Zero Waste Update

Long time readers know that I was a big advocate of zero waste, with weekly Wednesday posts all being catalogued here.  Most of my posts were when I lived alone, in the loft.  It seems timely to let you know how the zero waste warrior is going after more than a year living with the BF.

Naturally, things have changed.

Firstly, I no longer go to the butcher to buy meat in my own container.  We had such a large bill for groceries in our first month living together, there was no way I could swing the more expensive butcher’s prices.  Plus, I didn’t have the normal local butcher who knew me anymore (unless I wanted to drive or walk further).  So we shop at the big bag duopoly for under cost price meat.  There’s one thing I’m ashamed to admit and that is: the price does matter.

What about coffee? Well I’m recently become more committed to ensuring my daily (sigh) coffee addiction in taking my own cup. Alas, the keep cup I bought for the BF was too big for the machines.  And he’s not a remember-er, and I’m not a nagger.  So today I bought us both coffees and they were both in take away cups.  I diligently recycling the paper cup and the plastic lid after washing them.  It’s a step in the right direction…

The red one smells like cinnamon, the blue like yum, and the brown one like tar :( Haven't tried the other two.
The red one smells like cinnamon, the blue like yum, and the brown one like tar 🙁 Haven’t tried the other two.

I continue to buy solid shampoo bars from Lush, but the BF uses a bottle of shampoo from the duopoly.  The matching conditioner (apple flavour!) is more for my use.  I have had no luck with bulk conditioners for the coop or Lush.  And now my hair is longer I need conditioner 🙁

I continue to visit the food co-op, though much less regularly now that I don’t have one day off a fortnight.  I buy nuts there, as well as vinegar.  What else? Sometimes pasta.  Chia seeds.  I don’t buy their organic fruit and vege.  They are ugly.  And I’m that vain.  And cheap – back to cheap!

Bokashi bin
Bokashi bin

I still have normal people recycling, plastic recycling that go back to the duoploy bins, and compost that goes into my neighbourhood bins.  Gosh I am pleased for those, as my Bokashi composter spilt in my mother’s car and that ended their yard as the destination for organic matter.

I still weigh the bin bag when I take it out.  It’s not always on a Wednesday, but it still happens in the cover of the early morning, so there’s no one to laugh at me 🙂  Actually, the BF thought I’d stopped weighing it – seems I’d just gone stealth.

The reality is – life got in the way.  The fight isn’t worth it.  Compromise is important.  I still move trash from one bin to another under the sink, and I still take out ALL the various waste products.  And I’m ok with that.  I don’t want to let things end up in the wrong bin (by  the way, pleased as punch that my building of 13 apartments, everyone puts in recycling in without plastic bags – a big win in my heart and soul!)

So there’s the update – how are you in your various zero waste efforts?

11 Replies to “Zero Waste Update”

  1. Well, you're still doing well and glad you're going strong. Time becomes a precious commodity too. I bet your mother was pleased about the Bokasli spilling?! Not! Didn't you empty it before transporting?

    As to your stealthy weighing. I laughed but have to admit there are things I have taken the stealth route sometimes, like my lists. Partners don't have to know everything.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. wow! I feel even more fortunate that my husband is on board with me than I ever did…

    My husband grocery shops for us now…it helps with him feeling like he's getting to spend some cash…and I enjoy not having to do it. I still plan our weeks food out and he puts it in a spread sheet according to the layout of the store (he designed that).

    We make more things from scratch…however, I still buy my bar shampoo. I keep contemplating trying making my own but…hair is so important.

    I don't buy stuff out at convenience store and usually bring water canteen with me and fill up with water…although over the summer, I've had to splurge for gatorade a couple times this summer because I was that dehydrated…Hubby, well, a walk by his car will reveal convenience store hot dogs, a few fast food wrappers…and bottled water…some empty some full.

    Our trash has gone way down. I don't weigh but we take our recycles to the center about once a month (our complex doesn't recycle), which is mostly comprised of wine bottles, cans, yogurt containers, husbands water bottles and such (although, I use many of the containers for freezing leftovers). I do grate my own cheese and I try to buy from the deli by hubby doesn't like to stand in line…so it's block cheese from the dairy section wrapped in plastic.

    We get produce bags with our veggies and such…but then we use those bags for doggie walk bags. I even collect newspaper bags from friends.

