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My first six months living zero waste

This is my first six months living zero waste. Below is all the rubbish I have produced from June 2014 - December 2014.


My first six months living zero waste

Way back at the end of June 2014 I was coming close to completing my first year of plastic free living. I wrote a blog post about my first year plastic free and reflected on what I had learnt. By the end of my first year I was not actively putting anything into the bin. What could not be recycled was put into a box and I would go through the contents every couple of weeks and find ways of recycling or reusing. As the first year living plastic free came to a close I realised that I was putting less and less into the box. So I casually told the Builder that I was going to try and be zero waste to which he replied “you pretty much live that way anyway, why not?”

So the last six months I have been actively living zero waste. What this essentially means is that I have sent nothing to landfill. And below are my results from June 2014 – December 2014.

My first six months living zero waste

The contents is a mix of items that cannot be recycled (yet) by the local recycling companies.
  • Receipts, plane tickets, a bus ticket, and baggage tags 
  • Scratchies 
  • Two tea sachets 
  • Three straws 
  • Two clothing tags 
  • Broken rubber band 
  • Cling film 
  • 4 medicine blister packs 
  • String with plastic bits on the end 
  • Staples 
  • Parts of my old makeup packaging that could not be recycled 
  • Two produce tags 
  • Stickers and plastic packing tape 
Going zero waste was easier than I thought it would be. But I do believe there are two reasons that made it easy for me. The first one is that I had been living plastic free and so the transition was a gentle natural step. The second is I live in a big city and have access to so many more tools that allow for this kind of life.

I have friends that live in the country town where I grew up and after talking to them I can understand how cushy I have it compared to small town living folk that want a similar lifestyle. It can be done but would require a lot more effort.

This is something I want to explore because I kinda feel like a fraud. While it is okay for me to type away about how successful living plastic free has been and how little trash I have produced in the last six months, the reality might not be that easy for everyone and I want to help provide solutions for the small town dwellers and not just us city living people that have access to bulk stores and the like.

Will I continue plastic free and zero waste living in 2015? You betcha! This lifestyle has become so deeply ingrained that I cannot imagine going back.

Do you think a plastic free or zero waste change is on the cards for you in 2015?

8 comments

  1. On your statement that it may be easier lifestyle as you live in the city, I think it is also easier as you are only one individual. Which bring me to my question. You write that you told the Builder that you would go waste free, and he says you pretty much already do. You. Not we. So, I'm curious, is this a couple lifestyle that you live, or is it just you?

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for the question. We live plastic free as a couple but zero waste was my own thing. I told him about it but did not ask him to live zero waste. I never asked him to become plastic free but after a couple months he decided too join the journey and loves it. He might come on the zero waste journey later on. We do our shopping together but i am the one who writes the shopping lists and makes the products we use. So he is living a semi zero waste life as a result of my choice. I hope that answers your question.

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  2. Hi Erin,

    going zero waste would simply not be possible for me due to the lack of resources you've mentioned in country areas. In the 80s I was virtually zero waste in Sydney as I had access to a wholefoods store that sold everything in bulk, including liquids like shampoo and cooking oil. From memory even the loo rolls were unwrapped. It's funny to reflect on it because it was just something I did - I don't think the term 'zero waste' even existed.

    I do feel very disappointed with the level of waste I now generate, but in order to have variety and nutrition for myself and the kids I do have to buy things with packaging. Also, things that can't be bought here sometimes need to be mail ordered, and in that case I try to ask for no plastic in the packaging - but I'm still generating some waste.

    I am making a mighty effort in the garden and have about a dozen fruit trees, nut trees and loads of vegetables and herbs. I'm aiming to bottle enough tomatoes to get us through the cold weather without buying any in tins so hopefully I'll have a good crop. I'll be freezing and drying some fruit too. I'm also dreaming about making my own pasta again. This won't be too hard while I'm on holidays, keeping it up once school and work are back on will be the challenge.

    Anyway, well done you! Although you say it's easier in the city, it's not 'easy' - it takes care and thought on a daily basis, and sometimes doing without convenience or what you want.

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Erin! I look forward to hearing about your zero waste adventures in 2015.

    Madeleine.x

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Madeline. I don't know if the term zero waste actual exists really. None of us are really zero wasters but more waste reducers.

      I am trying to think of ways that those in rural areas can create less waste. But alot of rural areas are very different. It would take very hard work, determination and like minded souls in your community to make it work. One advantage of a country life are bigger blocks of land and the ability to grow food like you are. It just takes time, effort, patience, trial and error. Could you freeze little pasta bundles once school starts up?

      I hope you had a great festive season and i look forward to engaging with you more this year :)

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  3. Congrats Erin!

    I'm looking forward to starting a more rigorous plastic and waste free year in 2015!

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    1. Thanks Nat! I am so happy for your plan to tackle plastic and waste this year. I love your Waste Less Challenge.

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  4. Wonderful results! I made few tries last year but for now it seems pretty hard! Anyway I definitely produce much less trash than before which is great! Thanks for sharing! I will definitely will continue with this until I reach the zero waste!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Greta, that is great news you are striving to produce less trash. Producing less trash is just as commendable as producing no trash. Every bit helps! x

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