At the moment, being zero waste feels like an implausible, abstract concept. I mean, I’ve always been someone who recycles food packaging and composts kitchen waste, I feel like these practices are pretty standard. Most people would frown upon a person who didn’t recycle ANYTHING.
But ZERO WASTE? Like. NO. WASTE. That is next level. Is that even possible? Well I’m pleased to say it looks like it might be…
I’ve been inspired by the ingeniously named blog Trash is for Tossers by Lauren Singer. Lauren lives in New York City and in my opinion is the Queen of zero waste. The waste products from the last 4 years of her life fit into a single mason jar. My boyfriend thought this was a joke. I will assure you like I assured him this girl and her mason jar is real. You can watch a video of Lauren talking us through the contents of her jar here.
So now you’re probably thinking that you and I are in some way incapable of achieving this incredible feat. And you might be right BUT I’ve already told you I like a challenge. So here are my current favourite products that are helping me take baby steps towards a zero waste life.
A list! Yeay!
- Cotton carrier bags
“why waste your money? And why put another plastic bag into circulation?”
So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you will be well aware that stores in the UK no longer hand out a plastic bag when you make a purchase. You can still buy a 5p bag from most places or, if you’re feeling extra flush you can buy a bigger, very-slightly-better-quality-but-still-plastic bag for 10p. But why waste your money? And why put another plastic bag into circulation? I won’t bore you with facts about how evil plastic bags (and single use plastic items in general) are but if you want to know just how evil then take a look here.
Historically I’ve been pretty bad at remembering to grab my cotton shoppers before I hit Aldi, but I’ve learnt the trick is to have a few of them. I now carry two in my handbag and I also have a spare in the car. I’m not claiming the cotton shoppers I own are the most ethical or sustainable available but they are DEFO better than plastic bags. I’ll keep my 5p thank you very much.
2. Re-useable water bottle
Like most of us I’m a pretty busy person and spend a lot of time working or driving or generally being on the go. This beauty comes with me everywhere. I have the 532ml reflect bottle in matt silver (they also have an 800ml version and you can get both sizes in shiny silver too). It’s perfectly sized to fit in my handbag and it has a cute little handle so you can swing it around and show it off to your friends (if you like).
More importantly the materials are all sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly. The bottle itself is made from BPA free stainless steel, the lid from bamboo and the liner from food-grade silicone.
If you’re interested in this beautiful piece of zero waste kit you can get one right here.
To top it all off Klean Kanteen are kicking butt in the Sustainable Business Olympics (I don’t think that’s actually a thing but it should be). Their factories are socially and environmentally responsible, they operate a green shipping program, and they belong to an organisation called “1% For The Planet” which means they’re committed to contributing lots of money to environmental organisations dedicated to preserving and restoring wild places.
3. Menstrual cup
“There are loads of alternative eco-friendly products on the market now and the Mooncup is just one of them.”
I’m sorry guys but I’m going there. So if you’re weird and squeamish and prefer to stay in a world where women are made from sugar and spice or whatever it is, then I suggest you leave. Now.
We all know that cruising the crimson wave is a bit of a drag. And thanks to single use sanitary products Mother Nature isn’t really enjoying the ride either. Most single use tampons and pads use non-recycleable and potentially toxic materials that are harmful to our bodies and our environment meaning they all go to landfill. There are loads of alternative eco-friendly products on the market now and the Mooncup is just one of them. Its made from soft medical grade silicone, is latex-free and hypoallergenic and contains no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins. Each cup comes in a cute little ethically produced organic cotton bag, the only waste is the recyclable cardboard box it’s packaged in.
Are you sold yet?
How about the fact that they last for years and years and cost the same amount that you’d spend on disposable products in 6 months? You only need one cup no matter where you are in your flow AND they’re Vegan.
Of all the items here I think that my Mooncup has been the biggest life changer. I wont lie, it took a couple of months to get used to putting it in correctly, taking it out etc but now its as easy as anything else I’ve used in the past. I’ve even lived in a van in a car park with VERY basic bathroom facilities and managed to use it so this in my book makes it a winner. Now I get to enjoy the fact that every month I’m doing something great for the planet.
I’m currently eyeing up some new products to add to my zero waste tool kit but like the good, slow-living, Conscious Queen I am, I’m taking my time deciding which products I can invest in that will make the biggest impact. I’ll do another post like this one when I’ve added to my kit.
Please share your thoughts on these products or similar if you have them, and let me know what steps you’re taking to reduce your waste production in the comments below!