| Ander Zavala – Waste Recycling Manager, Hackney Council, London |
Throughout my career, I’ve seen the sheer volume of trash and recyclable waste that people create, and what I’ve seen with my own eyes has inspired me to do something. At the time, I was standing on the balcony wearing a one-piece suit and a pair of goggles on the bridge of my nose, my eyes wide open as I watched the giant grabber unload the trash from the truck. So much rubbish, it’s really scary! I feel so small looking at the garbage we make. I didn’t want to be a garbage maker, so from then on, I decided to take action.
In 2018, I participated in the Zero Waste Week challenge and have stuck with it. I set myself a goal – to be trash-free throughout 2019. At the time, I posted the news on social media to push myself. I found some jars, replaced the old trash cans, and put every month’s rubbish in the jars, so that I knew what I was throwing away. In addition to this, I also reduced the amount of recyclable waste.
I measure my waste from a data perspective. At the end of 2019, I opened and weighed all the non-recyclable waste jars – I threw out a total of 5.72kg throughout 2019. My household averages only 0.11kg of waste per week compared to the 10kg of waste produced by the average London household. In other words, my household produces 99% less waste than the public average.
Every week, my family receives vegetables and fruits from local organic farms. As for the odds and ends, I usually go to the nearby corner shops, bulk markets and Turkish supermarkets to buy them. When I go shopping, I carry bags and other containers with me for cereal, flour, pasta, rice, tofu, sugar, coffee beans, lentils, and seasonings. As for shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, and toilet cleaner, I’d go for the refillable ones.
In the beginning, I had to explain it to people every time, but as time passed, people started to understand and agreed, “That’s a great idea!” , they are used to it. During the epidemic, the garbage in my house increased a little. After all, in this special period, there are not as many things that can be reused as usual.
A month’s worth of garbage from Ander Zavala’s house can fit in a small jar.
One of the biggest benefits of this new lifestyle for me is that I go to nearby stores more often. In the past, I used to go to the big supermarket and check out the self-checkout after shopping, but now, I feel that I have gained a lot by chatting with the store owner and the cashiers.
We also cook a lot more at home than we used to, especially for foods that are not available without packaging. I learned to make chapatis and naan that tasted even better than the ones you could get in a restaurant, and made one in minutes. In addition, we make homemade oat milk, which is not only easy, but also very economical. Of course, when I’m really busy, I’ll buy a pack of cookies or something.
I have to admit, though, that I can be a little bit sharp at times. For example, I’ll ask a friend at a party: “Why did you buy that non-recyclable thing?” Or, if I find bagged items at home, I can’t bear it. “What’s going on?” asked Zhu several times in a row, and I earned the nickname “Zero-Waste Police.” But fortunately, I quickly adjusted my mentality, and I became much more tolerant of myself and others.
Overall, we’ve saved a lot of money by making lifestyle changes, mainly due to less consumption, as we no longer buy optional things and spend our money on what we really need. Our diets have also become healthier because processed foods are on the table much less often.
Now, I still store my trash in clear jars because I know that if there is a big trash can in the house, people are going to use it.
| Kate Cody – Jazz Singer and Environmental Council Member |
We haven’t used a trash can for over three years. I have a small tin can in my kitchen, which is the only “trash can” my husband and I have. There was almost nothing in the tin save for the occasional few non-recyclable plastic bags.
We all try to take things into the house as little as possible, and usually only buy urgently needed or second-hand clothes, supplies, etc., so as to avoid unnecessary packaging. Reuse, reuse, recycle and compost is the way we always follow.
Every week, we receive a box of vegetables, mostly local seasonal produce. In my spare time, I dig for wild herbs, pick some nettle leaves or wild garlic. We grow our own vegetables at home, fresh and save money. Today, even the cracks in my floor tiles are full of rockets.
The Kate Cody family hasn’t used a trash can for over three years.
We also buy other foods in bulk from wholesalers such as pasta, rice and beans. Every other month, they deliver home. We will distribute what we receive to five other friends. The oats are packed in paper bags, each weighing ten kilograms. The toilet paper packaging is biodegradable and can be put directly into the compost after use. In addition, we also bought degradable dental floss specifically.
We use loofah instead of a regular sponge to wash the dishes, because loofah is made of natural materials and can be put into the compost after use. Although loofah is more expensive than sponge in terms of price, it has a relatively long use time, so the overall cost is not much different.
