Over the first two weeks of October, a group of Ethical Writers Coalition members took a zero waste challenge. Read about the beginning of the challenge here.
Over this two-week challenge, I finally figured out the balance between being prepared, being forgiving, and being confident enough to ask for what I want. As I was travelling the entire two-week period, I didn't have the comforts of my home life which would have made the challenge significantly easier. The process made me more mindful overall, of the actions and products I excuse myself to use which don't align with my beliefs. It taught me how slowing down, making a few extra efforts and uttering a few extra words can completely transform habits and purchases in and outside of my daily routine, like sitting and eating or holding on to my recycling until I found a suitable bin.
What made it much easier to minimise the waste I was creating was the gear I had invested in over the past months as I made new discoveries on my #GoneGreen2016 journey, which I put to use in full force over the two weeks of semi-zero waste glory.
ONE. KEEP CUP
In Paris, I don't use this cup as much as I do when I leave, partially because I don't leave my house, but also because taking coffee to go is kind of taboo. You're kind of looked down upon if you don't just stay and sit. When I travel, however, as I have been for the weeks since this #EWCZeroWasteChallenge commenced, I make good use of it. Allowing me to avoid using the coffee cups offered by cafes and chains, which are made with polyethene plastic and are not recyclable no matter which bin you put them in. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
TWO. KLEAN KANTEEN
This is an item I use daily, even if I'm not leaving the house because I'm so damn clumsy. We’re paying 2,900 times the price for water which comes from the same source as our taps. To top it off, it takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce 30 billion water bottles, it also takes more water to produce a bottle of water than the bottle itself will hold. Plus, the plastics the bottle is made of, like all plastics, will never decompose. • READ MORE HERE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
THREE. LIGHT MY FIRE SPORK
This is one of the easiest zero waste solutions to tote along with you and it's one of the items you'll find most useful on the go. It fits along with the rest of my stuff in my little Sonya Kashmiri bag, and comes with a cover, so even if you can't clean it you don't have to worry about it sliming your stuff. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
FOUR. REUSABLE MAKEUP PADS
Another item I use daily is a reusable makeup wipes from Lamazuna which you can wash after use, as a replacement for cotton pads and balls, which are made from one of the world's dirtiest crops due to the insecticides and pesticides used to grow it, which are hazardous to human, wildlife and ecological health. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF A SET HERE
FIVE. TOTE BAG
This is perhaps one of the most obvious sustainable switches to make when looking to live greener or live zero waste. About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute and each one takes 1,000 years to degrade. This is one of many reasons to avoid them at all costs, whether you’re using them as shopping bags, produce bags, or zip-locking food in them, they’re about as evil as evil comes • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
*25% discount on anything from the site with coupon code EWCZEROWASTE*
Using one of these is was one of the best ways to avoid waste while travelling, whether it is around your own city or up, up and away. Even if you don't bring your own prepared food, it gives you an option to avoid being served in a non-recyclable throwaway tray. In Paris, London and Barcelona, every cafe, to-go counter or restaurant I asked was happy to drop whatever I had ordered in my container for me to store or take away. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
SEVEN. REUSABLE STRAW
I'm not really a straw person, but now would consider purchasing one just to keep around as they do come in handy now and again. If you’ve seen this Youtube video of a plastic straw stuck in a tortoise’s nose, you’ll understand why it’s such a selfish product for us to use. Straws are hugely harmful to the environment and to wildlife, yet each day we use 500 million straws, enough to fill over 46,400 large school buses per year. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
EIGHT. REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS
These babies are key to my existence now as when I'm not planning to be out long or end up wanting a snack while I am, I can keep one of these fabric bags folded in my little Sonya Kashmiri purse and if I want a pastry or a sandwich I can stuff it in the produce bag which kind of doubles as a napkin. These are great for last minute pick-ups from the grocery store, too, as they're easy to carry with you. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
My mum got me a hanky from her trip to Mexico, all embroidered and floral and pretty. For ages, I didn't want to use it because I was afraid of ruining it, then I realized a hanky in a drawer is a bit of a bore. So, when I started this challenge, I decided to keep it in the inside pocket of my little cross body bag so I could avoid killing trees by wasting napkins and tissues that I didn't need. It came in handy numerous times and has managed to make it through the two weeks looking just fine. • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
TEN. BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH
I could go on and on about how much I love bamboo toothbrushes, but I'll let you give them a try and see for yourself. Basically, I made the switch when I found out it takes over 1,000 years for a single toothbrush to decompose, and even when it does, the plastic is never really gone. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces entering the food chain in what could only be described as a murderous disguise. Bamboo is biodegradable and sustainably harvested meaning our three-month turnover for toothbrushes is leaving a minimal impact on the planet. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE
I've got a few more items I use which I talk about in the video below if you want to give it a little view:
This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy anything through the link (it doesn't change the amount you pay). I only include brands that I believe in, that I would use myself, or think might be of interest to you.