Monday, February 1, 2016

Going zero waste

Confession time.

Over the past couple of years I stopped thinking about how much rubbish we were chucking out each week. Caring about it went into my too-hard basket and I don't even know why.

If I had to guess, I'd say it had something to do with me feeling overwhelmed in my role parenting three kids. That thing people say about the leap from two to three children being bigger than the leap from one to two is so true.

I actually got rid of our cloth nappies and wipes (too stinky) and haven't been giving ANY thought to what plastic packaging our food and resources come in.

On the positive side, I have kept up with composting and recycling where possible, and grown the eensiest, weensiest vege garden you ever did see.

Last week I had a lightbulb moment though, after reading Madeleine's post about slow living at NZ Ecochick and clicking through to the various books and blogs she recommends.

I don't HAVE to live like the world has an endless supply of plastic and it doesn't matter what happens to it after I'm done with it.

After watching everything I could find by Zero Waste advocates Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer, I decided I wanted to try this Zero Waste thing. I think I've watched YouTube clips on both these gals before, but not been in the space to contemplate Zero Waste for my own life.

It helps that I was on holiday last week, at the beach, in a beautiful bach with beautiful views. (Check out the view from the herb garden I posted up top.)

It also helps that it's a New Year and I want to give it my best this year.

Last year was incredibly difficult and draining for me, but I was supported through it by several amazing women and I feel like I'm starting off 2016 in a much better head space.

Before I go any further, you might want to check out the definition of Zero Waste on Wikipedia, if it's an unknown term for you.

For me it's a goal to aspire to and I'm going to give it my best effort.

For now we are still producing our normal (but should it be normal?) amount of landfill waste because I'm using up what's in the house food-wise, and a lot of that is packaged in plastic. I'm going to try and clear out our pantry shelves as much as possible, over the coming weeks to use up what we already have before bringing in new food.

I will keep purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables as we need them though.

Speaking of, have you seen how many fruits and vegetables come packaged in plastic? Cherry tomatoes. Out. Telegraph cucumbers. Out. Even Good bananas have a big plastic Good tape around them. What's an environmentally conscious girl to do?

In time I'm going to become very familiar with what's available from the bulk bins at my local stores, and also what I can buy direct from the deli and butcher to bring home in my own containers.

Looking in our rubbish bin, nappies and wipes are a huge source of our trash. I usually put S in a night-time nappy, because we've been dealing with major bed-wetting problems that I didn't have the energy to deal with in the middle of the night (night after night). Tonight, however, I chucked the Brolly Sheet on her bed to save one nappy from the landfill.

I'm also going to try and give J more nappy-off time during the day, to see if that gets the ball rolling for toilet training.

Check this out...

While at the beach, I raided our bach's vegetable garden for lots of spinach and silverbeet, which I boiled up quickly, chopped finely and froze in little bundles so I could bring it home to Auckland (in a re-used plastic ziploc bag - I tossed up whether that was Zero Waste. I'm reusing. Tick. But it's plastic. Cross. But I plan to keep reusing it as long as I can. Tick.). Shout out to my mother-in-law for planting a vegetable garden at the bach!

Paul took the kids blackberry picking in the empty section next door. They loved it! And it was sweet comfort to me because I was standing there thinking, where am I going to get my berries from? The frozen ones all come in plastic bags. And then Paul rocks up with cups-full of sweet (free) blackberries. None of them made the trip home, sadly, as they were all gobbled up, but hopefully I can find somewhere to go berry picking in Auckland before the season is over.

This little guy could NOT get enough of the blackberries.

We got home from holiday yesterday and I immediately started decluttering. It's part of the process of going Zero Waste. It frees up space and time in your home, and it sends the things we don't need to be re-purposed elsewhere, so there's plenty out there for Zero Wasters to buy second hand.

A car boot load of clothes from me and the kids went to raise money for Child Cancer Research today. I call that a good day.


  1. Yay emma! Great to see you so keen again.

    1. Thanks Liz! I've felt so off my game - a million miles away from your lifestyle. You guys are amazing.

  2. Emma have u been to the avocado farm by otuataua stonefields? It Is council owned and u can pick the avo's for free. I took the kids and they loved it! Tama was up the tree shaking it (don't tell!) and brydie ran around collecting with me. It was super exciting for them. I think they fruit from Nov to march and there is a limit of 5 per person. Once we went and got nothing, but its worth the trip.

    1. That sounds amazing. I haven't been out there but will add it to my list to check out. Thanks Rebekah!


Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.