Friday, 1 July 2016

6 month update Zero Waste Journey

I can't believe we have been on our mission to reduce our waste for 6 months!! It doesn't feel that long. To be honest I don't know how it feels. Maybe that's a good thing.

Yep I'm sticking with that, its a good thing. :)

What's been happening?

Well you can check out my 'What we've improved so far' post HERE, I wrote that 3-4 months into this lifestyle.

2 months on and we're still loving it. We are both learning so much and becoming so much more conscious of what we do now.

But the first 2 months, some things seemed like it was getting worse than better. Meaning, A few things started to break (see Blog post HERE ) and everywhere was a mess. We didn't have the room to store the new(used) items/products and the Bulk food we are now using. We had stuff everywhere, completely going against the simplifying our lifestyle challenge .
I had to keep telling myself it is because we are going through stuff, everything was getting reorganised. We had to know what we had to start with. We also needed to know what we were disposing of. And I was keeping things to see how I could reuse them. (see again Mending blog post and my other DIY series posts :) ).

Now I'm happy to say, things are looking better. We are still going through products even though I have given stuff away to people (we did have a lot of back up products). And I'm still going through files and boxes, which will take some time. But everywhere is looking more organised and simplified :).

Since swapping to natural or less chemical products (Cleaning products for the home and cosmetics) I've noticed I can not go back. Those that are considered the "norm" products are too strong for me. I can't stand the smells anymore, I've never been a fan of 'fake' cleaning smells, But I did like my bathroom smelling like a swimming pool (a bit OCD with that!!) . Now they really stand out and make me feel ill and they make my skin (mainly my hands) so dry and itchy. Not Good :(

Its also the same when it comes to body cosmetics, its like they don't work. The smell is horrible, my skin feels greasy and or the product really dries my skin out.

All these cleaning products and cosmetic products, we supposedly have to use to look after our homes and bodies. I personally believe we don't need all these products! but we are all different so please do what is right for you.

Simple, basic, natural products, that's when my skin feels at its best. When I use cleansers, Face washes, even the Clarins Cleanser which was my favourite and I have mentioned on here before, now leave my skin so dry.
My skin care routine is now;

Water, Flannel, Soap(s) and Moisturiser.

This is one of the moisturisers I'm using atm. I'm still going through my back log of cosmetics. Some days I don't need to put any on. I have tried using oil. I don't like it. I'm still on the look out for natural moisturisers :)

I haven't gotten around to using shampoo bars yet. And I also haven't purchased a safety razor. Hopefully they will get mentioned in my 1st Year Zero Waste post :)

My household cleaning products atm are

Surcare, Tesco Washing Powder and my own All Purpose Cleaning solution (find recipe Here)

I only know this because we are still going through products. So while we are finding and testing natural / safer products, we went back to the old stuff to use up. This is when we noticed the difference.

I personally didn't notice any difference when we first swapped to the natural / safer products. Everything is clean. The products work. Which is good. I'm just really shocked at how different they really are, just by going back to the old stuff. What is in this stuff?!?!?!  

We are not sure what to do with the old products. Some we are going to use up and the rest family members are happy to take and use them. I personally am not recommending any product. I will leave that to you to decide.

I have reviewed (not paid for) on here before products for the home. I no longer use those products due to reasons above. But I will leave them on here, only to look back and see my journey (if you know what I mean).

And, I have even noticed that when it comes to food, my body really doesn't like a lot of processed food anymore.

Which brings me to the Food part of Zero Waste (we all know this is one of the main culprits when it comes to single use waste).

Our Food Shopping is now so much cheaper and I'm loving that our kitchen cupboard is looking more like an ingredients cupboard. There are obviously some processed foods in there still, like sauces and stock cubes and there are still a few things still packaged in plastic. But it is a huge improvement.

We have both noticed Fat loss.

We still do eat the occasional 'junk' food. Believe it or not, there is 'junk' food that is not in plastic packaging.. because surprisingly you don't need food in a load of "fancy", over advertised, loud packaging!!!
We purchase our sweet treats/Junk food in paper packaging and or we make our own. Which tastes so much better anyway, not really healthier but less bad for you ;) and a lot cheaper.

