Three Things I've Learnt Since Going Zero Waste
- When people say it's easy, they're lying
I guess it depends on the person and on their situation, but I've found many things difficult about making the transition to a plastic-free life. What happens on those days when you're too tired, too busy or just too lazy to cook? With the ease of delivery services like Deliveroo offering every type of cuisine right to your door within the hour, it's oh so tempting to forget about the poor turtles and whales and indulge in a night of fast food inevitably delivered in endless packaging.
Even ‘picking up something easy from the supermarket’ becomes a challenge with every ready meal wrapped nicely in… yep, you've guessed it, plastic. All this has led me to become a lot more creative and experimental with my cooking - which unfortunately for my boyfriend, might not be such a good thing.
I constantly have to guilt myself into travelling the extra few blocks to the organic shop to buy fruit and veg or to the bulk store when you can fill up your containers with hundreds of different products. This often works out cheaper and at the end, it is incredibly satisfying seeing your pretty kitchen with its organised jars and of course, you can sleep easy that night knowing that you made it a whole day without contributing to any rubbish in the landfills or oceans.
So, my advice to you, whenever it's possible, make the effort. It's worth it in the end and saves you several trips taking out the rubbish. Saying this, don’t beat yourself up over a slip up every now and again, we are only human after all.
- It's not cheap... At first
One thing I do not recommend is throwing out all plastic in sight to try and redeem your pre-zero waste life. I would only recommend replacing what needs replacing like soaps or washing up brushes, without restocking the usual plastic culprits. But, the excitement of these beautiful products might get the better of you and soon you'll realise that the bulge in your wallet (metaphorically speaking, of course) is quickly diminishing. But have no fear...while at first it feel like everything is expensive, you will soon realise you don't need to replace zero-waste products nearly as often. Take Tupperware; it can last you for years but after a while, you’ll find the smell of your chicken katsu curry from six months ago is ingrained into it and it's time to bid farewell. The stainless-steel alternatives may seem like a fortune in comparison to the cheap plastic Tupperware, but you can rest assured the lifespan is a hell of a lot longer, saving you money in the long run. You also won't end up with hundreds of lids and bottoms that never seem to match.This goes for many other sustainable products. A metal razor can cost you around €22.00 (well, the ones I sell do). One of these will last you a lifetime with cheap razor blades being the only thing you need to buy. With an estimated 2 billion razors thrown out each year, you’re not only saving a ton of money but you’re choosing to not have a negative impact on the environment – what’s more rewarding than that?
- If your friends aren’t on board, it can make for some uncomfortable social situations
I read recently in one of the zero waste Facebook groups I am in that a woman was told that every time she visited friends or family, they hid the plastic straws or got rid of the plastic cups at the party, just because she was present.
This made me think of my own experiences. Time and time again I am telling people not to worry and to not apologise to me when they pull out a plastic bottle in front of me or when their fridge is stocked high with food wrapped in plastic. I tell them not to worry because how they live their life is their choice. Who am I to judge their choices when I’m far from perfect and constantly slipping up myself. I think the fact that they apologise or try and justify why they are using single-use plastic only shows the forever changing attitudes of everyone around us. My only advice to you if you find this happening is to educate and not to tell people how to live! You can also show off your zero waste products!