Time to Smell the Roses

My ‘Waste-Less Home’ table at the Rethink Waste event

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
  • ethical

Grocery Shopping

Cloth bags are easy to make or you can purchase them new or used.

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.


Baking soda and white vinegar have many uses in my home

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

Simple pumpkin soup

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.


9 thoughts on “Time to Smell the Roses”

  1. Very inspirational Candace. I washed my floors with grated ‘pure soap’ and hot water today and just as good as the supermarket baking soda stuff. Marilyn


  2. Hey good on you for talking to the community about being environmentally conscious consumers! I also struggle with plastic free alternatives to cheese and toilet paper, although I have recently found out where I can get both, just slightly out of my way. Keep up the good work!


    1. Hi thanks for reading! I’d be interested to hear about your discoveries. Toilet paper in paper packaging is out of our price range, as well as cheese from specialty stores where you can take your own container. An everyday cheese that is available zero waste is hard to find


  3. Hi Candace and thank you for this post.
    Stephen and I managed to eliminate over 90% of our waste to landfill about 2 years ago and I gave a local talk about it earlier this year. It is simple to do but not easy! Our society is so focused on consumption and ‘newness’ that reducing waste is a major hurdle for most.
    It can also be fun though. Inspired by a Tasmanian artist I also started looking at other people’s waste and up-cycling discarded dolls earlier this year. Recently, I started my ‘Blue Planet Dolls’ Facebook page and somehow managed to sell a few at a local market. It will only ever be a hobby but it’s nice to be able to cover my costs and promote waste reduction at the same time. Most people do not realise that plastic/ vinyl toys cannot be recycled and take a thousand years to break down while contaminating the water table.
    All the best for 2016 to you and your family!


    1. Hi, thank you for reading. I agree with your comment on societies’ consumption norms, it is unfortunate and a fixation that is insatiable for most. I love the sound of your upcycled dolls, I’m Googling now! Happy new year !

      Liked by 1 person

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