Zero waste is, in some circles, such a hot topic and rightly so. Going zero waste is good for the planet, your bank balance and also your sanity. There is one problem with it though; can we really be 100% fully zero waste? I really enjoy reading about other zero wasters, watching their youtube videos and in general discovering this life style for myself but sometimes I feel discouraged. Why I am not the perfect zero waster? Am I not zero waste enough? Why are my cupboards not filled with lovely mason jars?
Ps. you can skip to the bottom of the post to see the video 😉
These are some heavy questions (especially the mason jar one) and I believe that these come up because of social media (again, especially the mason jar one) . In the case of zero waste social media is a double edged sword. Yes it is a great resource but it can also cause you to feel, unrightly so, that you are not doing enough. But you are! The fact that you are researching how and what you can do to be more zero or low waste and acting is a step in the right direction. Sometimes we feel that if we are not doing something 100% then we are failing. I would like to challenge that mindset and remind you that by making small changes you ARE doing something good.
ZERO WASTE VS. LOW WASTE
I think that the more appropriate term would be low waste. Try saying “I follow a low waste sustainable lifestyle”. Doesn’t that sound more attainable? I have written before about sustainability in Dubai and will share some of those links below to give you, especially if you live in Dubai, some inspiration.
Sustainability and Zero Waste in Dubai – Shopping
1. Carry a small reusable shopping bag with you. Mine folds up to the size of a card deck and I always have it in my work purse
2. Bring reusable produce bags and large sized shopping bags when grocery shopping
3. Look at the packaging
For the full post please click here.
Sustainability and Zero Waste in Dubai – Eating (In and Out)
1. First and foremost is to meal plan
2. Use up scraps or left overs
3. Proper food storage
1. Say no to the extras
2. Ask if you bring your own container for take away
3. Say no to straws at restaurants
5. If you know you will not be able to finish your meal ask for part of it to go (refer to point 2 for extra cred)
6. Try to walk to local restaurants even if ordering in and save yourself some petrol
For the full post click here.
There are, of course, so many more ways to go low waste and sustainable and I covered that here. In February I started on my low waste sustainable lifestyle in earnest. I was already doing things like bringing my own produce and shopping bags, making my own oat milks, bread etc but in February I decided to see how far I could go. Please be aware though that this is not an overnight switch. Somethings will be phased out, used up or given away. The longer that I am on this journey the less waste I will end up with. Though some waste is inevitable which is why I would like to discuss the below graphic. This is my waste, less feminine hygiene products and floss, from April 2018.
Waste from April 2018
1. tooth brush – this is the second last one I have, once my current one is done I will purchase a bamboo one (suggestions welcome)
2. straps + tags from a tank top – I cut up a mangy tank top for rags and these are the leftovers
3. produce tags + stickers – shopping at the farmer’s market helps to lessen these but not everything can be found there
4. vanilla sugar packets – I am using up the ones I have and will try to make my own in the future
5. Lindorkugeln wrappers – I was naughty, there is no excuse
6. sticker – this was from a tin of biscuits I received, the tin I can reuse which is great
7. tea bag wrappers – I bought a large container of lose leaf tea and also received these. They are used for guests
8. Oreo wrapper – again no excuse but I believe you should allow for a treat
9. clothing tag – this was on a gift but the tag is a weird plastic/paper compound
10. garlic bag – this was from a pack of three, the garlic is organic but the packaging is wasteful
11. wrapper + seal from olive oil bottle – the bottle can be recycled but this cannot
So there you have it. My waste from April of 2018. As you can see this is not at all zero waste but it is low waste. Everything else I was able to recycle, compost or reuse. Of course I could have not eaten the cheeky Lindorkugeln and Oreos and refused the wrapped tea bags and maybe next time that is what I will do. For now though it is important to admit that this is what I threw away and that by being more conscientious I will be able to divert more waste from the landfill.
What do you feel guilty about throwing away?