I’ve been interested in the zero waste movement for a while now
and whilst I’ve tried to implement habits to become more mindful of
my waste, this theme gave me the perfect push to try it out for a week.
Over the week I decided to do a mix of collecting any waste I
created as well as making little changes along the way to reduce
waste. I learned that it really comes down to preparation and
organisation; taking that little bit of extra time to consider an
alternative to what would usually produce waste. Having to question
our subconscious habits especially when it comes down to such innate
human things like eating, drinking and socialising is a challenge, but
one I encourage everyone to try.
Te Aro Ture had a meetup with Krispy Kreme donuts (which
I sadly could not eat) but I decided to take some home and
use the plastic bag they’d come in. Unfortunately, not one of the
ten people (who were a mix of friends and friendly-looking
strangers) who I asked wanted a squished donut in a suspiciously
large plastic bag. This was the first addition to my waste pile.
I went out to dinner and in order to avoid having drinks that
would come with a straw I drank a lot of water which made me
wonder about the zero-waste alternatives for toilet paper?
Also, the toilets had little towels instead of paper towels. Great
for my challenge.
I was a bit sniffly and realised that one of my biggest wastes
is tissues. I didn’t have anything handkerchief-like so I started
using a towel. I used my hand for sushi too and got my period
so it was the perfect time to use a menstrual cup which I got for
free! Actually way simpler than pads etc!
Started the day off strong by bringing my fruit around in a
sistema container. This turned out to be more trouble than it
was worth as it was bulky and I was left with a lot of fruit skins
and no lid. Took these home to compost. I had some awesome
free bread from the AUTSA lounge and used my hand as
a plate. I then ordered pizza which came in cardboard boxes
with foil. Do recyclable things count?
I had leftovers from Monday which in a way meant I was
avoiding extra waste. I also had a few baby packets of
chips from work which had been damaged. I justified
this as they would have been chucked out anyway (and I
was very hungry).
AUT South Campus does cheap meals so I got kumara, potatoes
and peas on the normal ceramic plate which you get when you
eat in. It was very delicious, and I swear my meals got tastier the
less waste I produced. I had a mentoring event for which the
catering we ordered came in big cardboard boxes with cling
wrap over the top. This added to my rubbish pile. There was an
excess of food so I gave some out to students and my family
and friends to avoid wasting it.
I made tacos with a friend. The supermarket was probably the
hardest situation I had been in zero waste wise as almost
everything came in a packet and it was usually plastic. I opted for
the veggies sans packaging, a jar, tin and just had a rice packet
and plant with plastic. I also said no to the receipt. My friend
made super cool tote bags which we used for carrying all
the supplies in too! I had a 21st at Bar101 so I bought pres in a
reusable drink bottle although not sure this was necessary, plus
I lost the drink bottle shortly after arriving.
Feeling like a super organised, green, zero waste machine, I
took my leftover taco beans in a container with a drink bottle for
lunch out with a friend. I tend to have a bad habit of eating random
leftovers from other tables at cafes, but thought it was justified due to
my zero wasting on this particular day. I had a few chips from the
neighbouring table’s leftovers before just bringing the whole
plate over. About five minutes later, a man sitting behind me brought
over his plate with leftover chips and asked if I wanted it. His wife
followed. Slightly embarrassed but very grateful, I accepted and, in
true zero waste fashion, took home the food I didn’t finish.