What Are The Pros And Cons Of Zero-Waste

  • By: greenorb
  • Date: June 22, 2021
  • Time to read: 6 min.

I remember when I first learned about the zero-waste lifestyle. 

I was pretty excited about how it can help make the world a better place by reducing the number of gathered waste. 

Fast forward to my in-depth research on the topic; I found out that there are some disadvantages to practicing this lifestyle habit even though it possesses several benefits. 

This article will showcase my research and first-hand findings regarding the pros and cons of the zero-waste lifestyle. 

However, before proceeding to this, I will outline the basic principles guiding the zero-waste lifestyle.

Zero-Waste Lifestyle: The Principles Guiding It

Generally, the zero-waste lifestyle focuses on waste management and recycling. 

I discovered that the idea of this lifestyle practice pushes individuals towards a circular economy rather than a linear one.

I know you might begin to wonder about the meaning of circular and linear economy. 

Nevertheless, the circular economy refers to a self-sustainable system in which every product gets recycled and reused into other items rather than going to the landfill.

However, the linear economy refers to the traditional lifestyle practice, the “buy-use-dispose” system. 

This type of economy primarily leads used products directly to the landfill, and it is a regular practice in most Western countries. 

My research on the disadvantages of zero-waste led me to find and understand that it has certain guiding principles. 

Let’s take a quick peek at the zero-waste principles;

  • Refuse

This principle tells you to be selective of items you bring into your home. 

Practicing this lifestyle ensures that you will keep all unnecessary clutter at bay.

  • Reduce

I discovered that this principle slightly resembles minimalism. The zero-waste reduction principle refers to you only having properties that you need by removing unuseful clutter.

  • Reuse

This is an essential guiding principle of zero-waste – everything you own should be reusable. 

It encourages you to do away with disposable items and focus on owning properties that you can mend, repair, and reuse.

  • Rehome

Here’s the truth, you will not always need most of your recycled items. However, there are always people in need of that recycled item – give it out. 

  • Recycle

This refers to the unusable items – the short lifespan products. 

However, even in their unusable state, you can always remake (recycle) them for use in other areas.

  • Rot

Compost of natural materials and food scraps returning to its reuse resource for more production.

What Are The Pros And Cons of Zero-Waste

I believe you now understand the zero-waste lifestyle through its guiding principle. 

Fundamentally, the stated guiding principle allows you to “by yourself” guess some of the pros and slight cons of a zero-waste lifestyle.

Nevertheless, let’s see the pros and cons attached to this lifestyle practice;

Here are the 7 Pros of Zero Waste Lifestyle

Zero-waste offers several benefits (or pros) to the individual and environment based on the earlier mentioned principles. 

Let’s see some of the pros attached;

Less Presence of Waste

Like the principle, zero-waste focuses on minimizing the presence of waste. 

If you look closely at the refuse, reduce, and recycle principle, you would see that it mainly talks about lessening waste and clutter.

For instance, zero-waste promotes no food waste in households that cook meals in abundance for few people. 

It will teach you to prepare what is appropriate and needed to avoid food rot.

Promotes Circular Economy

As earlier stated in this article, the circular economy is a self-sustainable system. 

Zero-waste encourages all individuals practicing this lifestyle to recycle and reuse products rather than send them to landfills. 

Pros And Cons Of Zero-Waste

Creates More Jobs

According to my findings, on average, zero-waste is responsible for creating 10× more jobs through refusing, reducing, and recycling than disposing of waste. 

It creates jobs in areas like repairing, rentals, and recycling companies.

It Encourages A Healthier Lifestyle

Let’s see the benefit one step at a time to offer clarity – going zero-waste directly refers to reduced visits to the supermarket. 

Furthermore, that eventually leads to a reduction and ultimately a total elimination of packaged processed foods.

The encouragement to healthy lifestyle centers on the fact that you will eat more unpackaged and unprocessed meals. 

For instance, fresh produce like beans, grains, and nuts will be top priority meals for you.

Saves More Money

Similar to minimalism, zero-waste practice saves your money by teaching you to be mindful about the things you purchase. 

Often, you might even find yourself shopping at second-hand stores to recycle and reuse discarded items.

For instance, if you start shopping at a second-hand store, your cost for purchasing items becomes reduced, and you can save a lot of money. 

Some expert shoppers believe you can save up to $5,000 a year shopping at second-hand stores.

It Encourages You To Get In Shape

I’m a bit certain you were not expecting this pro in the zero-waste lifestyle. 

Going by the already-mentioned healthier lifestyle benefit, zero-waste helps you to observe your calories and sugar intake.

For instance, most already-made meals might contain lots of sugars, calories and fat. 

But, by eating fresh produce, your body becomes healthier, and you will retain a good body shape.

Reduces Pollution and Conserves Resources

With the way we consume the planet’s natural resources, it is beginning to tilt the level of self-sustainability. 

However, zero-waste is all about reducing pollution by curbing the amount of produced waste. 

The idea of conserving resources also happens with the zero-waste lifestyle. 

When the community shifts from the linear to the circular economy, there is less need for using natural resources to produce more items. 

Here are the 5 Cons of Zero Waste Lifestyle

Like many things in this world, there are disadvantages to practices that often prove beneficial to the individual and environment. 

Let’s see some of the cons of the zero-waste lifestyle.

Zero-Waste Can Be Expensive

I know what you might be thinking; this con is contradicting a previously stated pro. 

However, I am referring to two different aspects of cost here; let me explain further.

Practising zero-waste is cheap when you refer to running the lifestyle day in and out. 

However, starting the zero-waste lifestyle is where the expenses come out. 

Purchasing zero-waste products that are sustainable are pretty expensive compared to disposable items. 

This is the area most individuals renege about the zero-waste lifestyle.

You Consider Zero-Waste As Time Consuming

With zero-waste, you will spend a lot of time searching for plastic-free products and other reusable materials. 

This means you might need to visit several shops to find a specific item you require – time-consuming.

Reliance On Online Shopping Can Be Tricky

Online shopping has gradually turned out to be a norm today; however, it doesn’t seem to favour the zero-waste lifestyle. 

For instance, most regular online shops send in purchased goods with lots of unnecessary, wasteful packaging materials. 

Although some shops send in purchased items in recyclable packaging, the distance between the buyer and seller often makes the product boxing complicated.

Zero-Waste Can Cause Anxiety

If you are unaware, eco-anxiety is a real threat, and the zero-waste lifestyle can be a significant promoter. 

This anxiety for zero-waste individuals usually begins when they start to feel others do not regard the lifestyle.

For instance, when a zero-waste individual goes to the market and notices people purchasing things in plastic bags, it often triggers a depressing syndrome. 

They might begin to wonder about the point of their lifestyle – leading to eco-anxiety.

It Requires High Discipline

Personally, this is a huge con because this lifestyle requires utmost discipline. 

The idea of resisting certain things can be utterly challenging. 

Imagine having to be mindful of how you generally shop for basic things like food and clothes.


I know the zero-waste concept preaches sustainability and environmental preservation. 

However, this lifestyle practice can often prove to be challenging for most people. 

If you want to engage in the zero-waste lifestyle, I urge you to consider the pros and cons of the habit before diving into it. 

Consider checking the pros and cons of the zero-waste lifestyle stated in this article of my first-hand findings.

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