To be waste-free you have to stay organisedPixabay

It’s the new year! And all of our social media feeds are filled with ways for us to be better people; Veganuary, fitness regimes and videos on ‘How to wake up at 5am every day’. Most of these fads we know won’t last even into February - I mean 5am? I had almost completely forgotten there were two 5 o’clocks in a day!

Despite this, for the past week I attempted to live ‘waste-free’; classing ‘waste’ as anything unrecyclable or realistically non-reusable. I mean, we can all pretend we’ll use that plastic cup again one day, but we all know we’re only lying to ourselves.

So here are my tips, my downfalls and what I learnt!

You HAVE to be organised

As a person who is always running late, organisation in terms of meal prep has never been my strong suit. However, I never realised quite how many meal-deals I bought before consciously being aware of my waste production.

A lot. I eat a lot.

Although sandwich packets are recyclable (if you remove the plastic covering section), crisps and chocolate packets are generally not. This being on top of the plastic bottles that of course must accompany. This week meant the making of butties in the Tupperware bought from Ikea for uni that has been untouched up till now (sorry Mum!) and my reusable water bottle coming everywhere with me.

Overall, it was a lot easier than I thought, requiring an emergence from my bed only ten minutes earlier than usual, with the additional bonus of me saving around ten pounds a week! Winner winner waste-free dinner? 

 Remember your water!

At Cambridge there are water coolers literally everywhere- thirst be gone! The downside to this however, is the stack of plastic cups which accompany it- turtles be gone?

By cutting back and being more aware of what we’re consuming and where we’re putting it, we can make all of 2019 as waste-free as possible!

I confess I am an abuser of this. But this week, with the forceful remembering of my water bottle, I managed to cut down on what I suspect was around five plastic cups a week, which I will most definitely directly correlate with me personally saving five turtles! This was so easy, and a top tip for not forgetting it is always leaving your bottle in your bag. It sounds so obvious, but it means when you’re packing you are reminded to fill it up, and if you don’t it means it’s still there for later in the day.

 Taking your time

This was definitely one of the more difficult aspects of this week’s challenge, as I can usually do my shopping and rubbish disposal super speedily. However, everything I usually buy in my weekly shop has some form of unrecyclable product in it. Finding the alternatives took a bit more googling, a bit more time and a lot more focus on a Sainsbury’s shop than usually required. However, after my shop it felt great that I wasn’t producing waste, and I’m sure after a few weeks the process will quicken as it wouldn’t feel completely new.


Mountain View

All the self care tips I cannot give you

I also found myself doing a split shop between Sainsbury’s and the market. Sainsbury’s fruit and veg has a lot of packaging, and those without it tend to be pricier. So instead I went to the market for my fruit and veg and just took a tote bag. It was cheap and waste free and something I would highly highly recommend! I know it’s a bit more of a pain going to two places, but if it’s waste free and supporting local produce, and to be honest the extra time I spent there would only be lost on binging more Brooklyn 99, I felt it was well worth it.

TIP: even if you aren’t tempted by the enticements of the market, taking your own tote/lunch box for fruit/veg or donuts/muffins/pastries in Sainsbury’s reduces the use of those little plastic bags! Try it!

This week has taught me just how much waste I produce and how simple it can be to reduce it. However, this is not me living in a weird vegan, hippy dippy bubble. Sometimes waste is unavoidable, especially in the consumer setup we have today. Food is given on trains with no recycling bins, bananas are in plastic (that is literally what the peel is for!) and you’re hardly going to bring Tupperware to get your chips from Gardis after a night out. But by cutting back and being more aware of what we’re consuming and where we’re putting it, we can make all of 2019 as waste-free as possible!

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