For my first blog post, I wanted to talk about how I’ve been making small changes for the past year. When you’re starting off down the Zero Waste route, its important to remember that you don’t need to purge your house of all things plastic and go on a shopping spree to end all shopping sprees getting your plastic free coffee cups and toilet brushes.
The Zero Waste movement is about reducing your personal wastage and carbon footprint. If you got rid of everything in your house all at once you’d be sending it to landfill sooner then it would have originally. More then likely before it was ready to go. If you had a couple months of shaving cartridges left – don’t buy that safety razor just yet. Save yourself some money this month and get it when you’re ready.
Making small changes over time will help you become the to the Zero Waste Champion you want to be. Almost a year after I started on my journey, I’m still not perfect. But that’s alright, its not about perfection. It’s about trying.
One of the first things I did was ditch plastic shampoo bottles. I took myself down to Lush and bought myself my first shampoo bar. And my, was it lush (😏)… Since switching I have noticed my hair is stronger, cleaner for longer (as an oily person) and my scalp is flake free. Plus, I find it easier to use – rather then fiddling with a cap and dropping most of it on the shower floor cos water got in my eye and the bottle has turned into a snake slipping out my hands. Although I did have one learning curve – don’t leave the bar in the metal tin you can buy to go with it. If the bar doesn’t get a chance to dry out between uses, you’ll use too much and subsequently run out faster. I think I could have saved on one bar out of the FOUR I bought this year if I had just let them dry out properly. And yes, I said four bars this year. That’s all I bought. I wash my hair every two to three days depending on oil level and I am on my fourth bar currently. Compared to the bottle of shampoo and conditioner a MONTH I was getting through before – its been a game changer.
The next things I ditched were plastic straws, disposable coffee cups and plastic cutlery. It’s easy to say no to things like plastic straws and cutlery but as an avid coffee lover I needed a re-useable coffee cup to keep my indulges almost guilt free. I didn’t like the weight of the ceramic ones and plastic ones just didn’t make sense to me. So when I found a completely bio-degradable one made of bamboo fibre and resin, I snatched it up and made it mine. What’s more, most coffee shops now offer discounts when you bring in your own cup.
I also invested in re-useable cloths made of recycled material for the kitchen and beeswax wraps to replace cling film. Then there was handkerchiefs to reduce my tissue usage and flannels to replace the plastic scrubbing puffs I used in the shower.
Now, I’m hesitant to admit this but I went through I stage this year – where I didn’t… shave my legs. I know! Some of you may think that’s gross (while the rest of you shrug and proudly bare your unshaven pins to the world) but I ran out of the plastic razor cartridges I was using before and couldn’t find a local shop that sold the safety razors I wanted. So I stubbornly refused to buy anymore plastic razors and accepted my wild state. That was, until I found it… The Zero Waste shop in Narberth. It’s a small but perfect shop at the top of the high street. I was on a day out to the West Wales Wool Show and just happened to spot it. Going in I found what I needed – a box with safety razor, spare razor blades and shaving soap. The best £25 I spent that day (if you try and forget about the other gorgeous stuff I bought). My legs have never been happier. Using a safety razor isn’t that difficult – as long as you remember not to press down and let it glide over your skin.
What I found most difficult, was avoiding plastic in my food shopping. Everything was wrapped up in it. I couldn’t get away from it. Most of it isn’t even recyclable, even though I was doing my best to get only the recyclable option I found I was missing out on foods I love because my morals conflicted with them.
This became a great frustration for me. This infuriating lack of choice is what made me want to start my own zero waste business in Carmarthen. To offer something different – a unique shopping experience for people having the same issues and to inspire others to make changes as well. I’m definitely looking forward to filling up my jars and glass bottles with produce straight from my shop shelves.
Until then, I will keep making my small changes and moving towards my zero waste and sustainable goals. One step at a time.