I’ll confess it’s been a little difficult the past few months reducing waste from what I have so far. So much food comes plastic wrapped even organic in local supermarket and I’ve been online shopping. Amazon requires non books to be wrapped in plastic inside the shipping packet and there’s so much packaging waste! I don’t think my local shops are up to me bringing in my own cotton produce bags. I completely understand the produce bagging, packaging and everything in relation to anti theft, protecting the product, but the amount to plastic recycled every few days even with trying to be careful about how much is unbelievable. Times it by your neighbours waste, your street, your town, city’s waste it’s scary.
The reason why I want to reduce my waste, namely plastic disposable waste can be found here, update 1 here with ways and tips I’ve reduced waste. Part 2 is a continuation of how I’m reducing waste. I know I’ll never be 100% zero waste. I like my beauty products way too much, I haven’t got the pennies to buy more expensive or better quality clothes, I still shop at fast fashion places, the cats are still on chicken vets orders and I like to put the chicken packets in plastic food/produce bags in the fridge to avoid cross contamination (I’m vegan and yes, I get the irony of cats eating chicken) however I’m making steps in the right direction:
All Things Beauty
Konjac Eye Cleansing Pads
I’m not sure how these are going to work with nail polish remover and the packaging isn’t so zero waste, but I’m hoping these The Konjac Sponge Co, Konjac Eye Cleansing Pads will be a perfect alternative to cotton wool. Currently I use cotton wool pads to remove eye make with coconut oil, remove nail polish and clean Angelous the cat eyes and nose gunk. I stopped a few months ago using it to apply toner and just apply toner with my fingers. Incidentally my skin’s happier. That’s not to say I don’t use my toner and cotton pads every now and then, I do occasionally when it doesn’t feel clean. Since using Korean oil and foam cleansers I’ve actually found my skin happier and cleaner, so there’s no need to use the toner in addition to toning removing any residue the cleanser couldn’t with a cotton pad. I use konjac body sponges so I pretty sure these will work fine. I’ll find out in a week when I used up my current cotton pads. I will leave one cotton wool packet however for nail polish remover just in case and for cotton wool required emergences.
Facial Cleansing Oil Soap
I think it’s established I love Korean cosmetics. Part of the Korean 10 step skin care routine in cleansing with a oil based cleanser to remove makeup, suncream, non water based dirt followed by a foaming cleanser to remove sweat, dirt, water based debris. I found in Miin, Binu’s Bamboo Facial Soap which is amazing. I haven’t reacted to it, it cleans amazingly, is natural and cruelty free and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight and dry. Plus no cotton wool’s required, there’s no plastic container aside from the plastic soap wrapper and green desiccant/silica gel thingy. Everything else easy recycle and easy biodegrade cardboard.
After Googling the type of nylon in my floss and reading about how bad in can be to humans and then the environmental aspect I was at a loss for floss. The nylon takes years to break down and after seeing a photo of seal with it’s neck wrapped up and cut from it, I decided no more nylon floss. Some councils incinerate waste and I’m not sure if here does 100%. I do know they have a energy producing factory from waste, but again not sure how much or if my rubbish is chosen!
And this is where being a vegan conflicts with zero waste. The alternative is silk. I tried old embroidery silk, it snapped. After researching what other vegan zero waster’s use, it was grudgingly silk until a vegan alternative that works is found. I found some in my local supermarket to try even though I wasn’t sure about how cruelty free the brand was. The amount of plastic packacking was insane, but the silk worked. I’ve since managed to find on Amazon, 12 meter silk floss in a metal container by Le Negri, (at time of writing, waiting for it to arrive), which means more environmentally recycle friendly waste. I do know there’s peace silk, which lets the silk worms hatch before obtaining the silk, however I can’t find any information about Le Negri is such a company.
I generally don’t use any freebies Sephora ‘gifts’ me at check out. Most are tested on animals and I end up sending them to my Mum. Saying, ‘Thank you but no thank you’ is easy on paper, sales assistants can be pushy! Recently however unless I know my Mum will like them, I say, ‘Thank you but no thank you’. The response is generally ‘Are you sure, it’s free!’ and I reply ‘Thank you, but I won’t use it so it’s a waste’, followed by them shrugging okay. This tip was via Ted Talk, Two Adults, Two Kids, Zero Waste, Bea Johnson.
Fabric napkins are up next when all the paper napkins are finished. Perhaps not purchased from the most ethical non fast fashion corporations, Zara Home and Ikea, however they were the only places I could find nice ones! And yes, the sea inspired ones at first glance look like hankies. I can assure you the label said napkins!
The biodegradable bags I started using for the cats daily litter business are working fine. The ones for the kitchen organic matter, degrade too quickly and spilt (Barcelona has organic matter bins in every street. Not everybody uses them, it’s nice to have the option. I’ve no idea what the council does with it). I’ve since found 2, 100% recycled bin bags in my local supermarket, which is even getting on the biodegradable rubbish bags so no extra trips the the organic shop! One’s produced in the next town and one I think else where in Catalunya – less transport, less pollution. Sadly the local ones, aren’t that strong for the organic waste. Fingers crossed the other brand works better.
I’m still shopping at Zara, occasionally H&M, Forever21 (have to scour the racks for good quality!), Hollister etc. I know buying better quality, buying well made classics that last longer, buying second hand so as to not add more clothes in the waste system are the better options. If you have the pennies you can. Second hand isn’t for me. All that said, when I do shop as I always have done I ask, what does it go with already, quality vs price, price vs quality, don’t buy anything ‘fashion’, will I wear it a lot, double think the item, do I really need it, what’s my mood, try to avoid impulse buys, not be swayed and be more savvy about consumerism, not buy into consumerism etc. It’s hard! I might buy one piece in fashion, but I try to buy pieces I know I can wear next year. I’ve learnt which shops are ‘rags’ from a great TED talk about fast fashion, You Are What You Wear, Christina Dean Rags are items of clothing so cheap they fall apart in 1-2 washes hence ‘rags’. I take into account the human and environmental side, I understand people buy what they can afford, I also take into consideration and try not to shop in the said above shops, but it’s tricky. Doing a BBC Luther, hands in pockets stop prevent contaminating a crime scene by instinctively picking and touching things, shopping helps!
My collection of cotton tote bags is growing! Even more so now Spain by law charges 2-5c for all plastic carrier bags bar clothes shops. Even the local organic chain who has bio degradable grocery bags charge! Side note, I’d love for there to be a non leather, faux leather maybe from pineapple leather handbag that’s equal to designer bags, that’s a classic or a fun classic and doesn’t cost the earth! I can dream!
Most places in Spain or Barcelona at least will ask if you want the credit card, cards sales receipt. Most clothes shops and supermarkets it’s all on one receipt, however many places you get the till receipt and a card copy. I’ve started saying no to grocery, vets, cafe, dentist etc card copy as they’re places that once it’s been consumed you can’t really return it. I understand by refusing the card copy takes away some of my consumer rights, but then I’m not adding more waste. Obviously for places where I might want to return the item, I say yes and at the end of the month, shred and recycle.
Do you think we should recycle less or more? How to you keep your consumer/disposal waste down?