The end of the first year of Zero Waste Living

As this is the last day of the year, I think it is appropriate to do a little bit of reflection on the year 2016 regarding our Zero Waste efforts.

When we started we did not think that we would go hard core on Zero Waste, we just decided to do a ‘little bit’. But then we started seeing waste and plastic everywhere and searched for and found zero waste alternatives for almost everything.

Researching zero waste produce and items in the beginning was time consuming. Now we know what we buy and where, it became our new routine and are new normal. Eg: not leaving the house without a cloth produce bag and shopping bag, in case I see something I want to buy, or pick up a bread roll on the go.

I thought I would never use homemade deodorant or mouthwash; vinegar to clean the windows and mirrors. Now, I would not like to use the ones from a normal supermarket anymore. If we have to buy something ready made like dishwasher detergent, we search for an environment friendly option with least packaging. I prefer to know that the ingredients are safe to use and homemade options save money too.

We have also learnt a lot about problems with plastic, problems with using products containing palm oil or micro-beads, so when it is possible we stay away from using them. We learnt a lot about fast fashion and how to avoid being in the cycle of it. We started to embrace second hand and hand made by us products. We have mended and fixed some of our items rather than throwing them out. Turns out that sewing is a very useful skill to have.

The things we are most proud of:

  • Our achievement of very little waste and with that unsubscribing from organised waste collection.
  • Being invited to give talks on Zero Waste Lifestyle
  • Being included in a TV program that will be broadcast in January.

The most challenging aspects of Zero Waste lifestyle:

  • In Ireland there are no Zero Waste shops and only very few shops would sell unpackaged dry foodstuff, such as pasta, lentils, chickpeas etc…Therefore it is sometimes impossible to buy certain products without packaging.
  • It can be difficult to be different. Sometimes we find ourselves in awkward situations like when you have to ask people to bring their baby’s dirty nappies home with them, because we don’t have a bin…
  • It can be annoying that you say ‘no straw with my drink, please’ and they surely bring one, or ‘I will have a sandwich for here, please’ and the person behind the counter wraps it anyway.

The most fun things:

  • Making lots of new friends with very similar set of values
  • Meeting ¬†Shia of Wasteland Rebel in Germany, she is a great inspiration
  • Not having to bring the bin out

We are quite happy how the year went and we are going to continue what we have been doing and aspire to produce even less waste. There are so much inspiration out there on Instagram, Facebook and in the world of Zero Waste bloggers.

Plans and upcoming events, fun challenges for the new year:

  • In March 2017 we are going to welcome Bea Johnson for a talk, here in Dublin. I am really looking forward to this.
  • In June we are going to get married and organising a low waste wedding is a challenge, but we are up for it!
  • My plan (not necessarily the whole family) is to embark on the journey of living with less, minimalism – if you like.
    • To aid this we are going to try and buy nothing new for a year. We probably have to make some exceptions with the wedding, ¬†whatever we need we will try and get second hand.
    • From tomorrow (1st January) Mikey and I are going to take part in Project 333. This is a Capsule wardrobe challenge where you can only wear 33 pieces of clothing for a 3 month period. More about this later.

So what are your plans for the New Year? Are you making any resolutions?

Happy New Year Everyone!!!