I recently set up a stall at a community event which aimed to educate people on waste. My little table showcased all the things that I do at home that help reduce waste; it covered grocery shopping, cloth nappies, DIY cleaning products, waste-less essentials, rubbish free lunchboxes, composting and gardening. It was great to connect with people and share practical and inexpensive advice as to how they can do the same. A few people remarked as to how I have the time to do all of these things and about the effort that it takes. I tried my best to explain that it is more about more about behaviour change.
At first what directed our waste-less lifestyle that is now become normal behaviour centered around these three points:
- no packaging (or at least reusable or recyclable)
- cost effective
I recently heard the term ‘precycle’ which is similar to the zero waste definition but also emphasises the consumer’s role “precycling is also characterized as a decision-making process on the behalf of the consumer because it involves making informed judgments regarding a product’s waste implications. The implications that are taken into consideration by the consumer include: whether a product is reusable, durable, or repairable; made from renewable or non-renewable resources; over-packaged; and whether or not the container is reusable” (wikipedia definition). Our shopping habits are more aligned with precycling as we still buy some products in reusable and recyclable packaging. We have yet to put out our landfill bin which contains mostly soft plastics from packaging that we are yet to find alternatives (i.e. cheese and toilet paper), we are hoping to put out our bin just once this year.
I predominantly use white vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, and I no longer need to buy the following items:
Dishwash liquid, Jiff (abrasive cleaner), General cleaner spray, Shampoo & conditioner, Toothpaste, Washing powder
Aside from the washing powder all of the above simply requires pouring into reusable vessels (however not even this is required if you didn’t care!), which takes a few minutes.
Cooking at Home
Being mindful of waste in relation to food makes us eat local and seasonal vegetables that I mostly grow at home or at the community garden. This eliminates packaging and food mileage and encourages biodiversity. Making time and effort for gardening and cooking is important as it’s a way I can provide and nourish my family, community and environment.
I guess at the end of the day it’s about the bigger picture. Like anything that is important time and effort become irrelevant, that leads to a shift in behaviour, paving the way to a lifestyle change. Despite the time and effort I put in to my waste-less life I still have time to smell the roses, from which I get great pleasure and is a reminder that nature makes no waste.