It has been two weeks since I have started the Zero Waste Challenge and the most wonderful thing, apart from being good to the environment, has been coming across some wonderful zero waste bloggers. Including Kelly from Our Little Organic Life, who also takes part in the Zero Waste Challenge (this week she is looking at zero waste parenting).
Is zero waste easier and cheaper?
Bea Johnson, the creator of Zero Waste movement, says this lifestyle makes her life easier and cheaper. So far I must admit I have found this a real challenge. It’s mostly because this is all new to me so I have to think about everything I buy and where to buy package free items. But also because I had to go shopping 3 times instead of once, to buy fresh bread from baker – we go through a lot of bread because of Daddy’s mammoth lunches. A separate reason is my baby’s sleep regression, which makes me want to throw in a towel every time I am shopping. My sleep deprived brain is defending itself from any additional brain activity…
I have also ended up spending a bit more than we usually do, because of a trip to farmer’s market. It was great to have all this delicious produce, but £6 for a small punnet of tomatoes is beyond our budget. And it’s only there for a few hours on Sunday, so when I need more milk, or eggs or fresh vegetables I have to buy them elsewhere. On top of that, despite the high price tags a lot of the produce is not organic. I don’t think shopping at the farmer’s market will become a regular part of our zero waste efforts.
I have been a little over zealous in the first week of the challenge and hunger looked into our eyes, as I refused to buy anything in packaging. I think I need to take things a little slower, and until I work out where to buy package-less or make my own, I will buy some things in recyclable packaging. I do say ‘no’ to non-recyclable packaging.
Are we producing less rubbish?
Just like body gets rid of toxins at the beginning of fasting, in the same way we still have non-recyclable items which end up in our bin. I think it would be unrealistic to expect to have nothing to put into the bin after just 2 weeks into the challenge. Achieving zero waste lifestyle is a long term process and I don’t want to accelerate it too much and stress about it, as it might just make me want to drop it. As it is we have added about another 10 cm to our bin, and produced a nearly full 60 l recycling bin this week. All the food waste went to the food waste caddy provided by the council.
What we have done this week
We were supposed to receive our first Riverford fruit and veg box, but there has been a delay and we won’t have it until Friday. We also had an issue with the milkman. The delivery was meant to start on Monday, when it didn’t arrive I called up and was told a strange story of glass bottles shortage. At least that’s what I understood. In any case, I was assured our Thursday order of organic milk in glass bottles will arrive. Fingers crossed!
I am very happy to say that we have made our own ricotta cheese. I can’t believe how simple and quick it is! I’ll definitely be making more of it. All you need is milk, salt and lemon juice. The whole process takes about 30 minutes, but it’s mostly waiting for milk to heat up, curdle after adding the lemon juice and straining time. This website explains it in more detail.
We have also made ice lollies. This is one of my favourite recipes of all time. There are only three ingredients: banana, yoghurt and your choice of fruit. If the fruit is frozen you get instant ice cream! We like to pop the whizzed up mixture into these fish-shaped ice moulds*. It makes them more attractive then shop bought lollies, and so Big F is happy to eat them, even if his older cousins are licking away at brightly coloured sugary shop bought ice-lollies.I bought the mould last summer and even with rainy weather it gets used quite a lot, which makes up for the high price. Check out my Pinterest board for more healthy ice lolly recipes.
What’s the plan for next week – more zero waste ideas
After the success of ricotta I have decided to up my game and I have ordered some vegetarian rennet * to make mozarella. And the freeze dried cultures* arrived to make yoghurt. I enjoy seeing simple ingredients changing their form, it’s something I love about making bread. I am really intrigued how the humble milk will transform into two completely different states.
Talking cheese, I will head to my local Waitrose, as they have a cheese counter. Our stock of cheddar is running dangerously low! I’ve noticed to my horror that the packaging on the brand we usual buy is non-recyclable…
I am also looking at various bamboo toothbrushes*, as a biodegradable alternative to standard plastic ones. I quite like the idea of charcoal infused bristles. It’s supposed to help clean teeth in a very natural way.
And for Big F’s sake I have found some reusable stainless steel straws*. He really likes to use straws, I suppose all children do. Last time we went to the cafe in the park and he wanted a straw with his drink I told him they run out… These stainless steal reusable straws should solve the dilemma.
Questions about zero waste
As I have mentioned last week, ever since I have started the challenge I stopped buying organic produce, which I am not very happy about. I want my family to eat healthily and I believe that organic produce contributes to that. Unfortunately a lot of the organic fruit and veg comes in packaging, so for the sake of the challenge I can’t buy them.
This really made me think and so I have asked Eve, the co-founder of The Green Woman and a holder of Masters in Environmental Decision Making:
What is better for the environment: organic produce in packaging or non-organic produce without packaging?
Here is her answer:
“The simple answer is that you’re comparing apples and oranges 🙂 Is it better to deforest the earth or to kill the marine life? The pesticides used in industrial agriculture are not desirable and neither are the chemicals used in plastic or the mountains of plastic waste that are accumulating on our planet. If you are more concerned with the health effects on you as an individual then organic is clearly better (apples especially have high pesticide levels) but being more than a consumer is needed to push change on this one. Being vocal to businesses that we want neither is where we’re aiming for.”
Another question that I came to ask myself because of the challenge is:
What about the hair?
I usually just put it into the bathroom bin, which goes to landfill. But Bea Johnson’s jar of waste is not full of hair, so I guess there’s another way of dealing with it. And it turns out that hair, along with nail clippings and cotton buds is compostable. I will be writing off to my council to make sure I can put these things into the caddy with food waste, as we don’t have a possibility of making our own compost.
That’s it for this week. Do join me next Wednesday for our weekly update on the Zero Waste Challenge. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss the post!
PS. All links marked * are affiliate links. If you click and buy I will receive a small commission, though you won’t pay anymore. My blog is my source of income and if I want to continue writing all things green and ethical, rather than work with un-ethical companies with big marketing budgets, I need to include links in some of my posts. These are things I have personally tried and can recommend.