Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Could you live a 'zero waste' lifestyle?

A few days ago I came across an article on Stylist's website about 23-year old New Yorker Lauren Singer, who lives a 'zero waste' lifestyle - to the point where she can fit all the waste she's produced over the last two years into a single mason jar!

Her decision to change her lifestyle was made during her final two years studying for her degree in Environmental Studies at New York University, when she looked in her fridge one night and realised that everything was wrapped in plastic. "I felt like such a hypocrite," she writes on "Everyone thought of me as the sustainability girl, so that meant that I was totally doing my share for the earth, right? Wrong."

To start reducing the impact of her lifestyle on the environment, she sold, donated and gave away all her unnecessary possessions and started making cleaning and beauty products from natural ingredients found in her kitchen. She also changed her shopping habits, using her own canvas bags and jars to fill with bulk products at the supermarket and only shopping in secondhand stores for clothes. By minimising, reusing, recycling and composting her waste, Lauren was able to eliminate 80% of her waste, and has now quit her job as a Sustainability Manager for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to start her own zero-waste company, The Simply Co., where she makes and sells the products that she's learned to produce over the last couple of years.

Lauren's story got me thinking: how achievable is it to lead a totally 'zero-waste' lifestyle? These days it's pretty easy to recycle most household waste, from glass to cardboard and plastic tubs and cartons, but it always annoys me that food wrapping just has to go straight in the bin because it's not currently recyclable. To minimise this, I definitely need to stop my quick trips to Tesco of an evening and make more of an effort to visit the Asian food store down the road, which would probably also make me a bit more adventurous in the kitchen in addition to cutting down on unnecessary plastics! Some of Lauren's other top tips that seem like simple changes to make include using sustainable bamboo toothbrushes and unwrapped bar soap, and swapping make up wipes for organic coconut oil and reusable cotton rounds, which are all things I want to start including in my routine. 

Do you think you could lead a 'zero waste' lifestyle? What are some of the easy changes you could make, and is there anything you just couldn't live without?

You can read the full article on Stylist here
Lauren's blog Trash Is For Tossers also has great tips and advice for minimising waste as well as a range of homemade recipes, from moisturiser to ravioli.

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