I am NOT a zero-waster
I think that people look at my business Reuseful and assume that I am a zero-waster. I am NOT a zero-waster. I hadn’t even heard of the term ‘zero-waste’ until after I’d started Reuseful.
So who am I? I am a person who cares about the environment and it’s wildlife. I am a person who can see the damage that my single-use plastic filled convenient lifestyle has caused. I am a person who wants to do better so that the future is greener. I am on the zero-waste journey. But… I am also a person who has lots of convenient, waste-filled habits.
I have been given two amazing pieces of advice:
1. Look at what you throw away and find a waste-free alternative.
2. Focus on one change at a time. It takes time to form new habits.
What I do
I have made quite a few changes to our family’s waste-ful lifestyle. We’ve ditched waste such as plastic straws, disposable cups, plastic bottles, cling film, single-use yogurt pouches, menstrual products, plastic toothbrushes and shampoo bottles for more reusable, waste-free alternatives. We’ve got a compost bin and some chickens to help reduce the food waste we produce (we have two young children, we produce lots of food waste!) I collect our soft plastics and take them to a recycling bin every week and I try to make small conscious choices in my every day life.
What I don't do - My confession list
As I said, I am NOT a zero-waster, I use disposable nappies. I tried so hard to use reusables, I had grand ideas about being a zero-waste parent and saving myself lots of money. But the reality is that they gave my son awful nappy rash. His bum was brighter than a baboon’s butt and so, so sore! I strip washed the nappies and tried again. I tried different brands, I tried different detergents, I strip washed again and again. Nothing helped. I gave up.
I still sometimes use glad bags – they are SO convenient and I am sometimes a bit lazy. But I have vowed not to buy anymore so it’s just what I have left in the drawer.
I LOVE sushi and have not yet gotten into the habit of remembering my own containers. We also have other take-outs that are so waste-ful! I try to clean and recycle as much as possible but they still produce waste.
We are in the process of switching our cat food from sachets to tins, but at the moment, we’re still throwing away sachets.
We buy deli meat in plastic packing which isn’t recyclable. I still need to address this… one thing at a time.
Our grocery shop also contains so much plastic! It’s so hard to avoid it. I still need to visit a bulk food shop to try and minimise as much as possible.
I use branded cleaning products contained in plastic bottles and packaging.
I use standard deodorant in a spray can and a plastic razor with disposable blades.
And food waste… so much food! Once our new chickens settle in and we figure out how much they eat, we might need to get a Bokashi bin to tackle the rest.
So there you have it. My waste-ful confession list. I am NOT a zero-waster. But I am on the zero-waste journey. I am motivated to do better. I am aware when I’m not doing the best I could be and I am always looking out for alternatives.
There are people out there living a zero-waste lifestyle and they inspire me. And there are people out there who haven’t begun the journey yet or who like me are on their way. Wherever you are on your zero-waste journey, remember that we all started somewhere and we all have a long way to go. Remember those two amazing bits of advice and keep going… one change at a time!
And maybe one day you and I can both be zero-wasters.