    I also use 50# feed bags that my horse feed comes in as trash bags. Condo association doesn't care too much for it…but I'm not going to pay good money on plastic to put my trash in…to put in the trash. And I seal it with packing tape and sometimes if it's heavy, I'll make a twine handle for the trash guys. Very rarely is our trash heavy because all the heavy stuff is recycleable.

    There's no feminine products because I use all reusables…

    I make my own laundry soap so all of the trash from that endeavor is recyclable and I make enough to last about 6 months.

    I don't by souvenirs anymore because I take pictures…and really don't want or need the nick nacks.

    All gifts bought for others are consumable…usually wine.

    Some take a little more effort than others…and sometimes, I just have to look past my husbands lack of effort because it's not about him…it's about my effort. And I'm not always perfect…don't ask me about my office trash…ugh.

    1. I completely agree with you re-using plastic bags for trash bags, we use the grocery shopping bags, which are small, and the bin fits neatly under the sink. At a pinch, I also use the tough bags from parcels and other bags from other things (I've been knowing to reuse the toliet paper packaging!)

      I also make our laundry soap – must make more, we're running VERY low, but the soda comes in a plastic bag (that I send back to the grocery store's recycling program) and the soap in a cardboard box (at least!!).

      I'm collecting too many Chinese food containers, from Thai takeaway, which of course I want to reuse as well, but there's so many – it's a pile for washing up, but also the drawer is cluttered. I'd love to think of the optimal person to pass them onto…

      It's great you have your husband on board – I forgot other 'wins' with the BF – he uses the hankies without a complaint. He rinses recyclables without reminding… Many more things!

  3. You are still doing well and I think you can be incredibly proud to look back at how much waste you saved from landfill by doing the weigh-ins over that period. It doesn't 'un-do' your efforts even if you've run out of time for the weigh-ins.

    I'm still doing 'normal people' recycling (lol!) but I must admit I did not keep with the packaging-free meat. What I have done though is constantly send feed-back forms to shops on their waste practises. One of the Duopoly supermarkets actually responded on the over-packing of the online shopping. Now they send my online shop (and hopefully other people's) with many things loose-packed, no bags. Win!

    1. You're right – the past wins aren't un-won. And I'm still mindful of what I'm doing a lot of the time, paying more for oats at Coles (cause I needed them sooner than I could see myself going to the co-op) as they were the ones in the cardboard box.

      I must send in some feedback forms to the big companies! I did for a salt grinder recently – it wasn't refillable, they told me (Saxa) it was to keep the product fresh – WHAT A JOKE! My online shopping with Coles, despite weekly reminders, still use too many plastic bags. At least Woolworths advertises to give them back to your driver, and I hear Harris Farm use boxes (but don't do many 'normal' ingredients at a competitive price). We win where we can!

  4. Sounds like you're doing well! I've let some things go by the wayside as well (like trying to find a natural deodorant or non-plastic toothbrush). But it's all good – every little bit helps 🙂

    The compost spilling in your mom's car reminded me of the time I spilled maple syrup in my mom's car (she was helping me move and I ran out of boxes, so was holding the syrup container between my feet when she had to suddenly brake). Thank goodness I'm her child or I may never have been forgiven, haha. The stickiness never did come out completely . .

    1. Oh I have a non plastic toothbrush! It's bamboo – my co-op started selling them. Storing it in a glass caused the tip to start to blacken, so now I don't! The toothpaste residue has made the brush end a little whitened. Instead of being grossed out, it seems as things should be!

      Oh maple syrup – what a sad sad waste!! I didn't even think about the stickiness. The problem with the Bokashi is the pervasive odour! Nasty!! She even got the car detailed.

  5. I'm doing 'normal people' (like that Fiona!) recycling but our new communal bins do not accept plastic and so I have to take this to a depot myself. Because I'm lazy this certainly makes me think about buying anything in plastic.

  6. I think you're doing great, Sarah! I think you might have seen this video in which Beth Terry's partner admits he sometimes buys stuff wrapped in plastic and then transfers it to a reusable container before it goes into the house 🙂
    Rom is pretty good but he considers me the "expert" on recycling and hasn't learned the finer details of the system, so I always double-check that everything is sorted properly before pick-up day. I could grumble but I choose to focus on the fact it's usually 80% correct! And celebrate wins such as: he makes the laundry soap mix now!

    1. Ah yes I do remember the Mr Terry admission – and I think the key there was that Beth isn't so militant (which I know I could have been!)

      It's amazing how they slowly pick up our quirks and preferences, isn't it?

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