How much rubbish do you produce?

I’m about to take on a zero-waste week, but first I want to understand where my rubbish comes from.

After completing the Mean Bean Challenge I decided to set myself a new challenge. I’m about to take on a zero-waste week, but before diving in, I thought it would be interesting to spend a week collecting my daily rubbish to see what kind of things I actually waste.

I carried around a bag and soon accumulated quite a lot of rubbish – I was surprised to see it was mostly rubbish around food!

Guilty

I am useless at planning ahead. Lunch prepping for the week is not how I like to spend my Sunday night and I often resort to eating out, buying meal deals and snacks throughout the week – simply because I haven’t planned. But now with the rubbish in front of my eyes, it’s clear that so much of my rubbish is food packaging! 

Food waste

After seeing that most of my waste comes from food packaging, I also realised that I waste a lot of food as well. I will either need to start composting or figure out a way to use other bits of food that I might otherwise throw away – like using the rest of veg for soup. I need to plan ahead and prepare meals and snacks to bring to work.  This will massively reduce the waste that I produce and it will also save me money.

For an hour or so of my time, it’s a win-win situation.

Makeup

The next big thing in my waste bin was makeup wipes. I use one a day which amounts to seven makeup wipes a week. It made me wonder why I used these wipes instead of a flannel or cloth? I suppose I’ve been tricked into the marketing that sells smooth and hydrated skin by using these wipes, but it was also because they were on offer. Now I’ve got myself a flannel and some makeup remover which will be a good investment from now on.

Even though this may seem small and insignificant, it is important to remember scale. If I use a wipe every day, which I often do, that makes 365 wipes in a year, for one person. Let’s estimate that there are four million women living in London, if they all use a wipe once a day that would make 146,000,000 wipes thrown away in a year. Just from the female population of London.

So you can imagine, these little wipes do a lot of damage.

This makes me even more excited for my zero-waste week.

Disclaimer

This week will be a step into zero-waste but it cannot happen overnight.  I’m not going to start throwing out my shampoo/conditioner, deodorant or hairspray just yet. These are all changes which I will make in time after good research and testing. For now, this week I am focusing mostly on day-to-day products that I consume/buy such as food, beauty products, clothes and stationery.

Although the other day-to-day items that I use will need consideration to find more ethical products, I have started with simple alternatives in other areas like investing in buying a pack of 74% recycled pens.

So, my week ahead – no packaged meat, no plastic bottles, no meal deals and no makeup wipes.

This week is going to take careful planning.

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