What is waste?

How can we define waste? In English, the word waste comprises different meanings we can find in other languages. In German for example, we make a difference between Abfall and Verschwendung:

Abfall is the non-consumable residue of products you’ve purchased. It can be, for example, a label on a new shirt, a plastic packaging for food or a banana skin.

On the other hand, Verschwendung is, for instance, still edible food that is thrown out by the supermarkets because the product is nearly expired or is “out of date” (in reference to the best before date on the product) but it’s still consumable. In households, Verschwendung also happens as when families weren’t quick enough to consume the food they’ve bought.

Why is it a problem?

In your current way of life, defined by a consumer society, you purchase, you consume and you discard of things. This consumption, and often over-consumption, can’t be sustainable in the long run. If you just type “plastic oceans” in your search engine you will realise the consequence of this consumerist behaviour. A plastic ocean is the aftermath. The amount of plastic used, thrown away, and living in the surface of the globe takes centuries to decompose. And here we are only taking plastic waste as an example but the examples of waste are endless! How to find a solution to this issue: look at your individual choices and decide in what kind of world you want to live in. #makethingschangefasterthantheclimate

Why is it important to volunteer to reduce waste?

The solution to the problem is to get active to reduce this waste at the root. You can do that in many ways. On an individual level you can rethink and change the way you consume right now. You can also get involved in the community and support causes dear to your heart, that will make a difference! Organisations which are oriented towards resolving environmental issues are blooming everywhere. Look around you, even a small action has a big impact.

There’s also another reason why it’s important: you will become the example to follow. You will inspire others through your actions! It’s not about one person being extreme in their life choices to be environmentally-conscious but many people doing little things in the right direction, like in our #MachsWiederGut Campaign. Only one message to spread: do the best you can and people will be inspired to do better. One step at a time.

This article is part of our #VolunteerForFuture month, if you want to read more about it, stay connected on the blog and follow us on Instagram!

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About the author

Isa-Lys is a member of the Communications Team. After finishing a Master’s degree in Public, Non-profit and Cultural Communication, she arrived in Berlin for an internship at GoVolunteer. She’s enjoying the cultural exchange, the language struggles and the awesome people!