Going Zero Waste
Gabriela is a highly articulate and vivacious writer, talented historian and meticulous researcher. She has
published articles in variety of magazines, journals and blogs on topics ranging from Hadrian’s Wall to the best
doughnut spots in London. Hailing from Warsaw, Gabriela has traveled a fair bit of the world and dreams of visiting
every country on Earth before 30. She loves all things glam, chic and fab but also proper geeky, old fashioned and
vintage. You can find her wandering the streets of London searching for a good story or on her way to explore a
If you haven’t seen a video starring a jar containing someone’s two years of waste along with its proud owner, you must’ve been hanging out on another planet. Going zero waste has been one of the most popular lifestyle trends of the second decade of 21st century. Don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but honestly - its right about time.
Regardless of the US president’s optimism in this matter, climate change is a fact.
Various (and much beloved) endangered species are moving dangerously close to the brink of extinction and many regions are running low on potable water supplies. Our very existence has a negative impact on the environment and numberless tons of waste being produced on a daily basis doesn’t make the task of maintaining a habitable environment particularly easy for our home planet. So unless you’re placing unjustified high hopes in NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, maybe it’s time to consider reducing your waste?
Going zero waste is quite a commitment. If you actually want to fit all your waste from the next two years in a middle sized jar, you have to be ready to change most of your everyday habits. Grocery shopping will never be the same again. The amount of useless plastic boxes, packaging and wraps that normally lands in your trolley would overfill the jar halfway through the second aisle. You can say goodbye to takeaways and ordering your favourite Chinese - it all comes in plastic boxes, right? Same with McDonalds, KFC, FYI. All you beloved cosmetics will also have to leave your bag and bathroom. And yes - hairspray is out of question.
I believe that most of us will agree that committing to a wasteless existence seems a bit challenging. Ideally we all want little turtles to enjoy their lives without worrying about choking on someone’s used straw, but who’d like to give up on all our guilty pleasures? Whether it’s a 5 a.m. cheeseburger (along with getting your fingers all sticky while trying to squeeze ketchup from that funny looking little sachets) or simply blowing half of your pay on High-End makeup (so painfully desirably packed in all these shiny little boxes!), we all have eco-unfriendly habits we don’t want to give up.
The good news is that we don’t have to. Every friendship can be toxic from both sides, and there’s no need to fixate on eco-friendly, no-waste lifestyle if you don’t feel like it. But it won’t hurt you to do a couple of nice gestures for our planet. There’s a bunch of things we can easily do in order to reduce our waste without walking an extra mile. Let’s focus on the 3 biggest turtle killers: plastic straws, plastic bags and toothbrushes.
Yes, you got it right: US alone produces 1 billion old toothbrushes a year that sum up to 50 million pounds of plastic.
Now imagine this entire crap landing in an ocean, decomposing to micro plastic and slowly floating around on its way to the Great Garbage Patch. I feel sorry for the turtles already, and we haven’t even got to the plastic bags and straws yet. The latter are supposed to be banned in the UK from 2019 on, but you can start changing the world right now and get yourself a reusable metal straw which will outlive not only you, but also our lovely turtles! Same with plastic bags: a fabric alternative will cost you less than £2 and can easily accompany you for the next couple of years. Toothbrush problem is also easy to solve: many companies offer a wooden alternative and some even offer subscription based delivery to your doorstep.
Whenever you find yourself getting rid of old clothes, shoes and accessories, simply donate them to your local Oxfam. Even your old furniture, electronic devices and all sorts of random objects can be used by someone else! If you have no idea what to do with them, join a local Facebook group and let the other members know about your trouble. Someone will surely be happy to make use of your old bathroom mirror. And once you’re on your phone, you can search for apps targeted at reducing food waste. London’s Too Good To Go and Karma allow you to buy food from restaurants for even as little as 30% of the normal price. The only catch is you have to order and pick up during a certain time slot, and all these delicious food that otherwise would be wasted goes straight to your belly. Local alternative should provide similar services in all UK bigger cities.
Just a little bit of effort from your side can contribute to making a big change in the longer run. You don’t have to go zero waste in order to help us make the world a greener (and cleaner) place. So you can still enjoy your eyelashes looking fly - just make sure you’ll be carrying your new mascara home in a biodegradable bag.