The journey to Zero Waste is not an easy one. I have been practicing waste minimisation in my home for a number of years, and still have not managed to reach the Zero Waste target. The important thing to remember is not to beat yourself up about it. You need to do what you can, when you can, how you can, and keep working towards improving. Just like anything else in life.
There are three steps you can start today that can help you begin your journey. There are many other things that you can do, and future blogs will discuss these, but this is just a start….no pressure.
Start sorting your waste. This can be constrained by the space you have available. When I began sorting my waste, it was only separating food waste, recycling and general waste. Now I have special bags filled with a number of various items that can be recycled but generally end up in landfill (such as light bulbs, batteries, old cables, scrap metal, etc.).
When you start to become conscious about your waste, particularly if you start running out of space to store it, you start to think about what is coming in to your home.
Ditch plastic water bottles. Fun fact: out of the 50 billion singe use water bottles bought each year, that’s right 50 billion!, 80% end up in landfill. You can stop contributing to the craziness pretty simply. Just buy a decent reusable water bottle and take it with you wherever you go. I find the ECOtanka quite good as it has a large mouth so that you can clean your bottle easily, and if you lose the lid (trust me it happens) you can buy replacement parts and do not have to replace the whole bottle.
There has been some debate about using steel water bottles and their environmental impact, but personally I would rather have steel than plastic, for obvious reasons, or glass. If you saw the dents in my current bottle you would understand.
Another tip I have found useful is actually putting a label with your name and number on your bottle. That way if you leave it anywhere it will, hopefully, come home to you.
Reusable shopping bags. More fun facts. Single use plastic shopping bags take up to 1000 years to decompose, and we use them on average for a total of 12 minutes.
The hardest part about using reusable shopping bags is remembering to take them with you. That is where an awesome community initiative Boomerang Bags has stepped in, having boxes in a number of community stores filled with reusable bags that you can borrow and bring back if you have forgotten your own. If you don’t have Boomerang Bags in your community yet, maybe you could set one up.
To help remembering to take your bags, I keep mine in a bag in the boot of my car so that I always have them with me. When I have unloaded my shopping, I leave them by the door to take back out to the car on my next trip. It really is just about creating habits.
Good luck on your journey to Zero Waste. Feel free to comment below and let us know your journey is going.
And remember the path to waste minimisation starts with an “R”. Rethink. Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose. Repair.