I’ve always found it mind boggling that almost everything that goes into the bin will eventually end up as waste buried in the ground. I actually vividly remember playing SimCity as a tween and setting an area of land for landfill, and watching with horror as it filled up with horrible rubbish that I couldn’t move or delete and would forever be a part of my city. I was so angry with myself for not paying the extra money and building a recycling plant. Even more horrifying was the moment my 12 year old brain realised that’s what happens in the real world too. That certain things would forever be on the planet and that we shouldn’t be creating so much waste.
This might seem like fairly deep thoughts for a 12 year old, but believe me that wasn’t untypical for my brain. Now, if you haven’t ever played SimCity I would strongly advise you to get on that, as it’s an excellent game. Anyway, as much as I could keep talking about how much I used to play SimCity, I fear I’m digressing a little from the post I actually wanted to write, which is about reducing my waste.
I’m certainly not an expert in this by any means, and I still chuck far too much away, but I wanted to share some of the little changes I’ve made and some of the ones I’m planning on making to reduce waste this year.
Changes I’ve already made:
Reusable menstrual products
On average people who menstruate will use 11,000 disposable menstrual products throughout their reproductive life. Not only is that an awful lot of waste, but when taking into account the horrors of ‘luxury’ tax and the fact a lot of conventional products are bleached and treated with chemicals (not things I want near my vagina) – it seems to make sense considering alternative options. I’ve been using my beloved Mooncup for years and recently invested in some cloth pads for days when I feel like using something different.
I’ve had a lovely glass water bottle for ages and Dan recently bought me a pretty mint green reusable cup for hot drinks. The water bottle goes almost everywhere with me, which as well as the added bonus of me drinking more water and saving me money from not constantly buying drinks, has helped me to reduce waste. I know plastic bottles can be recycled but not using plastic bottles in the first place is much better for the environment as it cuts out all the resources and energy that go into making, transporting, selling, collecting and ultimately recycling the bottle . With the reusable hot drinks cup, if I don’t have it with me I just won’t buy the hot drink which acts as my self inflicted punishment for forgetting – which is a surprisingly effective way to make sure I remember it!
I read somewhere that the estimate for the number of toothbrushes that are thrown away each year in America alone is 85 million. Thinking about the whole planet, that’s a hell of a lot of toothbrushes going to landfill. I’ve recently bought us both toothbrushes from Humble they are made from bamboo which is biodegradable and the company also donate toothbrushes to children who are in need. It’s still waste, but at least it won’t be on the planet forever.
I’ve also just bought us some bamboo loo roll and tissues, which apparently grows 2 times faster than trees, produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide making it a more sustainable material that traditional loo roll and tissues. They haven’t arrived yet, but I’m eagerly awaiting them to see what they are like. Also yes, you read that correctly, I’m excited about loo roll what have I become?!
Next on the list for 2018:
Food and food packaging
The amount of waste we generate due to food packaging is ridiculous. I’m going to try and find a good, affordable greengrocer and buy more fruit and veg that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic. It probably won’t hurt to have a look at the amount of processed or convenience food we buy as well and think about ways to reduce that as it usually comes in a lot of packaging.
I also want to get better at meal planning and not buying more than we need, as far too frequently food has o be binned because it’s gone off. Id love us to compost, but we don’t have a garden and currently the local community composting schemes round where we live aren’t accepting new members. I’m going to attempt to find another composting solution though.
Generally trying to consume less
This one is pretty vague, but I know I buy a lot of things, and rather than looking at how I can donate or recycling things I need to not buy them in the first place. With clothes I want to try and make more informed choices with what I buy, and try to only buy things I love and know I’ll get a lot of use out of, as well as items that are good quality and will last a long time. With beauty I’ve been focusing on going cruelty free, but I realised recently a lot of the containers that toiletries come in can’t be recycled so I’m going to try and make a few swaps to see if this is something I can change.
What changes are you working towards for a less wasteful 2018?