I hadn’t heard about Zero Waste Week until this year… it’s been going for a few years now, and I’m really happy to be jumping on that very important band wagon!
As they say on their website,
“The term ‘Zero waste’ is an inaccurate Neologism that in most cases expresses an unrealistic ideal. However, the concept of Zero Waste is ethically and morally driven through a shared understanding among subscribers for the need to reduce waste as far as possible to Zero in order to maintain environmental sustainability.”
… Couldn’t have put it better myself, so I won’t even try! :-)
It’s all about small changes having big impacts, worldwide, whether you are aiming to for the title of “Zero Waste” on behalf of yourself, your family, your business or a whole country! I have a constant nagging sort of angst about the impact of my waste on the environment, and as far as I possibly can within my own personal and financial limitations, I do a few some small things A LOT, in the hope that it will already be having some small impact.
And I hope too that my son, Finn, will understand that taking these sustainable choices are part of a moral code that I am hoping he will share. By it being normal to recycle everyday, or to drink our water from a jam jar, or to put our food waste onto the compost heap, or to grow our own vegetables, I hope that he and his generation will see these as “ordinary” and will go on to build new and imaginative ways as he grows to develop “extraordinary” ways to live sustainably on this planet.
I make lots of daily efforts to raise a Baby Zero Waster :-) and here are a few that I thought that I’d share with you, in case they spark an idea or thought that could work with you or for your family.
1. USE, AND USE AGAIN!
- Eating and drinking on the move - we have a range of reusable items that we use and use over and over, and keep with us for every trip. This Bamboo flask is great for a tea on a long journey, and this wheat straw mug is perfect for a stroll with the dog or waiting in the queue at school / nursery pick up time. And this biodegradable cup is great from training little ones to drink from a cup. We wouldn’t be without our Mummy Flask and Finny Flasks now! We love this lunchbox for packing our sandwiches in without the need for any wraps. When we do need wraps for other food items, we use vegan wax wraps, and for all other picnic type food we use a combination of reusable cutlery and recycled jam jars.
- Wipe it! I can’t be without my washable face / hand / bum wipes (I have different wipes for different occasions!), so much so that if we are going to stay away from home anywhere, I take them with us. Not only do they work better in wipe ‘action’ terms, they also can be washed and used again until they fall apart! (this has yet to happen!). Bum wipes are a must for the first 3-ish years that babies / toddlers are using nappies and doing potty training; they are perfectly sanitary if you sanitise well in a bucket overnight, then hot wash, and over the years must have saved me (and the environment) so much, compared to the disposable baby wipe alternative!
- Keep using it! We also have a whole load of other reusable baby, kitchen and lifestyle items that we use everyday, which reduce our plastic footprint, such as ….
2. END FOOD WASTE!
- “Knock It Out!” - Minimize food waste by storing in recycled jam jars in the fridge. I have a shelf specifically with items that need to be used in the next day or so, so that at a quick glance I know (in the words of my Dad) what needs to be “knocked out” :-)
- Pets! Give good fish or meat to the dog! Our dog Geoffrey gets some lovely bits of salmon and brown rice for his dinner, if we have any waste! And things like carrot greens were great when we had rabbits. You can’t give all food waste to pets, and you have to be selective, but it’s a great way to fill up another hungry belly and avoid food going into landfill
- Composting - Food waste is unavoidable with a weaning baby or a fussy toddler, and I have found this particularly to be the case during the baby-led weaning phase. Loads of it ends up on the floor! Anything that ends up on the floor, goes into our food waste bin and then into our home composter (we now have a Mini HOTBIN, which gives you compost super fast), and the compost is then used in our garden.
- Breast Feeding!! One of the loveliest ways to raise a Zero Waste baby is to breast feed. I feel lucky that I was able to with my son.
- Crops - We are lucky to have outdoor space enough for growing fruit and vegetables, herbs and salad all year round. Even a shelf with some herbs is a great way to start zero wasting. It becomes more sustainable each year of doing this, because each year you can collect seeds from crops, and they can be used for the next season, without using fuel to go the garden centre, or little foil envelopes for the seed packets! And I often gift seeds that I have picked as presents for birthdays and Christmas too. Using the compost from food waste (above) is a pretty nice way to prepare a nutrient rich soil for your crops; there’s no need then to go to the expense of getting loads of plastic bags of garden centre compost.
- Solar energy - We are also REALLY lucky to have solar panels, with a feed in tariff; best to use the washing machine or dishwasher during the day when the sun is out, and it's also a good excuse to not do any cleaning in the evening when you're exhausted anyway!
4. BIODEGRADABLE & COMPOSTABLE
- Biodegradable Products! There are so many new and exciting products now on the market, that are biodegradable or compostable, and some will surprise you. For example, you can now find a totally biodegradable potty, which is made from vegetable based bio-plastic. It's made from renewable resources, and after it has come to the end of its life it will return to the earth without polluting it. At first glance it is completely identical to traditional plastic, what changes is its chemical composition. At the end of their lifetime, this potty and also these lovely biodegradable cutlery and cup sets will fall back into their basic components, not releasing toxins and polluting substances into our environment. These components will return to nature to nourish the crops from which the process originates.
Some other examples of beautiful biodegradable baby products, include:
5. GO PLASTIC FREE!
I write all about that in my post here, about Plastic Free July :-) have a read
And what else?...
Zero Waste in business - what does Plastic Free Baby as a retailer do toward Zero Waste goals?
Here’s also how I contribute as toward being Zero Waste as a business:
I invest SO much of my time researching products that are environment positive, in terms of the product itself, the businesses that disseminate them, the materials they are made from and the packaging that they are sent in.
Products coming directly from Plastic Free Baby are all recycled boxes, taped with compostable paper tape.
All flyers are made from recycled card using vegetable based inks that, when composted, do not leach any harmful chemicals out in the composting process
Any printing that needs to be done is done on A4 paper that has already been used on one side
All paper and cardboard that cannot be re-used goes into my HOTBIN Mini @hotbincomposting composter, and the compost is used to grow veg in my garden
Are you a small business? Or a family finding their way with #zerowastegoals ? What little (or big!) things do you do?
Sign up with your pledge for Zero Waste Week via www.zerowasteweek.co.uk where you can also sign up for their newsletter with lots more Zero Waste ideas and tips.
Happy Zero Waste Week everyone :-)