When you start cutting down on waste, you’ll find that some things you’ve thrown in the trash before you even thought about them can become very dazzling, and every time you see them, you’ll want to find something to replace them with. In other words, as long as you really put your mind to it, everything will be solved easily. One of the challenges I had was what to do with an old bike inner tube, and after considering several possibilities I ended up making it into a tool belt.
I didn’t want to throw the toothpaste tube in the landfill and started making my own toothpaste with bicarbonate, coconut oil, and peppermint oil. Although it is not the same as the toothpaste you bought, the effect is similar.
I never buy wrapping paper. For gifts for family and friends, I usually wrap them in scarves or tablecloths, and after opening them, they return the scarves or tablecloths to me. Recently, on a whim, I wrapped a gift for a friend in a newspaper with the recipe on it, explaining that the recipe in the newspaper was part of the gift, and they loved it.
I never use body wash when soap is available. A good bar of soap lasts much longer than body wash.
I replaced the kitchen paper with old pieces of cloth, and the makeup remover tissue can also be replaced with a small handkerchief or a small piece of cotton cloth, because these are washable.
I never miss what I gave up, because it has nothing to do with losing, on the contrary, giving up means gaining. Since I stopped wasting, I felt very satisfied, not only that, but I also gained a skill in making things. In addition, giving up also means that there are all the things you really need by your side. When I want to read a book, I will go to the library to borrow it. Although I sometimes have to wait for a while, I will cherish the harvest after waiting, just like a child who is looking forward to Christmas, when he receives a Christmas gift, he feels in his heart. The excitement has long driven away the anxiety of waiting.
As a jazz singer, I often “recycle” old songs, but for the rest of my life, I’ll try to recycle everything.
Cody’s homemade toothpaste, garden-grown hazelnuts, eco-friendly soaps and cleaning supplies.
| Claudi Williams – Workshop Manager, Stroud Beeswax Packaging |
The thought of plastic everywhere in my life made me so sick that, in 2016, I decided not to buy anything with plastic packaging for a year. For our family of four, such a decision is undoubtedly a huge challenge, but after a few months of hard work, the amount of waste in my house has dropped to almost zero, and we have adapted to this new life of no waste. Way.
At the beginning, it was really difficult, because we had to break the habit of buying whenever we wanted, but now, we will make a purchase plan, insist on cooking every day, and be responsible for the lunch we need to bring to work or school. convenient. Before we buy something, we always ask ourselves: “Do we really need this? How do we open the package? Can we make this ourselves? Can we buy
it second-hand, or can we borrow it?”
One benefit of packaged food is that we go to nearby stores and produce markets more often, and most of what we buy back is local, seasonal food, which not only shortens the food journey (i.e. the distance between the food production site and the consumer’s kitchen). ), also forming a virtuous circle.
When the Zero Waste Program first started, I researched all the cleaning supplies in my house, and I was amazed by the results. We all take it for granted that we have to use different cleaning products for different things, but in reality, almost everything can be done with baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and a bar of regular soap. So now, the only cleaning supplies at home are soap and brushes, we use vinegar to make sprays to clean floor tiles, mirrors and sinks, and baking soda to clean tea stains from cups, etc.
”Zero waste living” is actually not difficult, you just need to get the idea of consumption out of your head and look at what is available around you.
The Claudie Williams family’s waste has dropped to almost zero.
In addition, making things yourself is not as difficult as some people think, many things can be made with only some simple materials, and finding new solutions can also bring a sense of accomplishment. For example, when we needed wiper fluid, I found a particularly easy way to make it online that cost only a few bucks all the ingredients together; I also made my own toothpaste and deodorant, which only took five minutes to make Good; as for shampoo products, I usually buy pure natural refillable shampoo or environmentally friendly solid shampoo soap; I also order toilet paper from a specialized service provider, each time is 48 rolls, no plastic packaging, direct packaging Delivered in a cardboard box; I love herbal teas so I’ve been looking for loose teas, but one day it dawned on me that I have plants in my home garden that are fresh and affordable, much better than buying.
”Zero waste living” is actually not difficult, you just need to get the idea of consumption out of your head and look at what is available around you. I dried herbs like chamomile and mint, tied them up in bouquets and hung them upside down in the cupboard for winter.
This lifestyle has really changed me a lot, allowing me to live a minimalist life. In the past, every time I went to the supermarket, I would buy a lot of things without thinking, but now that I can distinguish between what I want and what I need, I feel that I have become more sensible in shopping. For me, every purchase is like a vote, and it has to be done with caution.