It has been quite some time since I changed my lifestyle and adopted more sustainable habits, to reduce waste in my everyday life. But to avoid any kind of trash at all, was a whole new level.
The principle of the zero-waste movement is to waste as little as possible. The idea applies not only to food or packaging, but also objects we use in our daily life. To be kind to our planet, let’s buy less and reuse or upcycle what we already have, instead of throwing away.
So last week I decided to take on a zero-waste challenge, to see if I would be able to produce as little waste as possible. I was hoping to learn from the experience. Even for an EcoMama, there is always room for improvement.
Day 1 – preparation is everything
I wrote down a menu for the whole week, so I could prepare healthy meals and snacks at home for my family, to avoid overly packaged store-bought food. Especially school snacks usually come in non-recyclable plastic packages. With a little time and effort, I found out we could cook most processed foods and snacks ourselves, at home. A few ideas here for school snacks!
Day 2 and 3 – zero-waste shopping
Before I started my zero-waste week, I had made a list of all organic shops and wet markets nearby where I could buy my groceries, using my reusable vegetable nets and linen bags. I brought my own containers to the stores to fill them with dry foods, soaps, and cleaning products, to reduce plastic waste.
I also bought flour, nuts, rice, and cereals in paper bags and later stored these food items in airtight containers at home. Instead of buying cut and ready to use herbs in plastic, I bought a small plant at the market.
Day 4 and 5 – reusing peels
Fruits and vegetables peels were easy to reuse, as I blended and composted them at home to use as a plant fertiliser.
Another alternative for vegetable peels is to use them to make vegetable stock. It’s easy: put the peels in a pot, add water and seasoning, and let it simmer. Drain the broth and freeze the vegetable stock in ice cube trays. The leftover peels can still be used for compost. No resources were wasted, and I ended the week with zero organic trash.
Day 6 and 7 – reusing packaging material
My biggest challenge arrived when I had to buy some unplanned products in the supermarket close to my place. I knew reduced waste packaging would not be an option in this shop. So I decided to buy products stored in glass or paper containers that would be easier to recycle or reuse. After use, I refilled the condiment bottles with homemade sauces, and I used bread paper bags to propagate plants. The milk cartons made great plant pots. Luckily, the internet is full of ideas of everyday items that can be reused instead of thrown away.
We can’t change your lifestyle overnight, but every day we can make small environmentally friendly choices towards a more sustainable life that will reduce our carbon footprint, in our fight against climate change.