“If, after that time, I never had to go there, I give the box without even opening and looking,” he says.