I am so excited to be sharing my first post on this blog at the wee country mouse. It has been such a journey so far as I embark on my plastic free and zero waste living journey. I am feeling so motivated and empowered to share my experience so that I can take an active role in helping others to make a difference to our planet and its preservation. I have noticed that as I become more and more active in the online community just how much wealth of knowledge and support I have already been able to tap into. It is truly amazing.
Once my eyes were opened to the damaging effects we are making to this wonderful planet it has been impossible for me to forget and not do something about it. I have been inspired, like a light being lit inside of me, to make a positive change. I have always been someone who is conscious of recycling and choosing free range and organic meat and veg and dairy products as well as reviewing my beauty and household products to reduce toxins entering my body. But I think during lockdown, my eyes have been opened even more to just how much waste is still created.
The ways plastic in particular is produced and remains in our ecosystems is so destructive. It is harming wildlife and endangering species across the globe and contributes to filling our oceans and waterways. The overproduction and consumption of fast economy and fashionable trends is inevitably one of the biggest factors in climate change. We need to protect our oceans and forests by making changes to our habits and choices over what we consume and what we spend our hard earned money on. Buying what we need and what is enough for ourselves and our household. Reducing and reusing items where possible. A little mend and make do attitude can go a long way. Supporting local businesses and being part of a community. Taking the initiative and signing up to petitions and lobbying for better climate change laws and guidelines are bigger scale active roles.
I want to share with you some of the changes I have adopted for a zero waste lifestyle so far. The household cleaning part of my home was one of the first big areas I tackled. I shopped at a local refill store called the “Green Tap” here in Cape Town for some kitchen and bathroom cleaning products. I bought a couple of jars but also overtime as I finished the products I already had, I took those containers in to use as a refill instead of buying new. I was able to get some lavender hydrosol which has multiple cleaning purposes throughout the home including kitchen counters, floors and windows/glass. I also got a lovely citrus smelling all purpose cleaner as well as a lavender dish-wash liquid and grapefruit dishwasher salts. All natural, all non toxic and using essential oils. Laundry powder and softener was also a great one for me as I have sensitive skin so this is nice and gentle and good for the environment. All in all a big thumbs up from me. I also switched out plastic sponges for bamboo scrubbers and cotton cloths.
Next I tackled the bathroom and my cosmetic products. Forest friendly loo rolls, yup its a thing – good for the booty and good for the environment, a really good easy change. I switched to soap bars on everything from hand wash to shampoo, conditioner and shaving. This has been a big one since most of these items normally come in liquid form in plastic containers. I brush my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush and I use toothy tabs instead of toothpaste which are chewable and all natural as well. The biggest and scariest purchase was my metal safety razor which I got Swedish blades to use with. This took a while to get used to and luckily I haven’t cut myself yet, my advice is to take it slow at first as there is definitely a technique to it. Lastly, I have started using reusable menstrual pads which are so comfortable to wear and are easy to clean – not as icky as you may think it will be. You just have to rinse and soak and then put in your normal wash. It is a simple swap, whilst an initial investment, it will save you money in the long run and divert single use pads/tampons from landfill. If pads aren’t your bag then menstrual cups might be more your thang.
My most favourite swaps have to be my reusables for on the go, which include my coffee cup and now bamboo cutlery, copper straw and reusable water glass bottle which I just got this week. I am a HUGE coffee lover, bordering on obsession and I just love being able to pop these items in my bag and go out to get my fix and sometimes a nice sugary treat to go along with it and go somewhere outdoors. After all, I love being in nature and there is nothing better than taking a stroll along the beach with the ocean and mountain view sipping my cappuccino or hazelnut latte and digging into a cheeky doughnut.
This has only touched on some of the ways you can take up a zero waste and plastic free lifestyle. I have so much more to share with you on the ways I have been making change as well as what I still have to continue in my journey. The biggest take away from this today is SMALL differences make a BIG impact. So wherever you are on your journey I hope you can draw some inspiration from me as well as understanding that Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day so it is never too late. No act is never too small to start making a change and a difference to the world.
Before you go, if you have liked this post and some of these ideas then please share and spread the word to others. Drop me a message, let me know what you have been doing or what you are trying out. I would love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more on this topic as I go further down the rabbit hole and dive deeper into this zero waste living journey.