I’ve been mentioning in a few posts I’m trying to reduce my waste, particularly plastic waste, so thought I’d do another progress check in!
It’s been getting hard to find non plastic alternatives and the more you read about zero waste more it becomes not only reducing plastic consumption, but where you shop, company ethics, sustainable resources. I recently updated my home office with the furniture of choice IKEA. Fast furniture of the furniture world if Zara’s fast fashion. I know some think Ikea drives smaller local furniture business out of business, it’s all mass produced, isn’t sustainable, however pennies have to be taken into consideration. We or I choose all white classic designs so they should be okay for a few years. Some previous Ikea items however from a few years ago are now a cream, off white colour, no longer the white they once were, when other pieces of ‘vintage’ furniture I painted white are still white. Ikea however understands apartment space. And was that justifying why Ikea, maybe! Reasons why IKEA isn’t great can be found here.
Grocery shopping remains the number 1 plastic consumption source with internet shopping and beauty products hot on it’s heels. I know I’ll never be 100% zero waste. That said when I can I go for the more zero waste option. I like when beauty products don’t come in cardboard cartons/boxes, even if the product is a plastic bottle as it’s less waste and resources used in production. Internet purchases protective plastic shipping wrap the items come in, could be reduced by half or replaced with shredded cardboard (Big Green Smile uses shredded cardboard in the their boxes with boxes pre recycled/repurposed boxes. It’s like a scavenger hunt locating items in the shredded cardboard! Or did. It’s been a while since I’ve ordered from them as their shipping’s expensive). Some sellers such as Tone It Up, the packing is thick paper sleeves which goes to Diesel the cat’s cardboard box to scramble around in. Others it’s paper packaging I used to use as gift wrap, but storing is an issue so it’s now recycled. As with previous updates I’ll separate into Beauty Products, Fashion, Food, Household, Other:
This is still hardest area to reduce as I love love my beauty products. I’ve recently switched from disposable razors to the cliche zero waste, minimalist safety razor. The safety razor should last for life if kept in good condition with only having to purchase razor blades which normally come in paper envelopes. All around less waste than disposable plastic razors.
I’ve discovered NYX sell individual pans of eyeshadow for their build your own eyeshadow pallets as well as the shadow in a normal individual plastic pots. The individual pans come in a cardboard envelope with a small piece of clear plastic showing the colour which obviously is way less to recycle. NYX in additional sell the pallets which the pans are magnetically held in to build your own colours.
Okay, I’ve failed at this one. I made my own coconut oil and bicarb soda toothpaste for a year. However I was getting concerned the bicarb was removing enamel. I switched to to a DIY coconut oil, bicarb soda and charcoal toothpaste but I didn’t feel it was removing stains or cleaning my teeth even though my dentist says my teeth and gums are in great condition. I got fed up too of dealing with the charcoal mess. The sink ends up dirty, the charcoal doesn’t clean a way in a quick wipe if you’re in a rush and I got fed up of unclogging the the initial sink pipe from the coconut oil. I switched to a natural, fluoride, carrageenan, sodium laurel sulphate, gluten free brand, Himalaya Bontanique. I feel my teeth are a lot cleaner and whiter. The only thing I don’t like about it is the recycled cardboard box it comes in can smell a little like sick or stinky cheese!
I make my own deodorant. Recipe here!
After watching The True Cost, a documentary highlighting the human and environmental cost of fashion, I’m consciously more aware of where I shop for clothes. It’s hard as again pennies only go so far and my choices are limited as to where I can shop vs afford. Yes safe up, but being a girl can get expensive and it’s always the things you didn’t think of that pop up: underwear, coats, etc. I’m still not up for second hand clothes for this reason. During the summer I don’t buy many clothes anyway. My summer wardrobe I built up leading up to the summer sales and during July and August I want to be outside not stuck in shops! I’ve only been in Zara a few times in the past month and this was out of boredom. I’m not sure what to do as it gets colder looking for jumpers. Like I mentioned in the intro, once you start zero waste it becomes more complicated. Man made fibres such as polyester, nylon etc release 1000’s of tiny fibres in the wash which pollute water systems, ending up in fish, then higher up the food chain to humans. Being vegan in the winter man made fibres are my friends, but not for the environment. I live more or less in workout gear as man made fibres are better for performance then I find a site with the possible side effects of wearing man made fibres. Once you start zero waste it’s a maze! The True Cost is available on YouTube as well and Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and VHX.
This is still the hardest area to reduce. The local organic shops use compostable produce bags for loose produce, however organic food is expensive so what I get is select. I have noticed however that all the prepackaged goods in the organic shops, grains, rice, everything else not fresh comes in plastic! When I can I opt for glass jars over plastic and preferably jars without the plastic seal. I was so excited recently to find agave syrup in a glass jar! It costs 70c more but it’s worth it. Both jarred and canned/tinned food I prefer a paper label over a plastic one. Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean the packaging isn’t environmentally friendly as I discovered with a can of coconut milk. The label was plastic when I pealed it off!
My local bakers lets me reuse the plastic bread bags. I think this might only be because they know me. I always ask if you want to you can reuse these (whilst showing the bags) and none have had an issue with it. Obviously if the bags torn, or the last few slices got mouldy they’re recycled. I freeze the loaves when I get back so most bugs if there were any should be dead.
As I’ve started having more chia seed puddings and baking a little more, many recipes require a non dairy milk option. I’ve made almond milk in the past. Almonds are expensive. I like rice milk but don’t want to faff around cooking the rice before hand. I like to spend as little time as possible in the kitchen, hence oat milk. It’s easy and it’s inexpensive to make. Making it yourself saves on cartons. You just need a blender, oats, pinch of salt, a nut milk bag or sieve and a large maison jar.
Kombucha and apple cider vinegar fermentation decorations. The only space available!
I think I’ve mentioned it before, I make my own apple cider vinegar and kombucha if for nothing else it’s cheaper! (Okay, P started them as he was curious on the process and I’ve taken over). The mother on the AVC is something else! All you need are about 3 large maison jars, a couple of 1L flip top glass bottles, measuring jug, cups and spoons, sugar, apples, green tea and initial scoby (for kombucha) and you’re all set after a quick Google search! The only thing I don’t like about making your own is it seems there’s one day when they all require my attention after fermenting and like I said I’m not a huge fan of the kitchen.
P got one of these to deep clean the kitchen and mentioned it can used on floors. I resisted at first, gave in after looking for a mop free alternative to clean the floors. I’m converted! Less than 1L of water and zero chemicals I can clean the floors and only have to wash a rag or microfibre broom cover I got for it! The bathrooms however, I tried it for a few weeks, but prefer a bathroom sponge and **Frosch Ecologico Anitcal Vinegar cleaner. It’s quicker, less agitating, and I can get in all the nook and crannies easier. Maybe every 2 months I’ll steam clean blitz the bathrooms. I found I still had to use a sponge in the soap dishes anyway. So now I’m looking at a better zero waste bathroom sponge option! ** Researching this post, I’ve since discovered it contains sodium laureth sulfate. I can’t win! My excuse, SLS it’s not listed not the bottle, only on the website.
I’m getting good at buying less stuff in general. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidy, Marie Kondo has helped immensely with this. Only keep what gives you joy which can be applied to shopping! Recognising triggers such as impulse buys, current shopping mood helps. Plus being being vegan and having ethical boundaries helps! And yes to it does get frustrating and I want to say F*ck it!’, but we’ve only got one planet and it’s messed up enough already.
Are you following a zero waste journey? What are the hardest items you’ve encountered to switch out so far?