Zero Waste Frustrations

Currently it feels like I’m being thwarted at every turn! I had a list of things I wanted to change, after finishing reading Bea Johnson’s book- Zero Waste Home. First on the list was to switch to milk in glass bottles, as we currently get through 2x 4 pint bottles a week on average and milk bottles make up a significant part of our waste.

I discovered that we would be able to get a milkman to deliver these. I looked into it all, decided we would pay the extra to have Organic milk delivered and was all set to make the change. For some reason, I decided to do a quick internet search on the subject and the first thing that came up- was that this supplier is shutting down its bottling plant due to lack of demand. Now I’m not surprised, unless you’re a zero waster, or just simply prefer the taste of milk from a glass bottle or non-homogenised milk, with the cream on top- then you’re unlikely to be buying milk the old-fashioned way! Customer comments revealed a dissatisfaction with this move, but some customers had already been switched and everyone would be within 2 years.

It seems like a waste of time making the change, if it is not sustainable- although potentially it could make a limited impact over the short-term (if our area hasn’t already been switched). I will, of course, write to the supplier explaining my predicament and encouraging them to change their plans. But they cite less than 4% of customer opting to buy their milk in glass bottles as unsustainable, who frankly can blame them? There do seem to be other suppliers that may supply milk in glass bottles direct to supermarkets, but I can’t locate that product anywhere locally. There aren’t any private dairies either, supplying milk in glass bottles.

OK, maybe I can’t make that change. But I was all set to buy loose tea instead of tea bags. But guess what, they all seem to come in plasticised foil packets, or cardboard boxes with plastic foil inside- doubly wasteful! Is the change worth it? Tea bags come in a cardboard box only (at least for the brand I buy), this seems better than opting into plastic products.

Now I know Bea says that this will take time, but it seems like our choices in the UK are much more limited than in the USA. I think that possibly the health and hygiene rules are much stricter and they will claim that the extra packaging protects us from health risks.

If anyone can help me out with sustainable options, please get in touch!

New directions for a new year

I was browsing my local library catalogue over the Christmas break and in searching terms around minimalism and simple living, this book came up- Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson.

Well, I have to say I’ve been devouring its contents and it has set me up with a new direction to take my minimalism in from 2015 onwards. Now I’ve read it, it makes absolute sense to me that a minimalist home should also be the kind of home that is looking into sustainable alternatives. Well, the whole book rang so many bells for me- it was fantastic! But it is quite clearly going to take some time to implement- just another another stage on my journey. But that’s good because I think the most sustainable changes are the ones that occur slowly, over time and are adopted into our lifestyle, habits and routines.

I hope to see multiple benefits from this venture, less products cluttering up my cupboards, more money in my pocket from not spending out on disposable items like kitchen roll, toilet roll, feminine hygiene products and cleaning products. (I’m not saying I will be adopting all of her examples, certainly not at first, but maybe over time). And of course, environmental benefits and not least health benefits. The last one is the one that intrigues me the most actually, as numerous followers of the Zero Waste Lifestyle claim that it has helped their Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As a sufferer of this awful condition and having tried to many treatments, lifestyle changes and more that promised the earth and delivered very little, if this does prove to be true- it could literally be revolutionary. Well, anything’s worth a shot in my book! I would have done it anyway, because I firmly believe we should be saving the environment.

I already wanted to decrease my reliance on the supermarkets and shop more locally. I grew some of my own vegetables last summer, with mixed levels of success because they were outdoors. So, having just acquired a greenhouse from a friend, I’m all set to become more self-sufficient over the next year!

So, this is what I’m starting to move towards- a zero waste, sustainable home. It’s going to happen gradually, as I use up the products I have and replace them with better alternatives. I have identified swapping from using antibacterial surface cleanser, toilet cleaners, rim blocks and Cif cream cleaner- to using bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar, as something I will be adopting early on. I found that my local chemist stocks medium sized cardboard boxes of bicarb for £1. I’m currently having a dilemma about where to buy white vinegar, as smaller bottles are available in glass, but larger plastic bottles are cheaper and not so environmentally sound! I’m going to stop buying kitchen roll and move to cloths. However, I’d like to use natural cloths and a lot of zero waste blogs are advocating the use of micro fibre which is made from petroleum and is therefore, a manmade fibre.

I will blog more about the details of the changes I am going to be making, otherwise you mind will be boggled if I put it all in one post! I’m excited to make this journey and I hope that some of you all join me in making small changes. I would love to hear where you buy your bulk goods, sans packaging because this is an area I’m struggling to find suppliers for. But I will keep investigating- it’s still early days.