When I started my (then called) zero waste journey I thought if I cut back on my plastic use I will make one of the biggest impact on the environment. In the past 2 years I learn so much and realised there is so much more I can do. Some were easier and some still ongoing. Here are all the things I have been and some more I am planing on ticking off this year.
# 1 Using what I have. When starting this journey I was so intrigued to get the cool looking zero waste stuff. Glass reusable coffee cups and tins and everything which will look pretty on a zero waste insta account. But creating less waste is not about buying new things. It was about looking around in our household and see what I can use to eliminate single use items on the go or in our household .
# 2 Buying second hand. Most probably all the things I ever need already exists. Either hiding in our local charity shops or on online like eBay and Facebook Marketplace. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Keeping things away from landfill and giving perfectly usable items a longer life is what low waste is about. Plus it makes perfect sense economically.
# 3 Switching to green energy. Although currently there isn’t a company (in the UK) offering 100% renewable when it comes to gas. Buld (who are we currently with) gas is 10% renewable from biomethane and Ecotricity which is proving 14% from grass. Pure Planet offers 100% offset gas and ALL of these suppliers are offering 100% renewable electricity from wind, sun or water. Check out all green energy suppliers here (UK).
# 4 Banking. Once there is money sitting on my bank account, it is being used. After looking into the subject I was horrified to see that many bigger banks invest into fracking / coal mining and extracting fossil fuel. All which is pretty bad for our planet. Triodosuk is one of them which is financing organic farming and green energy. Making that switch this year is a high priority on my list.
# 5 Eating less meat. I have made a decision after watching Cowspiracy to turn vegetarian overnight and to work towards veganism. Over a year later while I am not a perfect vegan I massively reduced all animal products from my and my family’s diet. It was a slow progress but a very stress free one and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
# 6 Plastic. This is what started this journey. 2 years on and a lot has changes. More and more zero waste shops are opening / plastic carrier bags went from 5p to 10p / the Blue Planet II effect resulting a few more documentaries and articles in mainstream media but it is still a huge issue. So buying naked fruit and veg / baking the kids their snacks / cooking from scratch / avoiding take aways / buying products in can or glass over plastic or paper / visiting my new local zero waste shops every 2 months to lug home kilos of rice / pasta / nuts / seeds and the lot. Using bar soaps / shampoos / refill washing liquids and diy cleaning products. I could go on. Still we accumulate a small bag of non recyclable waste every 2 weeks (excluding night nappies) but it is a progress and for me an exciting journey.
# 7 Public transport instead of having a car. As it stand we won’t be planing on getting a car this year either. Using busses which are already there or trains is the least harmful for our planet. I don’t feel we are missing out on locations or experience. We are used to it and it doesn’t hold us back or deprive us from things to do. (Huge bonus of course that we are in London (the edge) and well connected up I know.)
# 8 Checking on online campaigns and signing petitions. Those which are in line with my values of course. I have been and continue to check on change.org and 38degrees where there are plenty of amazing campaigns looking for more people to sign so they can be presented in front of governments and decision makers and really drive change from top levels.
# 9 Keep connecting and finding my tribe. Connecting with like minded people is key. I am so fortunate to be part of this community and learn so much. Not to feel lonely and discouraged out in the big world. The looks when scraping restaurant leftovers into my tupperware or when refusing a plastic straw. Social media is my bubble where I know I will be understood.
# 10 My mind and soul. Last but not least. This “fight” doesn’t work / doesn’t drive me if I am not at least 80% ok.💪 I need the head space / the sleep to keep going and I can only do it when my cup is full. I need to take care of myself not the just the people around me and the planet. An hour every day or just every other day, maybe a whole afternoon or a day off in a month and I feel like a different person who doesn’t get discouraged seeing others leaving supermarkets with plastic bags / coffee shops giving out single use cups even for those who are having them in the shop / plastic water bottle filled bins in parks (or on the grass).
How did you start your journey? What are the things you still planing on changing? And the ones which are now second nature? Any plans this year to reduce more of your impact?