Today’s post is quite a green one, but something I think is important. I have been studying Global Environmental Politics this term and I have been finding it very interesting. I have now realised that the biggest cause of problems in the environment is our mentality of over-consumption, we are encouraged to buy new clothes and technology all the time, despite it not being faulty.
I rarely buy new clothes and most of the time they are from charity shops, but I have been trying to make a conscious effort to create less waste – especially plastic waste. I have been very interested in this topic for about a year, and I am so proud watching this topic break into the national news recently. There has been a breakthrough with large chain’s banning single-use plastics – like Wetherspoons replaced their plastic straws with paper ones and the big supermarkets are now only selling bags for life.
So I am definitely not perfect. I am no Lauren Singer from Trash is for tossers.
However, I have been trying to reduce waste and I can tell you it is difficult. Everything is wrapped in plastic and I only have a Lidl near me, which doesn’t have many alternatives. I sometimes buy fruit and veg from the market, but it is a long way from my house.
This is 8 simple swaps to becoming zero waste that I have started:
- Shampoo – since working at lush I am a convert to the mighty shampoo bars! These are solid shampoo bars, which reduce the plastic waste and last soooooo long. I have shortish hair, but the bars last over 4-5 months for me when I was my hair every other day.
- Loose fruit and veg – I buy a lot of fruit and veg loose, but I never use the bags they provide. Things like bananas and onions or even carrots don’t need to be protected as you peel them, before eating!
- Buying things in bulk – In Lidl they have nuts like cashews and pistachios that you can buy in bulk – you can even use your own bags or containers.
- Reusable mug/water bottle – We all remember that I take reusable water bottles through airport security, but I also take out my reusable mugs and some coffee shops give big discounts for using them! I will confess that mine are both plastic, but they are BPA free, I do think anything that is reusable is still a step in the right direction. I also don’t get on well with metal water bottles, however, I was so proud when my sister asked for one for Christmas.
- Bags for life – My Mum will tell you, we have big big arguments at the checkouts in supermarkets over forgetting bags. I am obsessed with using bags for life – why keep buying plastic when you have perfectly good ones already. I do want to change mine for a fabric one eventually, but for now I know this change makes a difference.
- NO STRAWS – When I had braces I used to drink through a straw, but I now very proudly refuse the straw. They are not necessary and we can all drink without them. This is the easiest change to make and is being made easier by the changes in restaurants.
- Menstrual Cup – I have been trying to use a menstrual cup for my last few periods, to see first if it is more comfortable than tampons and then for the waste benefits. This has been eventful and there are quite a few funny stories, so hopefully, it will work for me! I also bought one off Groupon as I was concerned about spending lots of money.
- Finally.. Making packed lunches in Tupperware – I know you can have metal alternatives, but I’m not buying single-use plastics when I buy sandwiches or salads. Even the cardboard has a plastic coating on most sandwich wrappers, so can’t be recycled. I also bring my own cutlery as I find the wooden ones a weird idea.
I am still struggling with some things, like grapes and meat in supermarkets. I know the best idea is to be vegetarian, I am reducing my meat consumption but it is not a goal of mine anytime soon. I just struggle with the different plastics that can’t be recycled and trying to find alternatives.
I am lucky that we have weekly recycling and food waste collections where I live, I now find it so weird now to put food waste in the normal bin at my parents house! I find the food waste also reduces the rotting smell from the general waste, we waste so much less. Even though supermarkets still wrap broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in plastic. Our bin is mainly full of plastics but we have been trying to reduce that. My friend Ella would be so proud of the bin related paragraph.
I hope some of you find this helpful and make some of these changes in your lives too. I understand zero waste is not just something you can do overnight, not all of us are in the position to do all these things, but just a few mindful choices may make a massive difference.
Also, just awareness of overconsumption and changing our mentality around what we use, makes such a difference.
The Great Ambini
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