One of my 12 challenges for this year was to go zero waste for one month. This is what I learned.
February was the month that I chose to exercise this challenge. Last year I went single use plastic free for a month and I learned so much! Although I’ve not completely eliminated single use plastic from my life, last year’s challenge taught me how to live without it for the most part. I hoped that my zero waste project would provide me with the same education.
At the beginning of my zero waste challenge, I researched practical swaps that I could incorporate into my daily life. This list really helped me to switch to eco-friendly items in a quick and easy fashion. As I stated in that post, it isn’t always the big changes that make the difference, although any positive swap is recommended, it’s the products we use in our everyday lives that need attention. Toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorants, makeup remover, water bottles - if we used ethical alternatives to these, we’d make a huge impact immediately! And of course, these are all practical and affordable swaps that we can all implement.
During my zero waste experience, I implemented almost all of the reusable items I’d researched beforehand. In addition to these, I used reusable cloths for washing up and cleaning. I took my own canvas shopping bag to the shops and to buy fruit and vegetables to save on plastic bags. I took the time to make homemade meals instead of buying convenience food to eliminate product packaging and I made good use of digital apps instead of printing and using paper.
Of course, every person is different and the swaps you’d need to make in your own personal life might not be the same as mine. I’d recommend making a list of what your daily life involves and working out how to make environmentally-friendly swaps accordingly. Moreover, what I want to emphasise is how much I’ve learned from this challenge and although it takes a bit of getting used to, it’s not as difficult as it sounds.
I see zero waste and plastic free challenges as forms of detoxes. When you embark upon a lifestyle overhaul, you usually start a strict diet in the beginning phase, which prompts you to rethink your normal habits. Consequently, this helps you to adopt better habits going forward. The same principle applies to these zero waste and plastic free projects. There will be times when complying with these practices is not entirely possible, but provided that you learn from your experiences and strive to be as eco-friendly as possible, we can all make a dramatic, positive difference!
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