I am bursting with joy for having finally committed myself to reducing my everyday waste. In just two weeks, I’ve managed to start a composting system using a bokashi bucket and I’ve narrowed down products I can refill. More importantly, I’ve realized that we create complicated needs for ourselves.
As a society, we’ve never been more depressed, anxious, time-poor, in debt and obsessed with stuff. We long to have things and fill our space with designer clothing, expensive beauty products and bulky furniture. My collection of stuff spans from 1980’s to the present day. It’s a very small collection consisting of a few childhood photographs, dictionaries, books and small objects I’ve collected over time. I should add my Vitamix to this collection as I have no plans to ever part with that thing. When you move often, you quickly learn what you really love and need, and what you can do without. Rule that I follow is only have that which you can move on your own. Now that I am married, we have some furniture, but I am still very much anti dressers and side tables. With that said, I have been guilty of taking part in rapid consumerism and convenience. It’s time to do something that will guarantee a shift in my consumption.
The Art of Subtraction
I’ve always been an avid spring cleaner and I donate twice a year. There are no layers of clothes and shoes because for every new purchase I donate an item. This works to an extent, but I’ve been guilty of supporting consumerism and producing waste via takeaway containers, plastic bottles, beauty products, packaged fruit and veg, etc.
Moving to Australia really helped me reconnect with my love of open space and put a stop to mindless consumption. I took an Earth Carer’s course where emphasis was on reduce, reuse, recycle. This was my first official step towards reducing waste. Next, I said no to packaged fruit and veg and single use cups. Still, I was producing a lot of waste.
Now, I’ve adopted the Art of Subtraction. By learning to remove things, I am actually simplifying, reusing, and reducing. I refuse to enter shopping malls unless absolutely necessary, I refuse to buy packaged fruit and veg. Do you really need to put limes in a plastic container!!!! I carry my own containers when buying lunches, refilling water or having coffee.
There is still so much to learn and figure out. Where do I find ethically sourced clothing and shoes? Is making my own almond milk worse than buying it? Should I be using a kindle to avoid paper book copies? It seems there is a lot to consider, but I truly believe that #microchanges can translate into doing a lot better than doing nothing at all.
Where to start
- find out where you can purchase food in bulk: grains, flours, spices, tea, coffee, seeds, nuts, olive oil, peanut butter
- find where you can refill cleaning and hygiene products: soap, detergent, shampoo, conditioner
- some of the best and most eco friendly producers offer refills. I found mine at Manna Wholefoods although Planet Ark stores could be good too
- locate local producers and farmers’ markets: green produce plus refill on oils, eggs, and natural products
- commit to composting green waste: check out urban composting such as the bokashi method or start composting in your backyard
- I got a bokashi bucket from Bunnings, but would recommend that you check out other buckets that are bigger in size. Once my bucket is full, I will tip the fermented contents into the soil I have on my balcony
- refuse single use cups and water bottles
- for planet’s sake, go with reusable options
- things I don’t buy: paper towels, cooking stock, condiments, bottled drinks, straws, mouthwash
- in place of a mouthwash, I practice oil pulling – a process of swishing around coconut oil in my mouth before brushing my teeth
My current waste consists of recycled materials such as coconut milk cans, milk cartons, toilet paper rolls, miscellaneous paper statements, envelopes, and in the last two weeks I have filled a small bag with general waste. Also, paper towels when eating out. Grrrr got to get this one sorted.
There is a growing number of people that share the same views and are keen to live with less waste. I’d love to hear your approach to living simply and things you’ve implemented to make it work.