Sunday, 20 September 2015

Zero Waste Update

Hello! I'm back from holiday after a lovely two weeks away, well rested and ready for the new season with a whole host of exciting topics lined up over the next month. After my break I thought it would be a good time to update on my progress on living a zero waste lifestyle, after posting back in May about Trash is for Tossers' Lauren Singer, who creates so little waste that she is able to fit two year’s worth into a single mason jar! After reading her story I was keen to see what tips and tricks I could adapt into my lifestyle, as although I’m a keen recycler and try to avoid excess plastic wherever possible, there is definitely more I could do to decrease my ‘waste footprint’.

Lauren’s blog is full of great recipes for making your own toothpaste and other toiletries from everyday ingredients such as coconut oil and bicarbonate of soda, but unfortunately my rather hectic job and cramped house share means that I haven’t really had the time or space to try any of them out. However, Lauren’s simple approach to her skincare and beauty regime has definitely made me more aware of what toiletries I do buy, whether that’s making sure that they are as natural as possible (no parabens, or other harsh ingredients) and encouraging all four of my housemates to recycle as much as possible, which isn't something they hadn't really thought about before. We're quite lucky here in the UK to be provided with a recycling bin (in addition to our normal waste bin) which is collected every week, so encouraging your housemates/family/neighbours to think about recycling first and waste second is an easy win. I'm pleased to report that this tactic seems to have worked, and over the last few months our recycling bin has been full every week!

I've also made some other small changes to my lifestyle which I think will add up to make a big difference in the long run - avoiding excess plastic bags for fruit and vegetables in the supermarket and always taking reusable bags to put my shopping in, swapping my plastic toothbrush for a biodegradable bamboo one, and buying some reusable muslin cloths to take my make up off with instead of throwaway wipes or pads. Before I went on holiday I also had some individual eyelash extensions done, which meant that I hardly had any make-up to take off anyway and washing my face in the shower everyday was more than enough.

I'm still looking at ways I can reduce my waste footprint even further - currently on my to-do list are buying a reusable (BPA-free) water bottle to take to work, making my lunch every day instead of buying it, and also thinking about how I can revamp my wardrobe for the new winter season without throwing away anything or buying too much more. DIY ideas to follow!

1. Make easy changes to your daily routine, like swapping to a bamboo toothbrush, a reusable water bottle or muslin cloths for removing make-up that you can wash and reuse.
2. Buy items you use regularly in bulk, especially if you live with other people - milk, bread, shampoo, washing will save on packaging and also save you money!
3. Try and avoid packaging waste wherever possible - take reusable bags to the supermarket, don't bag up individual fruit and vegetables and try and opt for easily recyclable packing such as glass jars and cardboard boxes rather than plastics.
4. Think about where the bulk of your waste comes from - whether that's food, clothing, toiletries, cleaning products - and try to take steps to minimise it.
5. Finally, encourage others around you to see the benefits of what you're doing - making changes your own lifestyle is great, but think of the impact you can have on five, ten, fifty or a hundred people!

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