Sunday, 8 April 2018

Tying myself in knots: Why Zero Waste is a myth (but why we still have to try)

Greetings and salutations, my eco-conscious friends.  Do you ever feel overwhelmed by it all?

Trying to be a good person in a world that largely doesn't give a shit is hard.

When you want to buy things there are so many things to consider:

Is it vegan? Does it contain animal ingredients?
Is it cruelty free? Was it tested on animals? 
Does it contain harsh chemicals that disrupt hormones or are used in antifreeze?
What sort of packaging does it come in? Is it reusable? Or recyclable? 
How much does it cost? 

This is why I make so many things like tooth powder, moisturiser, make up and deodorant because I can't find something that meets all the above criteria. 

If it's food you also have to think about things like:
Food miles
Packaging (again)
Is it vegan? (again...animal products can sneak into products in ways you don't expect)
How was it grown? Is it organic?
How much does it cost?  

The problem is we are on an immensely tight budget. This is the life we have chosen and are happy to do so. We work less and so have lots of time to do the things we love, spend time together, be in nature, rest, read, relax, create and enjoy life. But it comes at the price of having to watch our pennies. 

So for us cost is *always* a factor. When you add in all the other things it can feel really overwhelming. Do you buy the organic apples if they come from New Zealand? What if  the only organic apples come in a non-recyclable plastic bag? 

If you can even afford organic. But you can't NOT afford to! I hear people cry. Well, our food budget is £30 a week. We don't drive. We don't have a farmer's market nearby. 

I get so sick of watching smug videos of Zero Waste Gits--I mean Vloggers, showing off their tiny jar of the last two years worth of garbage and going on and on and on about the great farmer's market and buying all organic produce and then popping over the Bulk Bin shop and bringing their own containers and then spending a ruddy fortune on a toothbrush made from bamboo. Since they didn't know which kind of bamboo toothbrush they wanted, they ordered 5 different expensive kinds before settling on the perfect one. They just spent £30 on toothbrushes. That could feed us for a week.

We don't live in a market town anymore like we did in England. Without a car, the supermarket is our only choice for food. The nearest Bulk bin shop is in Pontardawe. That's 30 miles. 

I found a Zero Waste Starter Kit for sale online. You got trendy, matchy-matchy things like a glass water bottle, stainless steel reusable container, bamboo cutlery, cloth napkin, reusable ceramic coffee cup in an organic cotton bag for £55. 


It just makes you feel overwhelmed like a deer in the headlights. It makes you think:
This is impossible.
I can't afford this.
I'll never be able to get all my rubbish in a small jar.
I might as well give up.

Then I gave myself a good talking to and said:
You are the Amazing Spidergrrl. you can do this.
You are the Queen of DIY.
You love to research and find a bargain. See what you can reduce (like plastic packaging) and still stay under budget. 
You can make stuff. You can sew.
Be more gentle with yourself. Progress not perfection. 
You already do things like always have a water bottle and carry reusable bags. You probably already do more than you realise. 
Just take some baby steps and keep adding in good things to your journey. 

So, I started to alter my google searches. I searched for things like Zero Waste Cheap and Zero Waste Budget and I found a Vlogger called Leafeco. 

This woman speaks my language. She has a great video about setting up your own Zero Waste Kit with stuff you probably already had. Suddenly, all my worries melted away. I can do this. I may not get to a little jar, but I can make better choices and not go into debt. 

Watch her video here and get inspired. 

So, I have made myself a DIY Zero Waste Kit out of stuff I already had and sewed myself something new to wrap my cutlery in as I wanted to improve on my previous attempt at a portable cutlery wrap.

You see? I already had a portable cutlery wrap! I am doing better than I thought.  I'm thinking of making some to sell in my Etsy shop. 

I'll blog about my Zero Waste Kit next time. . 

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