Oh my, I’m really throwing myself into the deep end here, and I have no one to blame but myself.
My goal with this blog, is to record the journey that my wife and I go on as we try to become waste free. It will include my successes and failures and I hope it will give a genuine insight into the process of making these changes.
Now there are many variations of going waste free. Some people go all in, producing no waste or recycling at all. I wish I could be militant like that, but I know myself and I know that it will never happen. I’m instead going to focus on bringing my general waste output down to zero (or as close to) over time. I should also note that this is only within my person life, rather than my business life. While I would like for it to apply to both eventually, the latter will come after my personal endeavours.
But where did this idea come from? I had actually been flirting with it for quite awhile, but it finally came to a head when I decided to challenge some friends of mine to go alcohol and animal free for a month. Animal free involved not eating anything animal related, but instead eating solely plant based foods. They rightly asked me what I would do as a challenge. One suggested that I could eat meat for a month. You should have seen my eyes roll back. I almost died! Another suggested I should not talk for a month. I was fond of this idea until I started to wonder the real reason behind it. Finally, I realised that I could just challenge myself and my commitment to going zero waste was born.
Now I must admit, I’m pretty confident that I can do this overall; but I’m also very aware of how easy it is to relapse. Just after I came up with this challenge, guess what? I went out of my house and brought some goods at the shop. I created waste without even being fully aware of what I was doing. What a bunch of hanging baskets that was. After that, I certainly needed to regroup, though I did realise that it’s normal for it to happen. Change takes time. How long? I have no idea, but I think it’s very important when making these changes to go easy on yourself, and to try and not label yourself as one thing or another. Yes, my goal is to go zero waste at some point, but along the way, I’m still going to end up creating waste.
So let’s have a look at what I’ve done this week as my starting point:
- I gathered up all the empty containers in the house that I can use to go to a bulk food store. In my case, it’s the Bin Inn shops in New Zealand. I’m not exactly sure what I will be placing in those containers, but I’m armed and ready for battle.
- I started to think about the products that I buy that create far more waste than they should. For example, crisp packets, frozen food, and cereal packaging. Cereal packing might be one of the worst for me. There is both the plastic and the cardboard box that it comes in (I hate double packaging). Even herbs and spices create so much waste.
- I started to think about the challenge of toothpaste. Now that’s a hard one. How am I going to get toothpaste without creating waste? Watch this space.
At the moment, my wife and I create about one black bag of rubbish every three weeks or so. For some, this might be quite reasonable. It’s about 17 bags of rubbish a year, and around 866 bags every 50 years. But to me, it is a whole load of crap that I could stop right now if I wanted too.
There is also the question of recycling and how well we recycle. Should I be buying products that claim they can be recycled as an alternative to products that are thrown into the ground or burnt? I think it’s something I’ll need to explore as I go along this journey, as well as the other 100 questions that keep popping up. It’s certainly going to be a fluid transition where things may change from week to week, depending on the information I encounter. But I’m going to embrace it and take you along for the ride.
My next blog post will be based around how well I am able to bring my waste output down after the ‘big shop.’ I remember the days when Mum would go out for the big shop. She would come out of the supermarket with about 15 plastic bags in each hand, looking like a goalkeeper. Then, she’d walk those bad boys all the way home, suffering severe lacerations on the palms of her hands.
Wish me luck as I go onwards for both the betterment of myself and maybe the world.
Bio: Chris Chick is the name, accepting that I am 40 is never my game. I am a person who lives life on a day to day basis, realising the time is now, and now is the time, with a skip I my step. If you ever get the chance to meet me, please accept my apologies now, I hope I can make it up to you another time. As you can see, I do not take myself too seriously, but I do think deeply about life and purpose and whether what I am doing is positive in its own right. This is why I decided to challenge myself to the core and take seriously my impact on the world from a consumeristic standpoint. Fortunately I have always been a minimalist in practice, and would rather live out of a bag than a house. It is much easier to be content with life when you have little possessions, which I know is easier said than done for many people. I decided to try and go zero waste for two reasons, is it actually possible? and I wanted to experimentally have the background knowledge to actively engage people in conversation. All my previous conversations were theoretical and held little weight when coming up against retorts. Please join me on this practical and spiritual journey helping each other and the world one decision at a time.
Disclaimer: OPINION PIECE – The opinions expressed in this article may not necessarily reflect the views of OSOF.