As mentioned, I’ve been tagged by Rachelle in this fun game which we started among the Zero Waste Bloggers Network, in order to tell each other and the world how we each decided to approach the zero waste lifestyle and how well we get on with it. So here is my answers 🙂
How / Why did you first start switching to a Zero Waste lifestyle?
When I started my blog, I didn’t really think much about Zero Waste. I was more into the general principle of alternative living, using no-poo and other fun stuff. When I entered uni, I came across the environmental hub of our students’ union – a bunch of people all into sustainable living. I was so inspired that I just got myself deep into all things sustainable, and of course into Zero Waste through other Zero Waste bloggers. Especially Bea with her Zero Waste Home was a ‘I-want-to-jump-up-and-change-my-whole-life’-experience (juvenile enthusiasm and all such things).
But I was still very sceptic that it’s actually a concept that works. Since then, I have read so much about our Earth and how we basically wreck it by simply living the way we do; it makes me sad every time I read about it! I’ve turned right out preachy (mostly to myself and my boyfriend as there’s no audience for environmental-hippie-preaching-people – I can’t blame them!) and keep on getting a bad conscience with my eco-sins that trying to go zero waste is only one of many logical consequences!
Since when are you pursuing a zero waste lifestyle?
There is not really a date to it, but let’s say it’s when my blog started which is the start of this year 🙂
What are some of your favourite ways to avoid trash?
There’s so many things that I really don’t think I can list them all … Most prominent of all is my fundamental hate for plastic bags and single use products. When I see single-use bags I turn into a little German bundle of hate (contrary to my general nature I have to say) and it makes me think about all the plastic I see in bushes, trees, animals, landfill.
Community. I preach sharing wherever I go. Instead of buying all our stuff new, I can always track down at least one person who has this particular thing and would like to get rid of it. We got our entire furniture through freecycle and charity, we even got a bike lately from a friend who couldn’t use it anymore and just left in her back yard (yeah Steffi, talking about you here 😉 ). These things happen all the time, and I’m convinced in order to reduce our impact we need to connect with each other (what a coincidence, there’s me joining the Network ;))
Home recipes. I love to use a few things for literally everything, and I guess baking soda and vinegar are the great revelation for any one aspiring zero waste. Get a good load of both and you’re sorted for almost anything in kitchen and bathroom. There is so many things we already have which can easily replace all kinds of cleaners, foods, etc. I need to re-learn how my grandparents did their housework without fancy cleaners, powders and gadgets and still had a great result!
Re-inventing. I love challenging myself to think out of the box to find a new way to use a certain item which I otherwise would need to bin. A ripped pair of tights was turned into a draft excluder for our door; an old and huge paper bag is now a self-made paper basket for our mail, and old t-shirts are sewed (more or less crooked) into produce bags! The only downturn is that I have this urge to keep everything, ‘just in case’, and I have to remind myself to just let go of some things!
Grow your own. I don’t have a garden, but that doesn’t keep me from growing. I have a small windowsill with some herbs and a lovely little avocado tree, and I’m proud to be part of our university community garden. When the time is ripe for harvest, we will feast on organic, self-grown goodness which is entirely zero waste. No problemo!
Drink from the tap. On the go, from a reusable bottle. It’s a no-brainer.
I’ll leave it there for now.
How do you have so much time to make all that stuff from scratch?
Not at all! I’d love to be able to afford a freezer which will save a lot of hassle when cooking. In my zero waste dream, I only cook once a week and just unfreeze previously made meals for a quick dinner. At this moment, I try to cook every second day or so, and the other day we stick to simple things, bread or pasta, or leftovers if we have any. But we also still get a take-away if nothing else works. I’m not that far into my zero waste routine I’m afraid, but getting there!
How much garbage do you / does your family produce per week?
If we talk garbage as in ‘landfill’, we’re still so far away from zero that there is no point comparing. I guess we fill a black bag every 10 or so days, but we’re working on it continuously, so I hope to change this within the next months.
Must be expensive to cook from scratch. Are you rich?
This is simply a misconception and I hate it when people say that! Who invented the idea that cooking from scratch is expensive? The contrary is the case, it’s so much cheaper than anything ready-made, and in fact me and my boyfriend are saving a huge amount of money when we grocery shop. As a student, finance is a big issue in my life, and I cannot see myself buy ready-made food or I’d be broke before long!
What were the hardest things to give up?
I’m just about starting, so I refrained from the things we have to ‘give up’ and concentrated on the stuff I’d be happy to be rid of or substitute.
What are your compromise items (not zero waste but you still buy them)?
- Sweets. I’m a confessed sugar addict and there is no way I will be able to give it up for good before long. Especially my German sweets extra exported by my mum are holy.
- Medicine, for the obvious reasons, although sometimes I refuse the occasional paracetamol in favour of some semi-meditation or a nice massage from my boyfriend which will get rid of the problem.
- Sun cream. I’m dead pale without any hope of ever getting tanned. The more important for my skin is to keep it protected. One thing I don’t want to try and err is sun protection
- So far, cheese, yoghurt, salami. I couldn’t find unpackaged produce, but I wouldn’t mind substituting as soon as I find some unpackaged.
- Probably potato crisps. I don’t eat them a lot, but if I want some, I’m not able to hold back. I tried making my own, but they were sh*t every time. Well. 😛
For all other things, I hope to sooner or later find a good zero waste substitute.
What are your favourite Zero Waste Blogs?
Since joining the Network, the choice is ridiculous and I just can’t decide which blogs I like most!! Before that, I tuned into
- Zero Waste Home – http://www.zerowastehome.com/
- No Trash Project – http://notrashproject.com/sample-page/
- A Lazy Girl Goes Green (which is strictly speaking not an entirely Zero Waste blog) – http://alazygirlgoesgreen.com/
I also follow a few minimalist bloggers to get some inspiration to de-clutter my home 🙂
What’s one random fun fact about you?
Me and my boyfriend first met in New Zealand and decided to go camping on the South Island together. Since our tent was a nuisance, we spent one month just sleeping in the car, which was a tiny Mitsubishi Dingo, in the wilderness of New Zealand (great adventure to tell my kids about). Now, in England and then Scotland, we keep this tradition ever so often with a ‘slightly’ larger Vauxhall Zafira which even fits a proper mattress. 😀