This is the first in a new series of articles about how to alter your life in ways that can help yourself and the world around you.
How to live a zero waste life!
I recently stumbled across an article, probably via Facebook, that showcased a woman who had her entire rubbish (“trash” if you are Americanised (Americanized if you are Americanised)), from the last two years, stored in a small jam jar. She had managed to change her life and essentially lived zero waste.
I was impressed by this. I have always considered myself to be a world-aware person but never someone that put too much effort into tackling the issues that we face, apart from a very token boycott of Nestlé products. To be honest, I was always the sort of person that said that individuals were unable to affect real change as this was the job of government and “bigger” concerns. However, I am starting to see that governments all around the world couldn’t really care less and will never actually do anything so perhaps it is time for us to give it a go.
This made me think about how we could make small changes in our household to maybe make a positive impact on the world. I decided to research the subject and here are the findings:
Refuse what you don’t need.
Say no to heavily packaged foods from the supermarket. If possible when buying fruits and veg, pick a paper bag, most supermarkets offer both plastic and paper. The best option would be to shop at the farmer’s market λαϊκι.
Say no to straws! Most of the time we don’t even use them and they are incredibly difficult to recycle.
Say no to wasteful gifts. Instead, ask for/give consumable or homemade gifts. Think event tickets, dinner reservations etc.
Reduce what you do need.
Take your own bags to the supermarket. Don’t use the disposable bags they give you. This is by far one of the easiest things and yet most people don’t do it.
Fix products instead of buying new. Clothes are a good example, take old clothes to be fixed rather than throw away and buy new.
Write a shopping list. This may seem odd but if you go shopping with a list of things you need then you are less likely to buy a whole load of stuff that you don’t!
Reuse what you can.
Use your own coffee cup when you get your coffee in the morning. In Greece, this would make a big difference!
Use cloth towels instead of paper. This will reduce the amount of waste and save you money in the long run. This is also true for napkins!
Give away old clothes instead of throwing away. There are many charities in Greece that would welcome your old clothes.
Recycle what you can.
This may not be too easy in Athens depending on where you live. However, there are recycling containers dotted around the city.
Join the Facebook group: Buy, Sell, Trade, Giveaway – Athens. Sell or give your old items and maybe find something new for yourself!
Use your leftovers. Check out WeHateToWaste.com for recipe suggestions! Anything that isn’t reusable can be given to the street animals.
Reorganising what you have.
We can take our foodstuffs and store them in mason jars. We can then purchase refills instead of newly packages, pastas, spices etc. Think of the amount of waste packaging we throw away!
Bulk buy products. Buy large amounts of cleaning and health products and then refill your smaller bottles.
Simplify cleaning products. Instead of buying the chemically questionable products, you can actually clean most of your house using just baking powder and white vinegar. Check out this site for more info!
We are not suggesting a massive overhaul of the way we live but maybe keeping this topic in mind and trying out a few of these suggestions will make a change to the world. The other great thing is that many of these suggestions will also help you save money!
Let us know if you have any other suggestions!