As you might remember from this post, I fasted for the first time in my life this year. I tried to avoid waste as much as possible, because I wanted to do something good for the environment. Today, I want to share with you how this worked out for me, what I learned and what I’m going to do in the future.
The five rules
I want to start with the 5 rules- also called the 5 ‘R’s- of Zero Waste:
Rule number 1 sometimes seems to be the hardest- especially when it comes to refusing a present. I actually didn’t do that. I got some plastic wrapped sweets throughout the past few weeks and I don’t think it is necessary to hurt someone by refusing his or her present. Instead I just thanked them and told them about my experiment. I hope that this is enough and they will just stop giving me packaged stuff. If not, I will clearly communicate that I don’t want it…
Rule number 2 just happened automatically with shopping unpackaged food. I only bought, what we really needed as I haven’t had lots of containers to store the stuff. In addition, I got rid of a lot of unnecessary stuff, which makes me feel really free. Now I’m way more aware of what I own- no matter if it is clothes, cosmetics or general stuff- and this feels really good. The things I have, make me feel happy again.
Rules number 3 and 4 are also quite easy to put into practice. I think a lot of you already reuse and recycle their stuff. I did always sell, give away or donate my old clothes or turn a worn out shirt into a cleaning rag. Those are things that I grew up with and that I just want to focus on. As I already told you in my last post about this topic, I just reused my broken laundry net to make my produce bags. Of course these rules are also about reusable containers like glasses for example. I tried to get all of mine second hand and just asked everyone I know, if they have leftover jars. That way I got some really nice swing top jars for free.
Rule number 5 is a bit harder to put into practice, if you don’t have a garden. In my hometown we actually have a separate garbage can for organic waste, but I still think about getting a worm composting bin, which gives me the possibility to rot my food scraps on the terrace or even indoors. I think my plants would love to get some worm compost, which is a perfect natural fertilizer. I will definitely tell you more about it as soon as I get one. For further information on worm composting just click here.
What did I learn?
Regarding Easter, I learned that everything is possible. Communication is key- just like always. I really managed to get everything I needed for Easter package-free and nearly everything throughout lent. Of course it was kind of hard in the beginning and it required some work and time, but it’s worth it. As soon as you have found your sources, you will need the same amount of time for shopping that you needed before going zero waste.
I also learned to make compromises. Frozen products are impossible to get without packaging around here, but at least some organic supermarkets offer a lot of their frozen food packaged in cardboard. The sentence “It is not about perfection- it’s about making better choices.” really helped me a lot.
The most important lesson is to not let yourself be misled. I’m talking about people in your social surroundings, who devalue your efforts, as well as about not getting stuff done the way you wanted to. Each change is a long process, but every step in the right direction is a good one and not just a drop in the ocean.
brief outlook on the future
First things first: Lent is over, but I decided to definitely stick to the concept of zero waste grocery shopping. The reason is that it makes me happy to do something good for our planet with that little effort. Of course there is a lot of potential to make things better and I want to work on that.
Like I already mentioned above, I want to get a worm compost bin. Furthermore, I want to shop as sustainable as possible- especially when it comes to clothes- and I want to have a plastic-free bathroom in the long run, too. At the moment, I can’t imagine to live without my electric toothbrush yet 😉
How about you? Do you have any experience and advice on making zero waste changes? Please leave me a comment below and share your knowledge 🙂