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I feel like I’ve been stagnating this month, so the plan this week was to get off my behind, “fix” everything and bring balance to the world again.
This is only my second month striving to live zero waste, but I still feel like I’m failing at this. We still throw out way too much trash for my liking. Some of it is stuff that we had lying around from before the zero waste expedition (shampoo bottles, items bought in bulk, cleaning materials etc. HOW ON EARTH DOES ONE ACCUMULATE SO MUCH PLASTIC, AND JUNK IN GENERAL……) others are because I don’t have zero waste alternatives yet, or I just don’t get around to making my own. Either due to laziness or lack of funds. At least, I’m much more conscious about waste these days, but still… I need to jack this mission up.
What goes right:
- Reusable bags – I really love my bags. As soon as I have more money, I’m going to get more the draw string bags. Sometimes I still forget the bags in the car, but I’m getting there.
- Switching to glass jars – I use them for my lunch at work, to store veggies and greens in the fridge, to store maize, rice, sugar, cat food (and the cat food comes in a plastic bag, urgh), etc. Only problem is that I’m running out of storage space now. (Small apartment)
- Buying bulk from Fruit and Veg – Green beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, fruits, etc, I get it all there. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar is on tap, spices are in bulk. Michael has decided to quit eggs and fish as well, so we’ll move into truly vegan mode now. Less cartons to get rid off.
- Hair and teeth – I’m fairly happy using coconut oil, baking soda and vinegar for this. (Though we still have tooth paste in tubes around here. Also, I don’t think Michael is ready to give up toothpaste yet…)
- Make Up – Haven’t bought any since I started this. I’m not fond of make up, I hardly every wear it. I do enjoy a good black eyeliner and dark eye shadow though for the times that I do dress up. Anybody have any alternatives for that?
Stuff That Needs Work:
- Bubble Bath & Mayo – These are Michael’s two luxuries. Bubble bath and B-Well Vegan Mayo. Both in plastic jars. I have a mayo recipe that I still need to try once I have all the ingredients. I dunno about the bubble bath. Still looking for a place to buy Vegetable Glycerine so I can make our own. (Can’t find it sans plastic anywhere)
- Compost – Can’t afford a vermicomposter yet, we don’t have a garden (third floor in apartment building.) I’ve started collected all “good” food scraps in the freezer at least to make vegetable broth with, and re-purposed a bucket to keep other food scraps, tea bags, etc. Dunno what I’m gonna do with it just yet…
- Trash in general – I just feel it’s still too much. I’m monitoring it this week, and realized there’s a lot of work still left to be done. So far, all the food scraps goes into the dedicated Food-Scraps-Tea-Bag-Bucket. We finished our supply of black garbage bags, and I refuse to buy more!! So for now, all the trash has been folded/torn up and “stored” in a empty 2KG paper bag that sugar comes in… Right now, there’s an empty packet of 2 min noodles plastic wrapper in there, the top of a 2L plastic bottle (reused the rest of the bottle) silver-plasticky wrapper that tea bags come in, and its box, plastic wrapper that had freshly ground coffee beans in (bought looooong ago) 4 random plastic bottle tops, and empty 450g chick pea flour plastic bag and various other odds and ends. The 2KG paper bag is almost full…
- Soylent – We make our own soylent drink for breakfast and lunch, Nature’s Choice products like Soy Lechitin, Chick pea flour, coconut flour, and such things. All come in plastic bag of 450g or 500g. No one seems to have these products in bulk.
- Toiletries – Don’t have a moon cup yet as they’re are too expensive, so still using tampons, urgh. I’ve switched to buying a dove soap bar that comes packaged in carton instead of plastic. Not ideal but I think it’s better?
- Receipts – I can’t get rid of these! Almost all stores require that you take it to check your stuff out. A security dude has to check, stamp and/or sign it, so I can’t tell the cashier to just not print one.
- Toothbrushes and Earbuds – I’ve tracked down disposable ear buds, but it’s a really long drive from here… At this stage it’s not the worth the petrol. And compostable tooth brushes are a bit pricey here… (I know I say everything is pricey, we recently had to replace all four shocks and clutch on the car. We’re also recovering from two weddings which cost a pretty penny with travelling, accommodation, flight tickets, car rental etc. So we’re well and truly broke for the next couple of months.)
- Fry’s Foods, Pasta’s, etc. Most of them come in recyclable cartons, but they always have some form of plastic inside. Somewhere. Like a little “window” on the front of the box, or something wrapped in the box. It’s madness.
- Recycling Stations: I need to set up a dedicated spaces in my apartment for things to donate, recycle or reuse. Glass bottles, empty tins, and so forth. Also a separate box for stuff to take to the local charity store. I’ve been meaning to do this since… I can’t even remember. I’m a hoarder. I have a ton of stuff I don’t need. Once all that’s cleared out, I’d probably have space for everything I want/need to do.
Basically, I think it comes down to habits we need to get rid off. We should stop buying soda in plastic bottles. It’s not healthy anyway. We should stop buying things like 2 Min noodles, crisps, etc.
And that’s just all I could thing of now… It does not look good. I feel so overwhelmed.
Can anybody offer some suggestions?