(Originally written Nov 2020, updated April 2023)
So why try zero waste? Maybe you’re an environmentalist, a nature or an animal lover, you might want to be more frugal or give self-sufficiency a go. You might have watched documentaries about climate change and rising temperatures, seen images of oceans full of plastic straws on the news or read articles about melting polar ice and turtles caught up in lost fishing nets. Whatever your reason for taking steps to a more sustainable way of living, any changes you make, however small can make a difference.
For us, the reason why my family and I began to make more eco friendly purchases and sustainable choices was that we felt that the fast-paced, throw-away society of over consumption was so far disconnected from the natural world and the way we wanted to live and the culture we wanted to raise our children in.
We started our journey in early summer 2019, when after attending several vegan food and eco craft fairs, and speaking to volunteers from a plastic free programme, our eyes were opened to the damage being done to the planet. We watched documentaries and read articles and we decided that we needed to play our part, however small, in helping our planet and making a brighter future for our daughter. We went vegan and we made a plan to start phasing plastic out of our lives as soon as we could and to do the best we could to make ethical and sustainable choices so that our impact on the world around us was a small as we could possibly manage.
When we used up the last of the shampoo in the bottle, we bought a plastic free bar to replace it. Items we bought were transitioned to more ethical brands. As soon as we had the money, we invested in cloth nappies for our baby and loved that not only were we helping reduce the plastic going to landfill but she also had natural chemical free materials on her skin, we wished we had done it sooner and when our subsequent babies were born, we were so pleased to be able to cloth them from birth. We even used a cord tie on our youngest so no plastic hospital clip for his umbilical cord (shoutout to Heartstrings for their amazing ties! Absolutely beautiful!)
We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.– Howard Zinn
We aren’t perfect by any means and we could still do and have plans to do more, but we are on our own journey to zero waste and taking steps forward whenever we can.
We buy fruit and veg locally where we can to avoid the plastic wrapped offerings of the supermarkets, we source what we can at refill stores, we cook from scratch more (I say we, I mean Matthew cooks) we’re have plans to grow some of our own food, and are making some of our own cleaning products, disposables have been swapped for reusables, clothes are repaired or repurposed, and any new purchases are thought through and properly considered first, choosing ethical and sustainable options if available.
We aren’t at zero waste yet and would rather classify ourselves as ‘low waste’ but we are doing something to save our planet and fight climate change, we’re protecting the animals and the natural world affected and were helping to make a more sustainable world for our children to live in.
When trying to make zero waste living work for you, it’s important to keep your own personal ‘why’ in mind. If you don’t, it may be difficult to sustain or to keep moving forward. Any changes you set out to make might not stick unless you feel the motivation to do so, and the small changes you do make will give you confidence to keep going. So find your why, and start making small habit changes. Don’t know where to start? Follow our blog for inspiration and ideas.
“Going plastic free is a lifestyle change. Take your time and don’t beat yourself up if something goes a little wrong. Simply start again.”