Today is our sixth day of living as a Zero Waste Household. I have completely changed my attitude to rubbish now and I am convinced that everyone should try being Zero Waste for a few days. I no longer have a disgusting smelly bin in the corner of my kitchen and I am never going back to that again. It’s absurd to complicate rubbish by mixing it when it is so clean and simple to keep it separated. I have two plastic bowls on my counter, one for paper and cardboard and the other for kitchen scraps which I empty last thing at night. I make sure not to overcompensate when I cook so that no food gets wasted. We’re eating a lot more healthily as most processed food comes in packaging. There are no biscuits, crisps or chocolate here, and it’s evident in the way that my children eat up their dinner. We are spending less and throwing away less. It just goes to show what a wasteful society we are.
As the house detoxes the “omniplastic” rises to the surface. I gave my fridge a good clean out and I had to throw away some packaging, so unfortunately my black bin won’t be 100% empty at the end of 2 weeks. My toddler wet the bed last night and I had completely forgotten that we were using Huggies Bed Mats which are plastic and paper. I’ve replaced these with a couple of towels, I know I could get a plastic sheet but I don’t want to consume further.
Evading a Mutiny
The other day someone turned up at the house with chocolate bars for the children and I couldn’t deny it to them once they had seen them. I have to tread a very fine line in order to avoid a mutiny. My son finds all aspects of recycling fascinating: separating rubbish, different coloured bins, rubbish lorries, magnets that pull out metals in recycling stations, etc. However he’s not so fond of the idea of sacrificing his favourite treats. I want this to be an educational experience and not an imposition, otherwise he will not be on board with it. I don’t want a repeat of him shouting “I hate Zero Waste!” all over the supermarket the other day when I explained that we would not be buying Oreos. I found him a more recyclable alternative and that evening we sat down and wrote a letter to the manufacturer of Oreos asking them to change the packaging. He said “they’re not going to listen to me” and while I thought he was probably right, I told him that if enough people asked them the same thing they would have to listen.
Yesterday I cheated, I took him to the shop, bought him some chocolate and threw the wrapper in the shop’s bin. He said “but that’s not Zero Waste, Mummy”, I never thought I would have heard him complain, but children never fail to surprise you!
Lessons from my Grandmother
It dawned on me this morning that I was going to have to learn to bake. Apart from one attempt at a cake, I’ve never felt the need before. Why would I when I can buy cakes in the supermarket ready made and nicely packaged? My mother and grandmother baked, but I am from a generation of consumers and convenience. Now I just need to find ingredients that don’t come in plastic.