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Zero waste – A Movement for Earth's better future

Take, produce, throw away. Whether it's food, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, household items or electronic devices, on a daily basis we accumulate waste that is suffocating our planet.

The average inhabitant of the Republic of Croatia produces around 418 kg of waste annually, and a small percentage of that waste is recycled or composted – only one quarter. However, recently, all over the world, including in Zagreb, there has been an increasingly popular movement whose mission is to change this mindset. A movement that establishes a new lifestyle.

Zero waste does not have strictly written rules by which it operates, but has goals that represent the foundations of a better future. Main goal? Maximum waste reduction. How to achieve this goal? Maximizing product utilization, recycling, composting, buying used items... Well, maybe it's best to explain it through examples from practice.

Blogger and vegan cook Nataša Rajčević (Bourbon and Blueberries blog) uses cloth bags, buys in bulk and plans, reuses vegetable leftovers from cooking and avoids unnecessary purchases of clothes. This proves that each individual can contribute to waste reduction.

There are also examples from the fashion industry, infamous for being one of the leading polluters. Anamarija Brkić (A'MARIE) and Zoran Aragović (BiteMyStyle) complement the aesthetics of their designer collections with sustainability. Clothes redesign, sustainable materials, local manufactures and minimum sewing waste – these principles prove that the fashion industry wants and can be sustainable.

However, businesses can also apply zero waste methods in their work, and since we've started with fashion, let's mention a sustainable fashion store: Street Closet . This vintage and second-hand brand has become famous in Zagreb and throughout Croatia. Its success proves that sustainable principles such as buying used clothes can result in a high level of fashion combinations and low purchase costs.

There is also Špeceraj, a store that has everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to cleaning products in its range, and avoids waste generation in all segments of its business. Rich in products from local family farms and other producers, with food in bulk and reusable packaging, this store changes the way of thinking of both customers and suppliers.

There is also Filteraj , a cafe in Vlaška Street where sustainability comes first and coffee comes second. How can a cafe be zero waste? Compostable to-go packaging, waste sorting and eliminating paper towels are a good start. They also produce their own plant-based milk, sell bulk groceries, as well as bio-solid cleaning products.

The Esplanade Hotel proves that even larger hospitality companies can work on zero-waste principle. Paying attention to guests' food consumption, applying special organization in food preparation and supporting local producers, this hotel with a rich tradition in cooperation with the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) is actively working on a sustainable way of doing business and reducing food waste.

From individuals to businesses, we can all work to reduce the waste we create. The zero waste movement is spreading, which we can see in Zagreb, and anyone who adopts its principles can be sure that they have overcome another obstacle on the way to a better, safer future for our planet.