I have got a little bit excited about the concept of zero waste and have made a lot of changes lately – probably faster and many more than i originally intended as i thought it would be more of a gradual thing. But actually i’m finding it quite a fun challenge.
So changes i’ve made specifically since starting this new lifestyle (so not including things we were already doing before hand):
- I have made a cling wrap replacement using beeswax and cotton. It works sort of ok, i think i need to refine the recipe to include some other ingredients so it is stickier. I’m actually thinking if i ever perfect the recipe to turn it into a local market stall and sell them. I know these products already exist commercially and online from other smaller producers, but our local area doesn’t yet have someone making these and the commercial ones are so expensive!
- I now carry with me in my handbag a reusable spork and 3 reusable silk shopping bags. I particularly love the bags, they are so vibrant in colour and light, strong and not too big. I use these alot. I haven’t used the spork yet but it takes up very little room so i’ll leave it there.
- I have a bamboo toothbrush. I quite like it. It is compostable. I think i’ll keep buying these as i can get them at several health food shops nearby which is great as i don’t even have postage packaging then. I have tried making my own toothpaste too from bicarb soda and coconut oil. I’m not committed to that yet as i’m slightly worried about the lack of fluoride and it doesn’t taste all that great. I think in need to find some peppermint oil for it.
- I have found a love for shampoo bars!. Previously i was making soapnut shampoo but wasn’t really loving it after a while as it was leaving my hair waxy. What is amazing too about the shampoo bar is that i can buy it locally and it has zero packaging, not even a sticker or a paper wrapper. They also have soap i think i’ll be getting in the future. It is even super cheap at around $2.50AUD a bar which is awesome and i believe they say it will last as long as 2 shampoo bottles. I find it isn’t quite conditioning enough for my hair though so i have needed to either use my silicone free conditioner (Sukin) afterwards or jojoba oil. I know other people use a vinegar rinse as their conditioner. I’d tried this previously on my no poo journey and hated it. I might have to try a lower dilution though or maybe another acid based rinse like tea. I am also hopeful that my aloevera plant will eventually take off and i can start harvesting it for diy body products. Alternatively i’ll just find a conditioner bar to use. So stay tuned for this one.
- I have mastered the ‘cup‘. Ok stop reading now men. And i’m not going to be talking about this on my channel so if you are reading this on my blog then feel privileged. But a few years ago i purchased a Meluna Sport menstrual cup. I can’t quite remember why i chose this particular one over the many other bands and i remember it had to come from Germany. But anyway I couldn’t get it to work originally and gave up on it. But now that i’ve had a baby i thought things might have changed and i’d give it another go and bingo it works amazingly! Here is a quick review of this particular product as there isn’t much out there on this particular one. Looking at the design and comparing it to some of the others out there i’m actually now super happy I chose the one I did. Not only is it purple so it won’t stain, but it has some very useful ribbed bits on the bottom for grip which is like and a sort of flattened ball bit on the end. The nice thing about the ball it is makes rotating it (which is necessary to pop open) easy, i can feel from the ball if it has twisted or not. Also the sport version is apparently the firmest cup on the market and it turns out that is a good thing for me as it makes popping it open easier. That had been what i was unable to do in the past that prevented me from using it. I don’t feel it at all and it has never leaked. Ultimately i think most cups are basically the same and i’ve never understood people that buy multiple version of them to ‘try it out’. Also the people that buy and sell them 2nd hand really gross me out, and yes that is a thing.
- I buy mostly unpackaged food. I’ve been shopping at farmers markets, our local food coop and also the grocery store and making a special effort to choose the produce that is unpackaged. Occasionally i’ll break this rule and i’ll justify it if it comes in a container i know i’d like to use to grow seedlings or microgreens or something or if it is something i just am unable to find without packaging and i really really want it. I’ve noticed an annoying trend for fruit and veg to now come in those plastic mesh bags. I’ve been keeping them though and have a number of uses for them. But overall my food packaging is slowly reducing. This is probably the most difficult part for our family especially as I am yet to convince my partner 100% of the merits of zero waste. He really likes things like breakfast cereal that until we can get a bulk store nearby (there is plans for one to open in a city an hour away from us where we have family so i’ll be able to do it then when that happens), I am not going to be able to manage to get plastic free. I probably could make muesli from the things i can get the food coop though so might talk to him about if he would be happy to eat that instead. It is a time issue for me though too as i’m already making a lot of other things now and it does all take time. Buying bran flakes and sultanas a bulk store would solve this as it would be much quicker for me to mix together. At least i am composting the cardboard boxes, but it does have a plastic bag inside it.
- I’m baking our bread. I started with a standard white loaf with instant yeast and moved onto sourdough after making a successful starter. It tastes great! Ive bought bread flour that comes in a paper bag twice now (5kg bags), but i’ve found out they do have bread flour at the food coop so i think i’ll be reusing my paper bags to fill them up with more flour so there will be no additional packaging there!
- Finally i’ve got better about taking my reusable coffee cup that i already owned to things like the farmers market where i know i’ll be buying a coffee. Mostly i just have coffee at home though so this isn’t a big change. I also have a stainless steel straw that i drink my smoothies out of. You might think having a straw at all is silly but i love drinking smoothies this way, it is better for your teeth and also i can then share them with my 1 year old son who wouldn’t manage to drink it out of a cup alone.
Ok that is all I can think of right now. Still a long way to go, especially with food packaging. We are still producing a lot of waste too from things like buying tools for the shed. While we could get 2nd hand that might not be a good idea for some of these things and as they are once in a lifetime purchases i’m ok with that. I hope we soon will have everything we need for our life at our new farm and then packaging from new things can disappear.
So how are you all going with your zero waste journeys?