Waste more, want not, said no one ever. But, we’ve all heard the age old saying, “waste not, want not.” Whether you learned it from a grandmother saving the inch-long threads left over from mending jeans or a coworker who eats the same leftovers for a week, it’s an adage we can all agree with. The less you waste, the more you have, and therefore, the less you want (or the more resources you have to get what you want).

Reducing waste, or going so far as to become zero waste, can open opportunities in life and contribute to the beneficial stewardship of the planet. When you waste less, you will find that you want less and gain more.

Bea Johnson, zero waste advocate, speaker, author and educator, has led a zero waste life since 2008. Her family of four generated a measly pint-size jar of trash for the whole year of 2015. Zero waste living doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a lifestyle adjustment that takes time and requires flexibility and self-compassion. Bea Johnson offers us five basic rules, in this order, to manage waste by: Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot.

These are the rules for every material thing you purchase, consume or come to own, in a zero waste lifestyle.

A zero waste life style directly reduces impact on the environment:

Vermont has only one operating lined landfill, in Coventry. No one wants a landfill in their backyard — it’s expensive and it fragments habitat for animals.

At its current rate of use, the life expectancy of the Coventry landfill is estimated between 7–13 years.

Greenhouse gases, produced in landfills, are contributing to climate change.

Floating plastics in the ocean are killing marine birds and ending up in the bellies of whales.

When you consume fewer products or less packaging, you are not contributing to the energy required to make those materials.

You also save time and money:

The more stuff we buy, the more money we spend and the more time we spend centered on stuff and not experiences. For example, at children’s birthday parties typical gifts include plastic toys, stuffed animals, and other things that clutter up their rooms and can’t possibly be played with all at once. It is wonderful to be generous on someone’s birthday, but there are other ways to show appreciation and care. When you have less stuff in your home, less time is spent caring for it, cleaning it, fixing it, or figuring out ways to get rid of it.

To read the full story, visit http://www.timesargus.com/article/20161031/NEWS01/161039916.