Plastic free July: how I started my zero waste journey

In this society where takeaway food has become a second nature and disposable products fill our homes and lives, it seems pretty unrealistic to pretend you can produce ‘zero waste’. How on Earth can a regular person living in the city and working full time (i.e. time poor) make zero trash?

Here is what this specimen of person living in the city and working full time (yours truly) thinks.

About becoming ‘less waste’ rather than ‘zero waste’

I am the kind of person who needs an achievable goal to feel motivated, I don’t really strive on ‘Shoot for the moon’ type of ideas. The idea of focusing on reducing my waste is therefore a lot more appealing to me than the one of suppressing my waste.

There is also the idea of not putting pressure or guilt on yourself for not being a perfect environmentally friendly organic raw vegan pesticide free superstar. I think once you turn to this sort of greener lifestyle, the pitfall of wanting to be perfect (and Instagram worthy) is very likely to show its face.

So let’s all just relax, we are not aiming sky high, we might just start very small, even with just one thing. If you can just make one plastic free or ‘less waste’ habit and stick to it, that will be plenty to start with. But beware, once you’ve started thinking ‘less waste’, it’s all downhill from there (get it?).

zero waste blog

About taking a good hard look at your trash

I know, trash is not very sexy and you probably don’t really want to open your kitchen bin to see (and smell) what’s in there.  I’ll admit, here I am patronising you about all my great zero waste theories, and I haven’t really done it myself.

Instead, I took a different approach, a more internal thinking and educating route. I read a few articles, watched documentaries, followed some zero wasters on social media, and just started to think about every single item I threw in the bin, making a mental list. It quickly became apparent that, like most people today, I was making a lot of unnecessary waste – meaning waste that could have easily been avoided: cotton pads to remove my makeup,  plastic bags at the shops, single packaged goods like muesli bars, and so on.

I think there needs to be a defining moment before one can make the decision to make less waste. You don’t necessarily need to be eating all organic, or be vegan or a full on hippy to do it, but you might need to open your kitchen bin or think again before you say ‘yes’ to one more useless plastic bag.

zero waste blog

About making the conscious decision to make less waste

So I started changing my ways, one step at a time , one decision at a time. I’m still very much in this process and nowhere near perfect, but it’s great to feel like I’m doing my bit for our planet.

It took some getting used to, and from time to time, I forget my reusable bags when I go to the shops, but I won’t beat myself up for it. I’ll sometimes come up with a creative solution like emptying my yoga tote bag in my car and limiting myself to buy just as many items as it can take, or I’ll find a cardboard box in the shop that I can use (it’s not stealing, it’s recycling).

This ‘less waste’ journey and how far I’ve come really make me want to spread the message to everyone I know, that they too can do their part with very little effort. So here I am, sharing it with you, and hoping you’ll make a change and celebrate ‘Plastic free July’ with me.

Australian friends, if you head to the Biome website and take their Single use plastic free pledge, you could win a $100 voucher to get yourself a nice reusable coffee cup or beeswax food wraps (I’ve got my eye on them). There is one voucher to win every week this month, so go on!

plastic free july

7 thoughts on “Plastic free July: how I started my zero waste journey

  1. I was thinking the same myself. I know I am not anyway near being truly Zero Waste. I also have 3 kids… My goal is to reduce the trash where we can, and reuse what we can! I’ve also been on a big DIY and decluttering kick recently!

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  2. I’ve managed to only have half a red bin once a month and a yellow recyclable bin once every 3 weeks.
    We have –
    Reusable water bottle
    Reusable straws
    Wrappa vegan wraps
    Produce bags
    We always used a hessian tote or wicker basket
    Sold one car
    Save all our veggie scraps in a container in the freezer to make stock and then they go into compost.
    Buy bulk in our own containers
    A happy healthy worm farm
    Stainless steel lunch boxes with dippers
    And we are feeling like our small efforts will join others efforts to become a huge ocean of zero waste (and plastic free oceans)

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  3. Thanks for the article. I especially love the pic you used of the glass jars on your bench, that’s what drew me in to read! Wondering if you have a few more easy tips to share or could recommend good Instagram pages to follow for inspiration?

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    1. Hi Pip, thanks for your comment! I will write a more detailed articled soon about practical tips, let me know if you have any specific questions. I can recommend to follow Ali Cherry (link to her YouTube in my blog roll), Be Zero Waste (on IG), Kate Arnell from EcoBoost (on YouTube) and Sophie Ollis (on YouTube). I hope this helps!

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