ZERO WASTE: My Challenges & Successes
Zero waste living only sounds like more and more of a good idea. With the huge floating rubbish patch between Hawaii and California growing in size and some reports stating that ocean plastic will treble within the next ten years, increasing amounts of us are looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact.
The chances are likely that you have heard of zero waste living already, but for the uninitiated it is a lifestyle that aims to create as little rubbish as possible. Figures like Bea Johnson promote buying groceries in bulk without the use of single-use packaging, foregoing disposable straws and cutlery, and embracing minimalism over consumerism.
I've had a look back through my blog and it looks like I first came across this idea in 2015... time has flown since then, and while there have been zero waste habits that have stuck, I also wanted to share with you those that didn't. Here's a look at some of my zero waste challenges and successes...
While I've managed to switch to a vegetarian diet without difficulty, giving up takeaways and sandwiches on the go hasn't come as naturally. I've managed to give up the meat dishes that were family traditions in my diet, but the ritual of a Saturday night takeaway is proving harder to shift. I think it's because vegetarianism has felt like a lot of freedom, wherein I've found new recipes and foods I love, while zero waste living involves many restrictions to my lifestyle. (I'm happy to be proven wrong here of course!)
buying in Bulk
There are no packaging-free bulk stores local to me; I love the idea of them, but my closest option is an hour's drive away (which seems to defeat the green living purpose). I do my best to bring my bags to our regular supermarket regardless, meaning I can pick up fresh fruit and veg with as little plastic as possible. I also discovered the Plastic Free Pantry recently, and have already ordered some of their decaf coffee with all recyclable and compostable packaging. I'm aiming to use this option more when I move out for sure.
Dine Out The Zero Waste Way
Bea Johnson recommends eating exclusively at restaurants that use proper fabric napkins and no disposable tableware, but this has also proven a challenge to me so far. Perhaps once I have moved out into my own space and done more research on this front it will feel more routine, but truthfully I think my reluctance stems from not wanting to be insanely restrictive on top of my restrictive diet... I'm planning on going back to being vegan this summer and don't welcome the idea of adding further reasons to forego my friends' and family's favourite restaurants.
Zero Waste Toiletries
The easiest tweak I have found so far was switching some of my toiletries for low waste alternatives... I have a bamboo toothbrush that I prefer infinitely more than my old plastic one, and I also use a safety razor too. While I love my bamboo toothbrush and don't think it is vitally different to use from my old one, I have to say that I do think my safety razor is a little less effective than a modern, typical razor. (I've just flipped the head to being "open" see if this makes a difference – I will let you know what I find!) I also use a packaging free deodorant from Lush that I really like so far; I'm curious how well it will hold up come warmer weather...
Arguably my favourite switch, my beautiful KeepCup lives in my rucksack and means I get 25p off my order at my local coffee shop. It's so nicely made and feels like such a stylish way to be kinder to the environment; KeepCup now let you design your own version, which I really love!
Another switch that was pretty straightforward, I have been actively living with less for a few years now. The biggest difference is the amount of consideration that goes into my purchases; if I can, I buy secondhand or ethically, both of which measures mean I am buying far less than previously. I am a big believer that the easiest way to go green is to simply buy less of what we do not need; I can't see me slipping into old habits any time soon.
Are you folks interested in zero waste living at all? I would love to hear from you in the comments!