Our friend and sustainability enthusiast, Josephine Rawstorne shares with us her journey to less waste, and her top ten tips for living more sustainably.
Until June 2017 I was an over consumer but thanks to Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers and Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home I was inspired to take responsibility for my own environmental impact. Bea Johnson and her family have been living waste free since 2008, while Lauren Singer is in her twenties living in an apartment in New York and still managed to reduce four years of landfill trash to a medium size mason jar!
Inspired by these two women, and to tie in with Plastic Free July, I embarked on the 30 Day Zero Waste Challenge in order to help me take responsibility for my actions and reduce my environmental impact on the planet. This meant for one month I only had a small jam jar for my landfill trash and could only recycle cans, paper and glass ( I now recycle #1 plastic post Plastic Free July). I had to compost my food scraps in my worm farm and take my commercially compostable waste (this includes compostable packaging) to the actual plant so it would break down in the correct process.
My online following has evolved into an educational platform and I have been asked to do a few talks about the why and how of my Zero Waste lifestyle choice. Although when we think about the whole system, what I am doing is a drop in the ocean. But, taking responsibility for my impact on the environment is a start. I hope to keep inspiring my community and working with more industries to encourage better manufacturing practices to ensure products and packaging can be repaired/ reused/ recycled or composted at the end of their life.
Check out my top tips to help you get started on living with less waste:
Tip 1 - Reduce overall consumption. When you purchase something think about where the packaging and product will end up at the end of its life and ask yourself, do I really need this.
Tip 2 - Refilling, bulk & package free buying. Check out where your nearest bulk food store is. I have such fun taking my glass jars and reusable bags to get refilled for my weekly shop and overall it’s cheaper! Huckleberry stores are great for refills – find your nearest here.
Tip 3 - Home composting. Diverting your food scraps from landfill will help the planet reduce the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere. I started out with a Bokashi kit.
Tip 4 - Recycle right. Clean tins, cans, glass, #1 plastic and paper only. If a plastic container doesn’t have a number on it it won’t get recycled. If in doubt put it in landfill so you don’t contaminate valuable resources which are sold and recycled into the same product or something else rather than using virgin materials.
Tip 5 - If you can’t avoid single use plastic then collect it at home and take it to the large bins outside your local Huckleberry store. This at least keeps it out of landfill.
Tip 6 Only accept commercially compostable packaging and make sure it ends up at the commercial composting plant. If your workplace has an organic bin it’s very likely it’s being taken to the commercial composting plant.
Tip 7 - Educate yourself and ask questions. What is the source of the waste issues we face? Let your favourite brands know you’d like them to have better packaging that can be reused, repaired, composted or recycled. If you work in a corporate environment and want to recycle or compost food scraps then talk to your facilities or office manager about implementing an office recycling solutions in your office. I’d say Method bins are the best!
Tip 9 - Be the exception, your efforts do make a difference, and will encourage others around you, too.
Tip 10 - Collect your trash for one month in a glass jar and get a better idea of what you are throwing away so that you can begin to be more aware of what ends up going to waste.
Even if you just start with one of these tips, you might just inspire someone to do another -and the ripple effect begins! If I can do it, so can you!