Angela's 30 Day Zero Waste Challenge - Week 1

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My elder daughter decided to go on a 30 day zero waste challenge to see how imuch she could reduce her waste output, (more detail on the whys and wherefores later) and keep her friends updated via Facebook. It also challenged us to make some changes too, so if anyone wants to try it our for themselves my response is - "go for it!".

I am reproducing her posts here, in installments, one week at a time.

Day 1 Zero Waste 30 day Challenge – Drink Bottle

I’m going to try and do the zero waste 30 day challenge for this month. First day is my drink bottle! I don’t like room temperature tap water so I am going to use a thermos to hold cold water! It holds it for up to 24 hours and it also means I don’t have to buy bottled water.

Day 2 Zero Waste 30 day Challenge - Straws

When I go out to a cafe I love milkshakes which use straws. I read that if you ask for no straw it’s a 50/50 if you get one unless you make a bit of a deal about it and show the straw you brought. I did that and only got a small amount of mocking from my friends but I got no straw! I got this straw from eBay for $10 for 8 of them plus a cleaning brush. They were so cheap I’ll be interested to see if I get rust, but I don’t use them too often so it should not be a problem. You can get bamboo ones if it becomes a problem.

Day 3 Zero Waste 30 day Challenge – Beeswax wraps

Since there was talk of beeswax wraps yesterday I made mine today. You can buy them for about $30 for 3. I used material from around the house. I used pinking shears to cut the edges. I grated the beeswax and I used the iron method where you iron it between 2 sheets of paper. It was difficult to know how much wax to put on. I think one I put too much than the other 2. We will see when I use them! The wax I got from Bunnings for $10. I got about 4 * A4 sheets out of 1 lump. Unfortunately the paper created waste to make these. So I need to add that for regular baking I use reusable black nonstick baking sheets. They are by far better than the silicone kind which was almost impossible to clean and you can get them from spotlight.

Day 4 Zero Waste 30 day Challenge - Bread

I have in the past gone to bakers delight with a pillow case. It’s just a cotton bag but I got some funny looks! Not that I cared really, but I did some research and I read that the best material to make a bread bag out of is 100% linen because it takes moisture out of the air and stops the bread from getting mouldy. It’s hard to find 100% linen and is expensive so I went to a second hand store and found a vintage table cloth for $8 that looked and felt and behaved like 100% linen and made a bread bag out of it! The girl at bakers delight didn’t bat an eyelid when I told her “I brought my own bread bag”. We fit a loaf and 6 rolls in it. Other options available to me were to put rolls into a produce bag, make my own bread, or use a bread maker to make bread overnight and wake up to fresh bread. If none of these options work Lawson’s bread comes in paper packaging or Coles recycles plastic bread bags but remember reuse comes before recycle. (Note: a detailed article on how to make a fabric bread bag is available here)

Day 5 Zero Waste 30 day Challenge - Milk

Today at lunch I popped over to Bondi Westfields Harris Farm Markets and got myself some milk on tap! It’s milk you fill into a glass jar. Then you can take the jar home and wash it and come back and refill it! Unfortunately this is the only source of non-plastic milk I have found in Sydney and it’s only in Bondi and Drummoyne. The milk tastes yummy! But it is full cream only  if anyone else has any ideas for zero waste milk in Penrith I’d hear it. (Note: We use skim milk and to reduce our waste we got hold of a 1 litre glass screw cap juice bottle - Sunraysia brand - and make up skim milk from skim milk powder and then put it in the bottle and keep it in the fridge. Next step is to find a bulk supplier of skim milk powder then we will hopefully have zero waste milk.)

Day 6 Zero Waste 30 day Challenge – Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoo and conditioner. Lush sells shampoo and conditioner bars! They sell them without any packaging and you can get these cute little tin boxes for them the ladies there tried very hard to help me pick the best one for my hair but I think like any hair products it’s going to be trial and error as to which is best suited for my hair. The ones I got were very strong fragranced and it didn’t help that when I bought them a few weeks ago, I was starting to come down with a stomach bug and so the smell makes me think of that I think that the next ones I get will smell different and hopefully better my dad makes his own bars which would not be fragranced at all! That would also be a good option.

Day 7 Zero Waste 30 day Challenge - Babies

We use cloth nappies. Our fav brand is but we have friends that also love bubble bubs! Cloth is messy and takes practice and specialised washing, but I have found it worth it. When she’s not in these she is in Naty eco disposable nappies. Our daycare provides us with huggies but we give them eco ones! These are more expensive but we save using the cloth nappies. You can get reusable wipes but Dez Bas drew the line at that and so we got bamboo compostable wipes. All compostable materials/wipes go into compostable bags which get put into our council compost bin! Unfortunately she hates frozen baby food and during our work days it’s hard to give her a healthy meal so we now use the baby food during those days that are in glass jars. These are fully recyclable. She drinks tap water now out of her reusable water bottle and I was one of the lucky ones where she was able to be fully breast fed all her life. She even has a bunch of second hand clothes! You can get bundles of clothes cheap on Facebook marketplace. Things we could improve on still is using reusable pouches to put homemade yoghurt into and making more homemade snacks.

Week 2 - coming soon!

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