I have a confession to make. Although I’ve been preaching about responsible waste management for the last four years, it was only in September last year that I adopted a zero waste lifestyle in my home environment. There, I said it. Feels good to have that weight off my shoulders. For all those who assumed that I’d been living this way for longer I apologise for the disappointment and vouch to make it up to you by sharing my first hand account of the ZW implementation process.
Looking back it puzzles me that, even though I recycled, made EcoBricks and composted our food waste, I still had to walk the smelly trash walk of shame each Monday evening with bin juice spilling on my toes.
I’d stumped across a zero waste group on social media and it made me realise that my (lazy) attitude was the only thing that stood in my way. Inspired, I realised that a fresh system would be needed and, armed with a proactive attitude, that this really shouldn’t be a difficult challenge.
My fiancé will tell you that my timing for embarking on this challenge could not have been worse. Not only was I due to leave town on a business trip on day 2 of the challenge, but I had arranged to host (a generous term considering the guests cooked the majority of the meal) a birthday dinner on day 1. My popularity ranking was dropping steadily. Breaking the ‘week nights are for focusing rule’ could have been forgiven if the mountain of dishes hadn't hidden the freshly adorned zero waste instructions. Needless to say it’s best to ensure that more than one household members are on board before embarking.
8 months after starting out I’ve taken some time to reflect back in order to make this fool-proof seven step guide to retrofitting your home into a Zero Waste temple.
‘Just throw it away’ is an unfortunate yet common phrase muttered by many when regarding unwanted/inconvenient items. Ever stopped to think where ‘away’ is? As waste warrior Russell Maier so elegantly says ‘when you throw something away you lose control over it’ (and its resultant harming effect on the environment). With the alarming state of our landscapes and oceans it becomes difficult to deny that the way we treat our little pieces of earth affects the rest of the planet. This realisation lead to some self reflection, ‘am I really doing all that I can to protect the environment?’ Probably not. But implementing a zero waste lifestyle feels like a step in the right direction and now that I’ve made it, the next ones (zero waste on the road, igniting organisations towards ZW, taking the Negative Waste Pledge) seem less daunting.