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My Zero Waste Journey: An Introduction

Zero Waste - living life without waste and keeping stuff out of landfill.

I do have a bit of an issue with the term "Zero Waste."  No-one can be 100% zero waste, so I feel it's a bizarre term for something that's unachievable for 99.99% of the population.  Also, I can't help but feel it's a name for a lifestyle that often seems to be glamourised across social media.  The underlying message is always that of reducing waste and working towards a world with less plastic but it can often be bundled together with minimalism and I don't always think they have to go hand in hand.

Despite my hesitancy of the term Zero Waste, I have found myself dipping my toes into the world of Zero Waste, mainly by joining online communities and scouring Pinterest for ideas on how I can reduce the amount of waste I produce.  I am a realist and I know I will never achieve 100% Zero Waste, I would genuinely be happy to just halve it.  To begin with, I just want to be more mindful.  I have found that being mindful has made me question purchases and in turn not buy certain things and the number one way to live a zero waste lifestyle is to not use anything new that you don't have to.  I have a blog post coming up about the pressures of being Zero Waste, particularly looking at some of the attitudes I have experienced on a variety of online platforms.  I genuinely believe that we collectively need to tackle waste.  We as a planet need to stop our over-reliance on plastic.   We need to all work together as individuals, as families, as communities, as countries.  I believe education and awareness is the way forward.  I also believe that we need to stand up to the practices of big businesses and that we need to put the pressure on as consumers.  We need to contact our councillors and MPs and support any legislation that helps us move towards a more waste free world.

I find myself referring to my zero waste journey as just that, a journey.  Whilst some changes can be made overnight I have found that most need some careful consideration to ensure that they are sustainable and I don't just revert back to the old ways.  Many changes require altering a mindset and breaking habits of a lifetime.  Here are some steps I've taken already and although they are small, they are all super positive and if everyone did a few of these we would totally be making progress.

  1. A Weekly Veg Box - We receive a box from Riverford every week.  It is packed with beautiful organic veg and unless it absolutely has to be (leaves usually!) it is completely plastic-free.  They will take your cardboard box away the following week and reuse it.  We buy the UK Veg box, which contains only UK grown veg but they also offer a regular veg box which contains organic veg from all over the world.

  2. Bar Soap & Solid Shampoo - A simple change. Ditching the plastic bottles for a bar of soap and one of Lush's solid shampoos (Godiva is my favourite - though it does have SLS in it.)

  3. Cloth Baby Wipes - I have a post coming soon about our decision to use cloth wipes with this baby.  Absolutely love them and only regret is we didn't do it first time around!

  4. Ecoffee Bamboo Cup - I am partial to a coffee when out and about and it never sat right with me the amount of takeaway cups I would get through (although they are technically recyclable, they aren't widely recycled so the majority head to landfill.)  Again, I don't know why I waited so long to move to a reusable cup.  I have two of the Ecoffee bamboo cups and adore them, and being bamboo they are fully compostable!

  5. Water Bottle - Again, another one that should have been done sooner.  A no-brainer, fill a bottle up with water from home and then you don't need to buy it when out.  It sounds so simple but it's about breaking habits of a lifetime and it can be hard.  I currently use a plastic reusable bottle but once this one wears out I have my beady peepers on a Kleen Kanteen!

  6. Reusable Shopping Bags - Chances are this is something you do already.  Lots of people reuse bags now.  This is mainly because of the government bag charge, which speaks volumes to me about how we really need to go about tackling waste and our excessive use of plastic.
     This is another one that is down to habit, remembering to take bags when you go out and then remembering to use them, but once you get into the habit of it, it's easy and every single bag saved from ending up in landfill is a step in the right direction.
So those are some of the initial changes I made when I embarked on my zero waste journey.  I have made other changes and still have lots of changes I want to make but I will get there, one step at a time and no doubt I will track my progress (and other zero waste ramblings) here on Cacti & Feathers.  Zero waste is about taking steps towards creating a better planet for us and our children and  generations beyond.  It's about recognising the damage that has been done and that is being done to our world. Planet Earth is important, there is only one!