Between the day I had this zero waste trigger (watching a YouTube video of Bea Johnson, who is responsible for launching the movement) and the day I realised our monthly waste fitted in a 30cm bin, it’s been 24 months…of baby steps. Eventually one change lead to another and that’s how we’ve made it to this great environmental achievement.
It all starts with an audit of your bins at home; what I am throwing away that I could avoid? For that, you can go straight to your kitchen and bathroom bins. They are the two main locations for waste production.
In our case, the main waste in this area of the house was packaging and food. I have addressed this in the main part by focusing on shopping in bulk.
I shop in bulk stores in order to refill my jars, cotton bags and containers or at other conventional merchants that let me shop that way (if they don’t let me – which is rare – I don’t buy their products and I kindly let them know why).
Some of my favourite types of vendor are:
If you’re in Melbourne, some of my favourite local vendors are:
For the bathroom, our waste was mainly being contributed to by plastic bottles, tissues and cotton pads. I’ve tackled this with a mix of re-using existing packaging and also shopping in bulk.
My top bathroom-saving tips are:
I really encourage people to kick-start their journey by Googling, there are so many ideas out there once you start looking. I haven’t re-invented the wheel, I have just been curious and done my fair share of reading on the net.
After doing my own research I came to realise, the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste in a year. Yes, just one person, 1.5 tonnes of waste, it’s absolutely massive and so much of it is avoidable – by taking a mindful step towards reducing plastic packaging and food waste. According to the ABC, Australians still let $8 billion worth of edible food hit the bin each year. We’re so lucky to have access to so much produce in Australia, that I think when we shop we have a tendency of buying too much “just in case” and that’s usually because we’re not ready and a quick meal planner hasn’t been done. We shop without checking what we’ve got in our pantry, fridge and freezer. It’s a waste of resources and also money.
The first negative effect that comes to my mind is the production of methane released by the decomposition of waste currently in landfill. Waste generation and disposal have significant environmental impacts: these include emissions affecting air, land and water.
Think of as well, the energy required to take care of our community waste and the dollars invested into that, because it’s ultimately tax payers who are of course covering those costs.
Take your containers to the market and supermarket (less packaging wasted) and plan your meals (less food wasted).
It’s a wonderful journey that keeps me excited and inspired! Once you are a zero waste activist, old habits shift into new habits and it becomes effortless, but it does require discipline to not shop spur of the moment!
They are all VERY involved. My husband – before even I became zero waste – was the one to buy us a worm farm. These days the kids know not to use plastic bags. If they shop at the bakery for their school lunch, they’ll ask for scrolls not wrapped in plastic for instance. If we go to an outdoor party, we all bring our drink bottles, melamine plates, cutlery and cotton napkins. Before we decide to throw something away, if anyone is unsure, they’ll always ask which bin they should use as they know how important it is to put your waste in the right bin. If something is broken, they’ll ask for it to be fixed instead of putting it in the bin.
Probably my main challenge was early on, when my husband was in charge of the grocery shopping and bringing heaps of plastic back home. Which I couldn’t whinge about, as he’d been kind enough to do the shopping! The other challenge was when the kids brought back goodie bags full of plastic items from parties. They would usually break very quickly and couldn’t be recycled. Birthdays and Christmas are equally challenging as they would receive presents made 100% out of plastic but, I definitely respected the kindness of our family and friends :)
How bad processed foods and take-away is, not only for the environment with all the packaging but also for our health. Since we have become a zero waste household, we cook more ourselves and have become healthier and happier with higher energy levels. It’s all linked together and you don’t necessarily see it for what it is… but I feel that things are slowly changing for the better with more education and knowledge around nutrition.
Since we have become sustainable as a family, I have also become very interested in being healthy physically and mentally, as these are so linked for me. Being sustainable for me, means also being kinder to yourself. You can take steps towards reducing your waste, at the same time as fueling your body with more natural foods, less take-away and processed foods.
The more we go for natural options, the better it is for our health and the happiness of animals and the environment. For me choosing natural products is important, it saves us from having more chemicals on our body than is ultimately necessary.
I’m in love with the Certified Organic Lip & Cheek Cream. I just find that texture is so smooth and the shade is perfect for me as a blush and lip colour. I just tap some on over my foundation and then onto my lips, pop the INIKA Organic Certified Organic Lip Serum on top and I’m good to go.
One thing I do every day is meditating. Breathe, be aware, be in the moment, be in touch with yourself. It helps my mind focus and stay clear. I also use my spikey physio ball every day; it’s a great tool for quick deep tissue massage to release any tension! I also read every night, not for long but it helps me with falling asleep quickly until the next morning!