As I watched my family open lots of Christmas presents covered in wrapping paper – although, don’t get me wrong, I love the spirit of Christmas – I didn’t like the waste aspect.
So I started thinking outside the box. By outside the box I mean no box, no wrapping paper and just presents, but ones that people actually NEED or WANT.
From that day forward I changed my life. This sounds more drastic than it actually was, but I broke the habit that we all have of throwing things away. I started buying my food in bulk at zero waste shops. I'm very lucky that London is full of shops such as As Nature Intended, Unpackaged at Planet Organic and bakeries that sell items in bulk.
I started taking a container everywhere so that if I wanted meat from the butchers or just a takeaway from Itsu I wouldn't use plastic packaging.
Carrying my own water bottle is also essential; we're lucky in the UK that the tap water is drinkable so we may as well take advantage!
MY ESSENTIALS ARE:
Cotton bag with drawstring
Reusable coffee cup
Reusable water bottle
If you buy the right products you can fit all of these in a small bag.
All of these little changes means that, believe it or not, I no longer have a need for a waste bin. I still have a recycling bin for things like bus tickets that I have to use or the occasional eBay purchase (usually to do with cameras) that I need for work, but apart from that a bin isn't necessary.
Living a zero waste lifestyle means I now see the world differently, with the amount of waste we produce on a daily basis easily avoidable.
One of the things that shocks most people is clothing; I never buy new clothes. There's an abundance of clothing produced all over the world, so I thought why buy new clothes when, if you look that little bit harder, you can have cheaper and just as nice second-hand clothes?
Being prepared is the key element of a zero waste lifestyle, as the scouts say "by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail".
QUESTIONS PEOPLE REGULARLY ASK ME:
How do you brush your teeth?
With a bamboo tooth brush , much nicer than plastic ones!
What do you use for toilet roll?
Who Gives a Crap. No, literally, it's a company called Who Gives a Crap. All of their packaging is biodegradable along with the toilet paper.
What do you use for shampoo?
I use Lush. They have a range of natural shampoo in soap bar form, which is a lot better for the fishes and a lot easier to take on holiday with you! Plus, there's no plastic packaging.
What do you snack on in the city?
Fruit, bread and veg are usually all unpackaged. I tend to eat those if I've forgotten my lunch or want a quick snack. This also means as a default I eat healthier and maintain a healthy weight without really thinking about it.
What do you use on your period?
I use a mooncup, a genius invention which may seem scary but it's actually very easy to use! Plus you can boil it clean after each cycle. I've not tried these yet but there are also pants that absorb your period that you just pop in the wash after use.
1. People thinking I'm crazy because I hand over Tupperware instead of just asking for a takeaway. I don't think people will ever get used to that!
2. Not planning ahead. It took me ages to get into the right mindset of thinking before I pack my bag for the day. I often have to think of certain scenarios which might need either cotton bags or containers.
3. In the beginning I missed things like chocolate and yogurt, my two loves in life. But after much exploring I found Dark Sugars,a chocolate shop that sells it in bulk, and I'm buying a yogurt maker!