General

Why we are more low-waste than zero-waste

Zero Waste Low Waste The Growing Mum Pin

I am all for saving the planet and it is very important to waste less and send less to landfill. However, I very much doubt that our family’s waste will fit in one jar anytime soon – well, unless it’s a bin-sized jar! So what are the hurdles?

Availability of Shops

As far as I know, there’s only one zero-waste shop within walking distance of our home. They only sell beauty products like soap and shampoo bars. Travelling quite a few miles with bulky plastic containers and heavy glass jars doesn’t appeal. Then there’s the sustainability of driving because lugging all that on and off public transport, with a pram, would probably break me!

I choose products with less or no packaging whenever I can like fruits & veg, meat, soap, clothes to name a few. Supermarkets are definitely changing in this direction but there’s still a long way to go.

Bambooty cloth nappies, cloth wipes, breast pad, line drying, the growing mum
             Some of our swaps – so pretty and practical. Toddler’s nursery have started using our cloth wipes too.

Affordability

Personally, zero-waste sounds like it should be synonymous with frugal. Making your own products, growing your own veg and generally buying less. However, for the unskilled humans like me who can’t turn pallets into a slide regardless of how many videos we sit thorough, buying plastic-free alternatives can be more costly, especially for one-off items. Of course there are ways to mitigate costs like buying in bulk but that’s not possible for one-off items. In these situations, I chose durable plastic that can be passed on when we’re done.

Time

I’m very keen on making my own products, upcycling and reusing. But most of my ideas would involve buying new tools and learning new skills which take time that I don’t have. I would love to learn sewing so I could upcycle our clothes for our kids but by the time I’ve finished one item, they’d probably be teenagers! Typically what you save in money, you lose in time. We do buy quite a few things second-hand though which I think is a happy medium between the two.

As mentioned earlier, I am yet to find a shop that sells everything in the zero-waste category. This means shopping around quite a lot which I used to love doing but it turns out kids take up a lot of your time. So while I would love to find a shop that lets me scoop cereal into a tub and is toddler-proof (he will want to join in and decorating their floor in the process), I think we can cope with the cardboard-packaged ones for now.

 

I applaud those who can achieve a zero-waste lifestyle and we may get there one day. For now, we’ll continue to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible. Are you successfully living the zero-waste lifestyle?

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