Straight up, I’m not zero waste. Not even close. I’ve always tried to not be a dick to the environment but zero waste is a bit too intense for me.
The reason why is time. That’s where I fall flat. I’ve nailed everything that doesn’t involve time. Reusable water bottle – sorted. I’m a full on beeswax wraps girl these days. I have a car boot full of reusable shopping bags. I use a menstrual cup and reusable sanitary pads so my period is now totally waste free. Those things are sorted. I struggle with a lot of other things though. Like salad leaves. We are planning on growing our salad eventually but that’s not a short term solution. We live in the country so a lot of the farm to table stores aren’t open when we have time to shop so I end up grabbing a bag of salad at the local supermarket. And you know what? That’s fine. It’s great to avoid it if you can but if you can’t, there’s no reason to flip out. It’s okay to be gentle and make changes where you can. I want to stop buying food in packaging and it’s a work in progress. There’s no point in beating myself every time I grab a bag of pre-packaged lettuce at the shops when I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market that week.
Another issue I have is alcohol. I’m not a massive drinker but occasionally I like a glass of wine or a gin and tonic on a Friday night. The problem is that I want 1 glass. Not a whole bottle. So at the moment I buy little 4 packs of wine or cans of alcoholic seltzer. It goes against what every low waste expert says – the low waste community HATES individually packaged items but in this case, it’s a better solution. There’d be far more waste if I bought bottles of tonic I then threw out because I didn’t want to drink a whole litre to myself. Same with wine. So sometimes it’s also important to look at the common solution and realise it might not be the best solution for you.
This week’s guest is Anita Vandyke who is @rocket_science on Instagram and she’s is the author of A Zero Waste Life which is one of the best low waste books I’ve read. I mean really let’s be honest here, no one likes to be shamed and made to feel like they’re not trying hard enough and this book is all about making gentle progress.
Just a warning though – Anita is an actual rocket scientist who ditched rocket science and has just become a doctor. She’s also a low waste advocate with 2 successful books to her name. She’s also lovely. I would never indulge in any kind of tall poppy syndrome behaviour – I’m all about celebrating people doing awesome stuff – but this is just a little tongue in cheek warning if you going to find amazing people a bit triggering today. Anita is quite fantastic. You’ve been warned.
In this episode I chat about…
- The concept of zero, low or reduced waste – choosing what level works for you and when
- How mindset is the hardest part of the journey
- How Covid has affected the low waste movement and why it’s important for us to make better choices for those who can’t
- The Command Centre in your home and how to use it
- The Family Rules in your home and how to tailor them to suit your own values
- How to not be a dick about reducing your waste – Teach Don’t Preach
- How Anita copes with having a degree that she’s not using
Anita’s Top Productivity Tips – the ones I promised I’d write down here.
• Use a Tech Bed – where all your tech goes to ‘sleep’
• Get outside – Using your ‘green prescription’
• Minimise – Outer order equals inner calm
If you’re interested in cutting back on your consumption but you not quite ready to churn your own butter in an off grid hut, this episode is for you.
Links mentioned in this episode
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Regarding your comments about toilet paper and Who Gives A Crap – it made me think of this post I read recently which includes some research about WGAC paper vs Australian produced toilet paper (https://figjamandlimecordial.com/2018/02/07/a-long-rambling-catch-up/). It’s in the middle of the post, and made me have a bit of a think. I really like WGAC toilet paper as well, and their profit donation model – but the fact that it’s produced overseas and individually wrapped as opposed to one bit of plastic around a big bulk pack of other toilet paper gave me pause. Anyway! This is a very long way of saying perhaps the “basic” paper that you’re using has some environmental positives that WGAC paper doesn’t.