When I began my new journey of living zero-waste, I started to get a lot of questions. Here are some of the ones that kept repeating, so I thought, why not share them with you?
Where do I start?
For a lot of people living zero-waste lifestyle seems difficult and even impossible. Many people around me have shown interest in the lifestyle and understand my reasoning behind my choices. They recognize the need for a change in the way we consume. But when it comes to implementing this lifestyle, they think, ‘not me.’ Unfortunately we do live in a culture that makes sustainability very challenging. But for people who are inclined to reduce their waste and footprint, there are simple ways to start.
Wave goodbye the disposable culture. Yes, it’s all about a cultural shift – a change in our mindset. Think about investing in products that can be used and reused. This means NO plastic bags. I carry my very own Ecobags with me everywhere I go. They’re made out of organic and natural cotton, are extremely durable and can easily be folded away in your purse for when you need them. When they get dirty, toss them in the washing machine and they’ll be good as new. Another important disposable item that needs to go is the water bottle. Carry your own glass or stainless steel bottle, refill it when you want and don’t worry about the chemicals and toxins of plastic. The list goes on – start to think for a long-term and reusable alternative for items that are disposable. Believe me they’re out there. If you get stuck, shoot me a message and we’ll find a way together. Other simple steps you can take are composting, buying in bulk and avoiding packaging, reducing (and almost eliminating anything plastic), making your own cleaning and personal care products such as toothpaste, deodorant or detergent. Mostly, it’s crucial that you REFUSE anything you don’t need and reduce your consumption. Remember, the less you buy, the less you waste.
How do we get our children on board? How do schools and teachers encourage students to live more sustainably?
I love this question. Firstly, it addresses a key point. Our children are the future, which is why they play a vital role. We can’t hide reality from them. Instead, they need to be part of this conversation. Also, I believe by addressing the younger generation, we can construct a different culture – one that values life on Earth, experience and simplicity. Where do schools and the education systems come in? Read our blog post dedicated just to this question.
What happens when you’re on the go?
We all like to sit in a café or restaurant, have a cup of coffee or enjoy a freshly baked piece of pie. But more often than not, there’s waste associated with it. Sometimes we don’t even have a minute to sit down and have our coffee in a mug, which results in a disposable cup. So how do coffee lovers avoid waste? Well a lot of it has to do with what we’ve already spoken about: finding a reusable alternative. Okay, so now you have your stainless steel mug, but what about the paper napkins, straws, and thin paper bags you get your delicious croissant packed in? After assessing my waste production, I realized that for me, a lot of it was the pastries and napkins that came with eating in cafes. I do think twice before eating out now. And I do plan ahead and make sure I carry my kit with me. But with time, this has become much easier. Read my blog to see how I’ve put together an on-the-go zero-waste kit.
How about tissues and toilet paper?
Yes, I get this question a lot. Many people assume that using tissues is okay, because it’s biodegradable. While this may be true, we need to think about the resources and the energy needed to produce these products. I’ve turned my tissues and paper towels to reusable ones too. I have a set of 12 thin, organic cotton ‘napkins’ that I carry around. I use a maximum of two per day, and it honestly takes me about 30 seconds to wash them. For cleaning counters and spills, I use small towels and avoid paper towel. Now, toilet paper can be tricky, and it’s still something that I use. Consider these factors when buying: make sure that they’re made from 100% recycled content, and look out for the PCF label which means processed chlorine free.
What do you do about your period?
I use the Diva Cup. Again, I try very hard to use items that are reusable rather than disposable, and I believe that this shift really reduces my waste. The cup is sanitary, comfortable and zero-waste. But for the women who are really uncomfortable with the idea, there are reusable and washable pads available too.
There you have it. Got more questions? Ask away!