Saturday, 3 September 2016

My experience with Zero Waste

In the world that we live in, it's relatively difficult to live a zero waste life unless really really dedicate yourself to it and work really hard on a daily basis.

I was pretty strict on myself for a couple of months and really reduced the amount of waste I produced. I'm not as strict as I was back then but I thought I'd share a few changes I made to my lifestyle to help the movement.

1) no more take out coffee cups
Everyday during my commute I'd go to Albert Heijn to go and buy a coffee (& a pastry or two) and chuck the cup once I was done. I'd also stop by one of the two Starbucks we have in our work, so every day I was chucking away two paper cups and plastic lids on the regular.
Simple change: make my own coffee in the mornings. I bought a thermos (dropped it recently and broke it so my boyfriend replaced it with this bad boy) and now look forward to that part of my morning - taking 5 mins to make a coffee before I go to work.
If I go to Starbucks now in work (quite rare - we just got new coffee machines n they're pretty good) I'll take my own mug and also get 10% discount. Ch ching.

Coffee to go in a jam jar. Don't drop it. I did. It smashed. Everywhere. 

2) no more plastic bags
Whenever I do my groceries I will always take big totes/cotton shoppers and never buy a plastic bag. I also started to bring my own small cotton bags to put fresh produce in. If I keep the small bags in the bags dedicated to groceries, I'll always have them with me. Plus a bonus is that I don't have a drawer full of little crappy plastic bags anymore.

3) no more disposables
My first ZW change was when I needed a new toothbrush, I bought a bamboo one from Markt that could be composted. The second change was to swap out bic/Venus/disposable razors for an old fashioned safety razor with metal razor blades. It took a while to get used to it, but now I'm made up I don't have to buy any more shitty brightly coloured plastic razors and have a clean looking razor in my bathroom.
The third change and most significant for me was changing from tampons to a menstrual cup. Read about them - it's much better for females to use these. From health benefits, to the environmental benefits to actually saving a shitload of money on "luxury items" (lol) - I don't actually know why more girls don't use these. I found mine on Amazon and if you're a chick reading this, go search for them and see if you can make that change.

4) shampoo/conditioner bars
What I originally liked about shampoo bars the first time I started researching them was that they didn't come with any packaging (just a paper wrapper) but now what I like about them is that they last for much longer than regular shampoo bottles - like legit months and months, and now my bathroom looks clutter free and not taken up with all sorts of colourful bottles. They're stored in a little cheap metal bowls I bought from Dille&Kamille and Sissy Boy and look pretty good.

What I found difficult about ZW:
Plastic cutlery/straws
I'm not really one to carry round cutlery with me on the regular. I bought a small bamboo knife fork and spoon which could be carried round, but in reality it's just not that convenient to keep in your bag. I also haven't been able to find a metal straw to carry round with me.
That said, I loathe plastic cutlery and straws and will do everything to not have to use them.

This is a bit of a bad excuse but I live on the third floor in an Amsterdam house - that's high up on very steep steps. Taking three lots of recycling out is just not convenient for one gal to do. I did have a composting bin, which I made from scratch and was super proud of, but at the beginning of summer, once the days started heating up it got a bit stinky and my neighbour asked me to move it. *insert embarrassed face emoji* so I had to give up on my dream of being a composting connoisseur.

Beauty Products
I researched a lot about how to make your own toothpaste - even made some but couldn't handle it to use regularly and knew my boyfriend would never accept using it, so mad props to people who manage to use their own. It was also tricky for me to track down bicarbonate of soda in Amsterdam - seriously Albert Heijn has nothing on Tesco so it wasn't the most convenient thing for me to keep making.

I never even entertained the thought of making my own moisturiser/body butter as I only just got my skin into a decent situation so couldn't face (no pun intended) to put something else on it. I also still had a lot of moisturisers which I'd seemingly been hoarding and didn't see the pointed in making even more.

So there you have it - my Zero Waste story. Consider making some small changes to your lifestyle and you'll see the benefits in your wallet, health and your home.



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