What I Learnt Going Zero Waste

The amount of trash the average person creates in a day is about 4.4 pounds like 2kg. That’s insane! I have been wanting to reduce the amount of waste I produce for quite some time now.
Some ways such as using reusable shopping tote bags instead of the single use plastic bags, recycling almost everything I could possibly recycle and shopping second hand.
But I realised doing these things alone was not reducing my overall waste. I was still using tea bags once and throwing them away why? What a waste! or how I was still buying my rice in plastic bags. I decided to start a journey to zero waste living, which I started back in February & I am no where near completely zero waste but I have dramatically reduce the amount of things I throw away. So enjoy the things I have learnt on the start of my zero waste journey.

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Tea Bags do not Decompose

Firstly I bought myself a tea strainer and some loose tea leaves to use instead of buying the tea bags already packaged; it saves the environment a lot! Did you know that there is a tiny plastic lining in these bags which is why they do not decompose completely? So making the switch to loose tea leaves was a much better solution to this problem.

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Buying Food Without Plastic Wrapping is Difficult

I am a huge lover of pasta and rice etc.; these are such a staple in my diet so trying to find a place that sells these without packaging was completely a challenge in itself. I did manage to find rice in a cardboard box which I can recycle until I can find a bulk store! Pasta on the other hand is still a no go; it is always wrapped in plastic. So for right now I still purchase these packets of pasta and chickpeas until I can find places to get them without packaging.

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Making the Switch in Terms of Feminine Products was Challenging

I am one of those few women who have never used a tampon before simply because I didn’t like the idea of shoving a cotton stick up there and having a string hang out that just never appealed to me at all so deciding to use the menstrual cup was a massive step for me it is a lot smaller than the tampon and no string hanging out so that’s a bonus! However as I never used anything like the cup before it was a challenge now I know its only been a month I do intend on getting used to it as it is such a great invention saves money, saves the environment, no waste and lasts 10 years. So I will make it work! Be sure to look out for a post over the next few months about this!

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 You Will Never be Fully Zero Waste

It is highly difficult to become fully zero waste in just a month; I ended up with a jar full of trash (which for me was great from a bag every 3 days to a jar for 30 days) after watching many YouTube videos about the movement & counter sides to the lifestyle; you are never fully zero waste because when you buy your rice in bulk; the rice was in a bag before getting to the store so therefore there is a bag wasted in that process; but that goes way deep into the concept but it’s always good to realise. Don’t beat yourself up about creating a little waste here and there it’s only natural.

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It’s Ok to Say ‘No Thanks’!

One of the main aspects of the movement is saying no to the items you are given for free. You know that guy standing on the footpath handing out leaflets about being connected to God you take one to not seem mean but end up throwing it into the bin a couple of yards away from him. I’ve learnt to say no thanks to these things; I don’t need it in my life and it is very wasteful. But it makes you feel like a horrible person saying no, but that is something we need to work on, say no more often because it doesn’t make you a bad person. You are simply being more conscious about your waste and it’s ok.

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Don’t Rush into the Concept

At first I wanted to buy everything I needed; a bamboo toothbrush, stainless steel lunch box, reusable cloths, produce bags. Just everything people listed in their ‘Zero Waste Essentials’ videos. I ended up only buying the items I needed such as the tea strainer, stainless steel straws, tongue cleaner and the menstrual cup. The other things I bought over the months when I needed it. Once you finish an item find an eco zero waste alternative ie Shampoo bar to replace shampoo in a bottle.

shampoo bar

Make your Own Bags

I was looking on Esty stores and Amazon etc for produce bags to take to the store to buy fruit and veggies; but oh my goodness the price of these were insane! As a broke girl saving for university I didn’t want to spend my money on these when I could create my own using my old clothes.

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Overall Happiness of Doing Good for the Environment

I realise that this post is like 90% about the bad things about transitioning to zero waste but it really isn’t that bad. It is challenging yes, but who doesn’t love a good challenge. The benefits of this lifestyle is great both for me and the environment so engaging into it brings so much happiness. I love how I’m reducing the amount of things I throw away and now living more consciously –  it’s the best way to live.

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2 Comments

  1. Eleonore
    September 15, 2017 / 10:16 AM

    Great post!! I always notice how difficult it is to find rice or quinoa without it being in a plastic bag😞
    I don’t know how it is in NI, but it is possible to find pasta in cardboard boxes (from Barilla) and maybe other brands. I can’t remember if they’re easy to find in the UK though.
    And if you don’t always want to use the OrganiCup, I use a whashable period pad, and I really like it! Could be something to think about (because I too hated tampons, so i didn’t want the cup haha) .
    Saying no is the hardest, before i’m able to say anything i always find myself with flyers in my hands that I then throw away. :/
    Good luck on your journey to 0 waste, you’re doing amazingly!!

  2. October 21, 2017 / 7:38 PM

    Fantastic post! I am wanting to minimise my use of plastics and reduce waste too – glad I’m not the only one struggling with pasta and similar products! You have made such a difference already though. Keep it up 🙂

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