Going zero-waste can be very overwhelming when you are just getting started. It can be hard to know where to even start at all so you end up doing nothing and carrying on the way you have been. You may also think, how can one person make any difference?
But let me tell you, every little tiny bit helps. Every time you say no to single use plastic you are helping the planet.
I was one of those people who would always get to the cashier and think, “Ahh, my bags are still in the car!” And then get plastic ones. We used them for rubbish bags so I convinced myself that it was ok. But since I participated in “Plastic-Free July”, I haven’t forgotten my bags even once. Something twigged in my brain and now I always remember to take them.
My town is going plastic bag-free so a few weeks ago we got together as a community and made our own ‘Boomerang’ Bags! The idea is that you are given one when you buy something and then you ‘boomerang’ it back somewhere else. I always keep reusable bags in my handbag and pull them out all the time. I even pack my lunch and bring that with my in my Boomerang bag. It’s not only groceries that we use a lot of plastic but every time you buy anything – clothes, books, make-up etc – you are often given a plastic bag. But where does it go when you get home? Usually in the rubbish and off to the landfill.
Fruit and Veggies
I recently grabbed some smaller reusable bags for my veggies. The supermarket will take off the weight of the bag so you don’t have to pay for it. I picked up a pack of 4 bags but I’ve seen heaps of ways to make your own on Pinterest if you have a sewing machine. Of course,it makes more sense to grow your own veggies at home than to buy them. Even if you don’t have much space, you can still grow a few things. We have just moved into our new place and while we’ve already got veggies growing, they aren’t ready to eat yet so we have to buy them for now.
I have recently started using shampoo bars instead of my usual one packaged in a plastic bottle. It took a while to get used to it because normal shampoo is full of chemicals that strip the natural oil out of your hair and then you use conditioner to put it back. I don’t wash my hair every day and my shampoo bars are lasting for ages. I take them out of the shower every time I’ve used them so they dry properly and last longer.
I’m really interested in making my own beauty products so I will be posting blogs in the future that will go into more detail. So far on my list of things to try are: deodorant, tooth powder, chapstick, facial cleanser, sunscreen, lavender body butter, mascara and sugar body scrub. Watch this space!
Buying in Bulk
It’s pretty hard to be completely zero-waste. I decided to make my own granola so I wouldn’t have to buy it. But guess what? All the ingredients come in packets. The oats, different types of nuts and seeds, cranberries, coconut….I was devastated when I got home and saw all the rubbish! But I have to keep things in perspective. I have enough ingredients to make way more than I would buy in a packet thus saving rubbish over time. And I learned a lesson in sourcing certain ingredients online that would come in more sustainable packaging.
Another thing we did a while ago is switch to powdered milk. One packet of milk lasts for weeks, we don’t buy any of those plastic milk bottles and we get to drink milk stored in beautiful glass flip top bottles. I don’t drink a lot of milk myself – a bit in coffee but mostly I use it for baking so it lasts a long time. Yes, I still have the packet that the milk comes in to throw away but that’s way better than all the plastic bottles I used to throw away.
Even if you don’t plan to go all in and try to be completely zero-waste and plastic free, just doing these 4 things regularly will help reduce your rubbish.
Let me know in the comments what you are doing to eliminate plastic from your home!