For years we've been trying to be better, separate our waste, chuck our plastic waste in the blue bin for recycling so that the material can be used again. But how about going one better, and avoiding that waste altogether? Precycling, not recycling: avoiding waste altogether, rather than creating it and then just recycling it afterwards, is represented today in the movement otherwise known as "zero waste". One of the main demands of this movement is to completely do away with one-use plastics, a proposal that the European Union just turned into legislation.
Avoiding using unnecessary plastic in the first place is much better than just recycling the waste afterwards, of course. You might have seen the Youtube video "I Want You to Stop Recycling" which is a pretty good explanation of the reasoning behind it.
Now a group of young ecopreneurs from Spain wants to help anyone who wants to go one step further and start a zero waste life, or at least move in that direction. They've come up with a simple solution, an app that could help us change our habits and reduce our plastic consumption through small actions such as using reusable fabric bags when shopping, not using plastic straws and avoiding buying things packaged in plastic containers."Today shopping at a supermarket is not an easy task because it is 100% packaged.There is very little that can be bought that does not come in a container, usually primarily made of plastic," explains Oriol Segarra, one of the founders of the initiative. "On Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram groups there are manysolutions, but those are all disorganized and not in one place. Our goal is to collect and organise all of that information into a single platform."
Go Zero Waste is the name of the application that - using techniques like gamification - wants to motivate users and make it as easy as possible for them to reduce the amount of waste they create in their everyday life. Use the app to create a shopping list and it will suggest zero waste alternatives and also nearby stores where it's easy to find unpackaged produce. And if you don't have time to go to the shop, you can also use the app to organise an (eco-friendly) delivery - brought to you on foot, by bike or even electric moped. The app will also supply you with tips about other nearby businesses, such as bars, restaurants and hotels that are using the zero waste concept.
You can get prizes for redcing your plastic waste consumption in the form of tickets and discounts, and track the amount of waste that you've avoided thanks to your change of habits.
But the app aims to go even further than that: it also seeks to create a community of people and companies that are part of this movement by letting them communicate and share information, news, events or workshops. In this way, users can share their knowledge and get tips from others who are also trying to go zero waste.
In order to carry out the project, the founders are working on it in their spare time and recently launched a successful crowdfunding campaign, raising over 10,000 EUR to develop the pilot version of the app. The biggest challenge? "Finding a team of developers that wants to get involved in the project with a long-term vision. We do not want to hire just any old studio to work on the project; it has to be one that believes in the environmental and social aspect," says Oriol.
The first trials of the app are set to be carried out in Barcelona. Until it is available for download, the team wants to encourage society to change its mentality: "Any material or object that becomes waste is poorly designed or poorly managed by our system," says Oriol. "What we have to do is eliminate the concept of waste and move on to see all materials and products as resources, that can be used again and again by our society. Our vision has to be circular and not linear."