The Rubbish Diet Challenge – Zero Waste Week

About a month ago a friend of mine started to email me about how she was trying to reduce her garbage. Although I try to be somewhat environmentally-conscious — I buy eco-friendly products, I have my own vegetable garden, and I am a lacto-ovo-pesca vegetarian –, I never thought about focusing on my garbage, so I was immediately inspired.

At the moment we are still a two-person household, but that is about to change soon, as a baby is coming. A baby means a lot of extra waste, but it also means that we should be extra careful about how we are leaving the earth behind for the next generation. While we get our apartment in order for baby’s arrival, this is also the perfect time to re-examine our habits.

After some searching on the internet, one site on reducing rubbish was particularly helpful. The Rubbish Diet even provides a nice challenge, stretched over multiple weeks, to gently ease the reader into the zero waste mindset and to prepare for the final goal: one week of no waste at all. In the mean time, I’ve been going through the first 7 weeks, reading up on the things you can do to reduce your waste and make some changes in our household. Without much effort we reduced our grey garbage from almost two bags to just half a bag a week. A huge effect just by paying more attention to recycling and what we buy from the store! But now I arrived at the final week of the challenge: zero waste week. While it scares the hell out of me, because it sounds so unattainable, after the last couple weeks of preparation I actually start believing that it is possible, for one week at least…

The most difficult part I think will be food. We eat and drink all day, and at the same time the supermarkets seem to try to do their utter best to give us as much packaging as they can. So we will have to be really careful with what we buy, and I will have to make some things from scratch, such as bread, honey mustard sauce, and pizza.

Disclaimer: the zero waste week will apply to my personal waste, and not to waste generated by my partner. After I informed him about what I was planning to do, he did pay more attention in the store to packaging, also for his own food, which was so sweet! But this challenge will be a personal one, even though of course I hope it will inspire him as well.

Then there is one other note: everything we use, perhaps everything we own, will eventually become waste. For this challenge I do not count waste that can be recycled (compostables, paper, glass, cans, and plastics 1, 2 and 5). Secondly, I do not count waste that will be the result of what I use now but won’t actually become waste until after a couple of months. For example: I will use my tooth brush, and also my tooth paste. Maybe someday I will find some good replacements for those, but I am not ready yet at the moment. Even still, there are already many items that would fall in this same category that I have replaced with more environmentally-friendly alternatives (cleaning supplies, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, etc).

Hereby I pledge, for the next week (starting tomorrow), I will not use / eat / do anything that will (directly) result in grey waste. During this week I will also blog about the challenges that came my way, and some strategies I use to avoid waste.

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