Zero Waste as Wikipedia will tell you, is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of the life cycle of resources, so that all products are reused and ultimately no rubbish is sent to landfill or burnt. The approach encompasses more than simply eliminating waste through reuse and recycling but also aims to restructure production and distribution systems to prevent waste being created in the first place, for example in packaging and single-use items. Currently this type of complete circular waste management does not exist, but many people and communities are working towards this ideal.
I initially heard about the concept of Zero Waste on Anita Vandyke’s Rocket_Science Instagram. I loved the fact that she was an intelligent (previous aerospace engineer turned med student), creative Australian woman who was making such admiral changes in her own life and inspiring so many others around her. I also really liked that she posted a new Zero Waste tip every day, in keeping with a different theme each month.
Through her feed I heard about Lauren Singer’s inspiring journey to abolish trash in the States and via her YouTube videos I learned to make my own deodorant, toothpaste and many more beauty products (see this post for my favourites).
However, for me the single most important thing that keeps the Zero Waste at the front of my mind is my re-useable bamboo coffee cup. It’s so light, pretty and practical (with a silicone lid and heatproof grip) that I love to take it everywhere for my caffeine hit. And now that I’m adapting to the amount of khavi Finns drink (at 12kg pp per year they consume more coffee per capita than any other nation!), my keep cup gets a constant work out.
After use I wash the cup, shake it dry and store it in a reusable hessian bag to keep it clean and stop any remaining liquid getting on other things in my bag. With my cup I also include a second folded bag (in case I buy something on the way to or from work) and in summer a bamboo straw.
My next step towards zero waste came when I heard about the work of one of the founding advocates of the movement- Bea Johnson. She published Zero Waste Home in 2013, detailing her family’s journey towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Upon discovering her book, I immediately ordered it online. While it would have been more fitting to track down a second hand copy, I had recently moved to Finland and was yet to find a reliable source of English books, let alone second hand ones. I did however plan to pass this book on to a friend once I finished reading it.
The part bio, part DIY guide details the journey of her family of four towards zero waste, and how the lifestyle changes they implemented dramatically altered their life for the better. I definitely recommend the book to anyone interested in doing their bit for the planet, simplifying their life, re-focusing on the things that matter or just getting creative and crafty. You can watch a snapshot here.
It’s easy to keep our bathroom tidy with only a few Zero Waste toiletries and plants.
Finally, I’ve listed below several other people and sites that stand out as inspirations to me on this path. I hope you find something here that inspires you to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle 🙂
- Bianca at Zero Waste Path –> from Italy, based in the UK
- Andrea at Be Zero –> based in the States
- Lindsay at Treading My Own Path –> based in Australia
- Biome Stores for great recipes, ideas and zero waste supplies in Australia and online: http://www.biome.com.au/728-zero-waste
- The Wise House for supplies in the UK/Europe and an eco-conscious blog: https://www.thewisehouse.co.uk/blog/
I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experience with Zero Waste!