I've started to notice when eating processed foods, like chips (if you don't know me, I LOVE chips/fries I pretty much live on potatoes :)) I can now only eat homemade potato fries/crisps. Pretty much anything to do with potato , I have to make myself. My body can't handle the Fat. Which is good, but the lazy girl in me or when I'm eating at other peoples homes its a bit of a pain. (FYI the potatoes I purchase only come in plastic packaging :( So there isn't a difference to purchasing frozen potato products).
And cola, yep Cola I do (or should I say did) enjoy a can of cola from time to time. Now just only drinking half a can I get a huge sugar rush and my brain goes foggy, which isn't good. I used to be addicted to that stuff.  Now I can't touch it, unless I want to feel ill :/ .

I find it quite scary what rubbish we are or did put into our bodies. We were making ourselves sick :(.

Processed food isn't cheaper, the supermarkets/brands are fooling you and a plant based diet isn't more expensive. Since our Zero Waste Journey, we have noticed a huge drop in our shopping bill and one of us is a vegan and Gluten intolerant. We have plenty of food. The only times our weekly shop is high (what we consider high) is when we need to restock on a few items and or I need to purchase anything Gluten Free.
The most expensive items on our shopping list are the gluten free items (I need my flour) and meat :(  

We love that we are no longer surrounded with so much packaging in our home. Obviously we still have some but our Trash in the last 6 months has decreased so much. The longest so far it has gone to take out our trash is 2 months. That is mainly because of the dust from the vacuum filled it up, and again see my last What we have improved post here to see what we send to landfill i.e. not put in our jar.

When it comes to the Zero Waste "Trash Jar" (note you don't have to put your trash in a jar, its just a way of seeing how much trash you produce). I've been quite lucky. As you can see by my pictures, it is empty. With my lifestyle, I don't come across needing to use single use plastic and most things I use can be recycled.  But that doesn't mean I haven't produced any trash in the last six months. Again see above for the link on what we do send to landfill. And there should be stickers, blinking fruit and veg stickers!! in my jar, but I have a plan for them which you will see near the end of the year.

My Trash Jar
With the recycling, the longest so far is 1 month. Again we are still going through a lot of products. Much of the recycling is from what we pick up outside.

Which brings me to our Litter Picks. If you didn't already know, in May we joined in with the Take3for365 Challenge (see blog post HERE for details)

Being more knowledgeable about Trash/Litter, we always make sure we go out and pick up at least 3 for the sea. This challenge and lifestyle is helping me so much with my anxiety. If I see rubbish outside I will just go and pick it up. Which is a lot for me :) The thought of the litter going into the canal outweighs  my anxiety :).

Even though we are loving this lifestyle, there are a few things I'm disliking and find quite irritating  ~

The amount of Trash we have picked up!! Just around our little area it is Shocking!!! and what people throw away...I just can not get my head around.

I still get so frustrated when I see products in so much/Useless packaging!! I'm like Why!!!!!!!! Especially fruit and vegetables completely covered in plastic and sometimes not even just one bit of packaging ?!?!? 
If only fruit and vegetables came in their own packaging ! #Sarcasm   

When companies tell me their Plastic packaging can be recycled !?!?!? And I just want to shout at them IT GETS DOWNCYCLED!!!!

I wish people knew how damaging most single use items are :( Do you really need a straw? Is it that difficult to bring your own reusable cup, bottle and bag?

Trust me....It really isn't.

The past 6 months have been great. I've learnt aiming for a zero waste lifestyle is so much more than just reducing your waste. Living in line with your values is an awesome feeling.

Anybody and Everybody can do there bit to reduce their waste.

I will share this bit of advice. When you want to purchase something (whatever it is) Ask yourself these things
  • Do I/They really need it?
  • Why do I need it?
  • Is it good for me?
  • How/Where was it made?
  • Did it somehow contribute to destroying the planet?
  • What will happen to this when I no longer need it?

I'm not going to tell you the answers. If you don't like the answers you give, if they don't match your values. Don't purchase it. It's as simple as that.

Lets see what the next 6 months will bring :)

Do you aim for or are living a Zero waste lifestyle? I would love to know :)

Till next time

Eat Clean ~ Train Mean ~ Live Green

Donna x

Like this post? You might like to read: Trash and or
My Journey towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle

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