Zero Waste when not living in a city

Hello there! Hope you are having an absolutely amazing day so far. If not, well, put on a happy song, do a little dance party by yourself, grab yourself something warm to drink  and then come back to read this new blog post.

Because today’s topic, hoho. Today… I want to talk zero waste. For the folks living under a rock and don’t know what zero waste is, well hello, welcome back to the world, here is a Wikipedia definition for you:

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. … Zero waste is more of a goal or ideal rather than a hard target.

There you go.

As your know, the crazy amount of trash and plastics have a huge impact on our planet, on our oceans, on animals and our health. And that’s why the zero waste movement came alive.

At the moment I am far from being zero waste. This is what I do:

  • I take my own cotton bags to the grocery shops and never ask/take a plastic bag
  • I don’t buy plastic bottles. I always take my own bottle with me and at home I use a filter
  • I buy mostly products that are glass containers, “ecotubes” or recycled plastic.
  • We use bamboo toilet paper
  • I use beeswax wraps and food huggers instead of plastic foil
  • I use eco friendly “lady” products (if you know what i mean)
  • I bring my own coffee mug and containers to take away
  • I never use plastic straws
  • I use natural toothpaste in a glass jar free of microplastics
  • I use natural cosmetics without microplastics

I have been wanting to reduce my waste for quite some time,  but I mostly stumble upon a problem regarding food packaging.

photo by @rawmanda

I don’t live in a city. I live in a village. And we don’t have zero waste bulk shops here. We don’t even have an organic food shop around. The nearest organic shop is a 30 minutes drive, so in total I have to drive an hour by car to shop organic food. Which makes no sense of course because I want to reduce my impact on the earth. When I run out of almond yoghurt I don’t want to drive that far. Another option is a local market. We have a small market where I could buy my veggies, but it is not organic. And I don’t want those chemicals in my diet. So no organic food around, but also no zero waste options. And that, if I might say, just bloody sucks.

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picture by camishh

Now I discovered a bulk store in Buggenhout (Belgium) called Tarra. It is a 15 min drive from here, 40 min bike ride. But man, do I wish I had an organic bulk store in my village so that I could just simply, you know… walk there.

BUT. Even if it’s not the easiest around here, I decided to go on this low waste journey. I don’t believe being fully zero waste is possible in our society, except if you remove yourself completely from it and become self-sustainable. But I will try to reduce and recycle my waste as much as I can.

If you are interested to finally give it a try as well and do this with me, YAY, you are awesome. Here a few quick tips:

  • Swap plastic bags for reusable ones
  • Always have a reusable water bottle with you
  • Bring reusable eating containers (and utensils) everywhere
  • Bring food and storage containers to shops. If you eat meat of fish, you can ask the butcher to weigh your box and put your meat in there. He/She might look irritated, but give them a big smile and inform them kindly what you’re doing. That way they come in contact with zero waste in a friendly way which will have a bigger impact on them
  • Cook more at home
  • Eat more whole foods (No processed foods = less packaging)
  • Make your own beauty and self-care products out of everyday ingredients
  • Make your own cleaning products
  • Buy secondhand or swap your items with others
  • Switch your plastic foil for beeswax wraps, silicon options, food huggers or containers
  • Switch your baking paper for silicon baking mats
  • Rinse your trash before recycling and recycle correctly. And compost your food waste.
  • Reuse glass containers/bottles from pastasaus, jams, passata or even wine. Wash them out, get the label off. And tadaah, they are ready to do bulk shopping with or for storage in your soon-to-be zero waste pantry. Yay!
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photo by Quotesletterbox
  • Ladies, we use in our life around 10 000 tampons/sanitary napkins. Yes you heard me right. So use reusable menstrual products. I will do a blog post about these. My apologies to my male readers, but hey, it’s not our fault, it’s nature, deal with it.
  • If you are a daily take-away coffee drinker, get yourself a reusable travel mug. If you get your dosis caffeine in a coffeeshop, then ask them to pour it into your mug instead of the “paper” cups. Fact: those cups are not made from strictly paper or plastic, it’s an in between, and because of that it can not be recycled. SO, don’t be fooled by thinking “oh it’s paper, it can be recycled”. NOP. Bring your own mug. “But it takes so much space in my bag”. Bad excuse, you have cups that are collapsible and you can just fold into a slim disc. Bam. Here I’ll even link one for you: Stojo.
  • Don’t use plastic straws. When you’re going out, just ask the bartender “Please don’t put a straw in my drink”. Sometimes they do forget your request. If you bring your own stainless steel straw and you say “Please don’t put a straw in my drink, I have my own” and you show him the straw, he is more likely to remember. Use those stainless steel straws also at home. Or just don’t use a straw. No baby no more.

SO. That’s it for now. I will implement these tips into my life. But remember. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think that’s the only way you can maintain this lifestyle. It is a trial and error process to change your habits and lifestyle. Don’t beat yourself up if you do have some trash, all the effort you do to reduce your waste is already amazing. Take it step by step.

I am pretty excited to share my experiences with you all in the coming weeks, months, and hopefully permanently.

ANNOUNCEMENT:

As you can see, my blog is now called ‘Dear Planet’, with my new fancy pants logo to go with it. Yay, exciting! Hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

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Let me know if you are going to try this low waste journey with me.
Talk to you soon!

Stay cosy,
Amber

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