Fitting years worth of trash into a jar seems impossible don't you think? Especially on those days where you are too lazy to cook and get takeout. The food is individually wrapped in containers that are made out a mix of plastic and paper (so you can't even separately recycle them), the juice is in a plastic cup with a plastic lid and a plastic straw. Then you have paper tissues, plastic cutlery and possibly the empty takeaway coffee cup you have afterwards. That's a lot of trash for one meal right?
Since becoming more interested in sustainable fashion I noticed that I started looking at things, I would never think about twice, differently. When I was thinking about writing this article this got even more extreme. I walked into supermarkets and I noticed so much plastic in the fresh fruit & veg session - is it really necessary for avocados, kiwis etc to be placed into non-recyclable film/plastic containers no less?
I got an overwhelming sense of guilt for my ignorance in and complaicency with accepting that that's just the way things are.
I thought to myself I could never write this article, where would I even begin, how can I give people advice on how to produce less waste when I don't even know how - and most importantly, is that even possible?!
So I did what I always do when I don't know, I started an in-depth google investigation and came across Lauren Singer. The queen of zero waste who also owns the website and youtube channel Trash Is For Tossers.
She made everything seem a lot easier and actually fun. On a hype I made my own toothpaste according to her recipe, started butting trash I couldn't recycle into a jar and went out to buy an environmental toothbrush.
Where do you start? Let's break it up into categories:
The issue here is mostly packaging. Apart from that one energy oat package you can see in my jar which is made out of a non-recyclable film, the solution is to be very strict about not buying any packed fruits & veggies which I find very unnecessary. The bigger supermarkets do often have this option and if not there is always the farmers market, which is even better because it's organic, local and seasonal! You can even buy some organic cotton bags or use containers you already have to bring with you and fill up. In my experience the sellers are always very helpful and weigh the bag out for you before you will it so you don't pay extra! You can then store in containers in the fridge if necessary for food like tomatoes. Then there is the issue of compost, my council just recently introduced a bin for this so I found this part pretty easy considering I just had to buy biodegradable trash bags to throw the food into.
This one I personally found a little more tricky. If you walk into your bathroom right now you'll notice that everything is made out of plastic and in containers. It's a little harder because there is mostly liquids! I found that replacing liquid hand soap / body wash with a soap like the below was great and I am not going back on this one!
I have not mastered the trash-free makeup department but if you have suggestions I'd love to hear them so please let me know in the comments!
As mentioned above I also bought an environmental toothbrush that is almost fully biodegradable (I found it at my local health store and different ones might have other brands). Did you know that all of the toothbrushes you have used in your entire life are still on this earth? Scary.
I the proceeded to make my own toothpaste by Lauren's easy recipe by combining cold pressed coconut oil, baking soda and a few drops of food-grade essential oil. They recommend peppermint of course, but I only had lemon on hand and it as I wanted to try it first I didn't buy a new little bottle. I have to admit that I'm not 100% won over with the toothpaste and still like to squeeze the paste out of a tube (I use the Lavera classic & peppermint which is also natural and organic) but I feel like I'm not quite at the toothpaste out of a jar stage. I'm going to give it another go and add cinnamon essntial oil, because then I'll know I probably will brush my teeth 5 time a day ;)
Sorry if this is for the ladies only, but this one is important to share. I never realised how much trash is produced during those 5 day every month. And on top of that there is a whole bunch of issues connected with the non-organic cotton in terms of water usage, pesticides, farmer's unfair pay etc. I started looking into alternatives when the news about toxic shock syndrome started breaking and I got well scared. I just thought to myself, if there is options why risk it!!!
I started with organic tampons and then moved on to menstrual cups. GAME CHANGER. I am not joking this was a total revolution in my life. They are made out of medical-grade silicone and you can keep the same one for years and years. The greatest thing about them is that, unlike tampons, you can live them in for up to 12 hours, they collect everything instead of absorbing which is healthier because there is also fluids that are essential which would normally get absorbed too. When you need to empty it you just pull it out, empty it, quickly give it a rinse and put it back in. After your period is over you boil it in water for ten minutes to sterilise and that's it. IT'S THAT SIMPLE. It's really cost effective too, because you only spend about £15 on my OrganiCup which is easily repaid in 4/5 month of tampons and you can keep it for years! I find that so incredible!!
To recap, this was such a great learning experience and it has opened my eyes to be more aware about where all our trash destined for landfill comes from. I don't think I'm ready to goo 100% Lauren Singer, but I think that's okay it's about baby steps in the right direction, right? This was only an introduction and there is definitely more to be talked about, but I thought I'd share some of my initial finding / thoughts. Maybe I should make this a series..? Let me know what you think below x