Small Steps Towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle
Believing you can, is the first step
Taking the first step towards living a waste free life may sound easy, but how many of you have actually taken that first step? For me it began as a little thought in my head, as I wrapped up a bowl of leftover salad in cling wrap and thought to myself 'one day I’ll find a better solution to this damn cling wrap that never actually clings!', or I’d put our overflowing rubbish bin out for collection and I’d think ‘one day I’ll look into how I can reduce my waste’ (I was quite disgusted by how much waste we were creating!!).
And then…we had kids!! Eeeek! We were going through nappies like there was no tomorrow! Our rubbish doubled, and my guilty conscience got the better of me. So I started researching cloth nappies, and nappy inserts, and more cloth nappies. After much comparing and considering, I finally made the purchase and I suppose you could say I never looked back.
Luckily for me my little ones were toilet trained at a young age and we actually didn’t use the cloth nappies for too long but I’m sure I still saved about 100 or so nappies from going to landfill. It might not seem like a lot considering in Australia we send almost 800 million disposable nappies to landfill each year (KESAB). Don’t get me started on the cost savings....
It's all about starting
So for our family of 4 (plus the pets!) this was the beginning. Once we made this small step towards diminishing our waste, I knew we could continue on the same path just one small step at a time. This was over three years ago now, and even back then the market for zero waste products was huge. I was amazed and also excited to see so many alternatives to everyday items that I never knew existed. Aluminium lunchboxes, reusable food pouches, bamboo toothbrushes, toothpaste tablets, compostable cotton buds….the list goes on. I looked in our cupboards at home and thought 'wowzers....we have a long way to go!'
Next on our list of ‘small changes’ was toothbrushes! A simple swap really, once our old toothbrushes became..well you know…old and gross, in came the bamboo toothbrushes. But these aren’t the one Oral B dentists recommend I hear you say – and you’re right. I haven’t done my research thus far! From what I have read, and as long as you are brushing properly, they do just as well as the plastic ones. Perhaps it’s a question for the dentist!
It’s not about HUGE changes
I decided to take the plunge and look in our Tupperware drawer! Yes that dreaded drawer where you can never find the right lid for the right container, and the lids are forever falling behind the drawer. I shut the drawer, deciding to conquer that at a later date and realised most of our containers were still useful! Going waste-free is not about going on a rampage at home and throwing away all the plastics, and anything that isn’t considered ‘eco’. It’s about making a swap at the time when you have used up all other options.
The 3rd swap for us was…can you guess? Yep, we decided to be rid of the cling wrap once and for all. Luckily there are many other options here. Reusable silicone food covers, reusable wax covers, or just the plain old storage containers. Again, it's not only your bins and the oceans who are winning here, it's your wallets (reusable options last...cling wrap you have to keep buying!). This swap was another easy one, I always hated that damn cling wrap!
It's all about the journey
Giving up plastics and reducing our waste so far for us is a journey. We make daily conscious choices and decisions on how we can 'better' do things to diminish our waste. There are some things that for our family are unavoidable, especially when it comes to the grocery shopping. Being a family of 4, who, like most other families never have enough time in the day as it is…we sometimes choose convenience (i.e packaged food!). Food packaging does contribute to a lot of our waste – cereal boxes, biscuits, nuts and seeds, kids snacks…all of these foods are sealed in some form of plastic. Instead of nulling over how we can avoid this and living in the guilt of ‘convenience living’, I simply make sure I recycle all the waste from these items correctly. Most of the cardboards can go in the recycle bin and the plastics we collect and put in the redcycle bins. And oneday...just maybe...we will conquer the pantry!
Small steps can make big differences
Like all changes in life, at first, going plastic free may seem daunting. But once you take the first steps, it definitely gets easier. And small changes CAN make big differences. Just like us, you can go from having an overflowing curbside bin, to just having a handful of rubbish each week! If you have the passion, the desire, and the drive then anything is possible. We are here to help at every step of the way!
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