Most helpful things I read were
"Don't go straight into it, spend some time planning how and what you are going to change" and "This is a journey towards zero waste, realistically it is not completely achievable for any of us" [this from Bea Johnson, the ZW guru]
I think that you have to start from where you are at. And I live in a small town in the south of England. I cannot find any bulk buy outlet near me - and when I looked online , the cost was prohibitive. Why pay 60% more for 10kg of flour, and struggle to store it, when I can get a small bag at lower unit price, in Lidl (and I can recycle the paper bag too) I am trying very hard to keep my pantry tidy, and decant goods into glass storage jars, or pretty tins**
..but unlike Bea, I do not want to use heavy glass jars to store things in my freezer. For a start, the containers themselves will take up too much volume - and furthermore, I already have a neat stack of plastic boxes which are efficient and pack well into the drawers.
I thought I was doing well buying my lovely Mont St Michel tin of biscuits - but inside, they are packed in threes in sealed plastic packets!
Then there is the whole medication thing, Like it or not, I am taking daily tablets which come in blister packs.
These mixed-material wrappings are so difficult to recycle. I did buy my fruit and veg on the market, and the cheery chappie [who sings little songs about 'every bowl a pound'] was happy to pour carrots, sweet potatoes and bananas straight into my cotton shoppers. But my yellow-stickered sausages in M&S had a plasticised paper wrapping.
Liz and I had a drink in the café at M&S - but I realised too late that they serve tea in non recyclable paper cups [I didn't have an alternative mug with me either] She said that whilst washable nappies are better for the environment [and much tidier now than the terry squares I used for her] once Rosie goes to nursery, she cannot use them. They do not have the staff or facilities to organise each child's personal nappy bucket - every baby must be in disposables.
Liz and I agreed that many aspects of the Zero Waste thing are down to personal organisation, and thinking ahead.
- keep the reusable coffee cup in your bag
- refuse the free pens that they give you at the conference, take one with you
- be diligent about sorting recyclable rubbish into the correct bin
- avoid food waste as much as possible
- think carefully about repairing items - and about replacing them only if you must
Bea Johnson is able to afford bulk buy goods and Farmers' Market produce - many of us are on much tighter budgets. I am happy to pay a premium for free range eggs, properly reared meat, and fair trade goods - but I am not so sure about some of the other items [bamboo toothbrushes, fancy steel lunchboxes...]
BJ has been criticised for her regular air travel. But she believes it is important that she and her children and husband visit her family in France each year. There is an incredible amount of waste when an airliner goes out of service [not to mention all the disposables used whilst it is in service] As she says, this is all about 'working towards' the goal - the efforts made in one area do offset the waste in another.
I have always been keep on repairing, reusing and recycling, for as long as I can remember [that probably comes from parents who lived through WW2, and managed on a very small income] but I shall be more careful about trying to refuse the stuff I do not need. I think that is the one point which I particularly need to work on. We will see what happens.
**don't you just love that tin of lobster bisque - Bob found it in the French Deli in Norwich when we were on holiday. I am saving it for a special treat!
I just found another British Zero Waste Site here with helpful links [much of Bea's stuff is not so accessible outside the USA]