30 Day Zero Waste Challenge – Week 1

Well hello!!!! It’s been a red hot minute since I’ve blogged but I promise this post is 100% worth the effort it took to dust off my writing brain! 

Since the beginning of this year I have been becoming more and more intrigued and motivated towards a sustainable lifestyle. And before I knew it, lots of reading and research lead me down this amazing and enlightening rabbit-hole called zero waste!!

What exactly is zero waste?

Simply the aim is to send nothing to a landfill. 

Say whhhhat!! I hear you say? I know it may sound completely and utterly impossible but by being deliberate in our purchases we have been able to get pretty close some weeks. We started by reducing what we need, reusing as much as we can, sending some items to be recycled, and composting what we cannot, it all adds up to make a massive difference. Not to mention that mental satisfaction of such a light bin on bin-day!

But don’t discount yourself if you aren’t there yet. A quote doing the rounds of social media says “we don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people trying it imperfectly”!! So here we go! I have created a challenge with 30 days of simple, easy steps you can make to start on your zero waste journey. For each household it will look completely different but just doing a little bit goes a long long way!

And the perfect thing about this challenge is that you can start it any month! We’re starting ours in April and we’d love you to join us. Need a cheerleader throughout your journey? Tag me on instagram @lifewithbess, and I’ll be in your corner championing you on.

Let’s break down the first week!!!

1 | Work out your trash plan

This was one of the most important steps for us when we started our zero waste journey. You need to analyse what waste your house is actually producing so you can see where to start to make changes … with impact. So throughout the first week, collect ALL of your rubbish so we can do an audit at the beginning of week 2.

Step one is to obviously empty all of the bins in your house so you are starting fresh. I then planned to organise all of my rubbish into 4 different containers – trash, recycling, soft plastics and compost/worm farm food. Trust me this will make next weeks audit so much easier! Hint – put your meat scraps or anything that might get on the nose by the next week in the freezer. For anything that maybe a little dirtier like nappies, probably best to just put them straight in the bin and keep an eye on how many you use.

Quick note about soft plastics recycling… it was a game changer for us at the start, still is really. This is a great website talking about what it is and what you can recycle as a part of this program and the all important where you can drop it off!

2 | Put together your zero waste kit

Collect that reusable coffee cup, shopping bag and stainless steel straw that you keep forgetting to take with you when you go to brunch all together in one place that you can easily grab on your way out the door.

Other ideas for your zero waste kit include – a reusable container for any leftovers, produce bags for shopping, a cloth napkin and a set of cutlery or chopsticks.

I personally think these tote bags are pretty cute… but I might be biased hehe.

3 | Put those reusable shopping bags in your car

…and commit to turn the car around if you forget them even if you are on your way to do the grocery shopping!! Either that or you can only buy as much as you can carry. This step is a commitment to yourself more than anything. I have two reusable bags in my handbag at all times for those little trips to the shops here and there. But making sure you don’t cave to buying the plastic bags at the check-out can make a massive difference.

4 | Start a compost bin or a worm farm

Food scraps can take up a lot of space in your rubbish if you don’t know what else to do with it except throw it out. But we found as soon as we started a compost bin and a worm farm earlier this year, that our food waste dropped to pretty much non-existent. Compost bins are so easy to use and maintain… pretty much just chuck it in and forget. There are some amazing resources about layering etc if you want to get super technical. Just remember… no bread, grains or meat in the compost bin because it will attract mice and ain’t nobody want that!!!

And worm farms are absolutely great for kids (and big kids like my hubby). Plus you get amazing worm juice as liquid fertiliser and rich soil to use on your garden beds… for FREE! Just remember to water the worm juice down before applying directly to the plants! (Lesson learned)

And if you don’t have space, time or resources for a compost bin or a worm farm, there is this amazing app/website called share waste where you can donate your food scraps etc to people in your community who have compost bins, worm farms and even chickens.

5 | Freeze your veggies scraps to make stock

I know, I know, I just said we are going to compost all of our food waste but all those ‘scraps’ can have a second life in your own kitchen. All those random tops and end of carrots, the celery leaves etc etc just chuck in a large container in your freezer. And while you are at it… freeze those chicken bones and bacon rinds to make chicken stock as well. And then when that container is full, just stick it all in a slow cooker and let it boil for 12 hours.

I got this tip from the amazing Sarah Wilson! And it makes so much more sense to make stock from your scraps rather than to ‘waste’ the good stuff.

6 | Stop using ziplock bags and cling wrap

Stop right now!

I pretty much did this one cold turkey last year and I’m never going back. I still have a roll of cling wrap that has lasted me over a year now and I only use it very very occasionally where I can’t get away with using something else like beeswax wraps. In terms of ziplock bags… they are extremely useful little things (but we survive 100% without them in our house) but I know of a lot of people who just wash them and reuse them as much as they can before chucking them out.

Instead you can try – Tupperware containers, beeswax wraps, food covers or just cover the bowl with a plate!

7 | Google your nearest bulk food store and plan a visit

How easy is this!!! You don’t even need to actually visit a bulk food store for this one but bonus points if you do!

Food packaging is probably what makes up the majority of your rubbish every week. That is why shopping at bulk food stores is so popular with zero wasters (is that the proper term for us?)… you can usually take your own containers and bags and fill them up directly in store. Think flour, grains, dried fruit and a whole lot more! All those staples that normally come in plastic containers you can now be more intentional with reusable glass or produce bags!

And that’s a wrap for week 1

I figured it can be too overwhelming if I put everything in one post, so breaking it down into bite-size pieces each week may be easier on the brain. Next week’s post will up by the Sunday night, so stay tuned.