Written by Hannah Cox, founder of betternotstop
Since discovering Minimalism, I focus on spending my money on experiences, not things. I’ve been consuming less, but I still felt I could be doing more. There was part of the puzzle missing.
Not consuming or buying things is one thing, but I still create so much mess.
I did some digging and discovered that average Brit throws away their own body weight in rubbish every 7 weeks. How could I define myself as a conscious consumer when my waste was so high?
It wasn’t just that I wasn’t recycling enough but out of the waste I did create, most couldn’t be recycled.
Plastic. Plastic everywhere.
I know how much of my food comes wrapped in plastic, but the more I researched into it – the more ridiculous it seemed.
The Independent revealed that a “plastic soup” twice the size of the US was floating around in the Pacific Ocean. It’s by no means the only landfill in the world, but it’s certainly the largest and is over 100 million tonnes. I can’t even comprehend that. I’d encourage you to have a look at the Ocean Cleanup, a brilliant business created by a 21 year old looking to clean up the mess we’ve collectively made.
Here are just two facts I unearthed:
At least one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution.
Plastic pollution causes at least 13 billion U.S. dollars in damage every year to industries that include fishing, shipping, and tourism
So not only would cutting down my waste save money (for the world, as well as me!) but also the environment. All positive so far right?
One of the reasons I want to travel the world is to discover the beauty of the planet. A planet which I appear to be destroying at a much faster rate than I should be.
I really think it’s so important to live by your values. That’s why I’ve taken the step to form a plan and take massive action to move towards zero waste.
To quote Laura Silver, “Zero Waste means that I do not produce any garbage. No sending anything to landfill, no throwing anything in a trash can, nothing. However, I will recycle and I will compost.’
If you are also interested in becoming zero waste, here’s a few things I’ll be doing to reduce mine you are welcome to try:
- Take a water bottle with me everywhere, to avoid buying additional plastic (plus it will save money)
- Carry a Keep Cup, so I can have hot drinks on the move without creating plastic waste
- Using my trusty travel spork so no plastic cutlery
- And an extra cloth bag in my rucksack to avoid plastic bags
- Avoid glass bottles with plastic lids, go for metal which can be recycled
- Avoid buying fruit or vegetable wrapped in plastic, instead of buying loose.
- Cooking food from scratch and less ready meals in plastic packaging
- Saying ‘no’ to straws in my drinks when I’m out
- Taking a packed lunch into work and snacks out with me, to avoid buying in plastic when out
- Replacing items like toiletries and cleaning products with zero waste alternatives
I’ll be documenting this in my YouTube and Newsletter so please follow me to see how I am getting on and if you have any further tips please let me know in the comments below.
The idea of going fully zero waste is scary and feels impossible when you see how much plastic is being produced and I wonder if any of you have started to think about ways you can reduce your own plastic use at home or when travelling?
Budgeting is making me more aware of what I am buying and it’s already working out cheaper to make a lot of meals from scratch, so this actually feels like a natural step.
Through my research I have learnt about ‘Zero Waste Home’, a family of four that creates little to no waste…
If a family can do it, I can. So, I took action. I’ve contacted the council to get a compost bin and found the local recycling centre. In the last month, with guests staying and visiting between four of us we made less than one big bag of rubbish!
This is now another part of my betternotstop journey. Check out how I got on in January!