The Source Bulk Foods Zero Waste Tour with Bea Johnston: 5 Easy Steps Towards a Zero Waste Lifestyle
Over the last few weeks, The Source Bulk Foods have been touring Australia with Zero Waste Queen and author of Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnston. Together they created an event that was not only informative but also positive and encouraging. Bea shared her experiences with zero waste living and proposed her 5R simple guideline – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (in that order) to inspire the audience, especially those who are only beginning their sustainable living journey, to reduce their household waste.
Although I do not wholeheartedly agree that zero waste living is the only answer to sustainability, reducing our impact and creating positive environmental change, there was several important messages, tips and tricks to take away from the zero waste movement and Bea Johnston’s talk.
1. Buy experiences not things
Whether you’re buying a gift for a friend’s birthday or your Nan won’t stop asking you want you want for Christmas, according to Bea, experiences are the go-to zero waste gift. Not only has experiences been proven to make us happier than physical things, but zero waste living also has a foundation of owning less crap – which takes us to the concept of minimalism. Minimalism is a movement that encourages the removal of excess stuff, in order to focus on what’s important. Bea started her talk by saying “living with less is living with more” and explained that since her family started reducing their waste in 2009, they have had a lot more time for hiking, walking, reading and watching documentaries.
2. Say no to freebies
When you think about it, every time we go to the markets or to a shopping centre, we are surrounded by freebies and promotional goods – from fliers and water bottles to pens and business cards. Us humans like stuff we don’t have to pay for. But Bea explains that one of the first steps to reducing our waste, is to prevent it from entering our lives. Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done, but unfortunately, free isn’t actually free. There are many resources that go into producing marketing materials and they’re often made of such cheap quality or are so unimportant to us, that they end up straight in our rubbish bins.
3. Select clothing items that are multi-functional
This step is also related to that minimalism movement we talked about earlier. Bea explained the importance of only owning essential items that can create interchangeable outfits and pieces of clothing that don’t go out of fashion– which is basically the definition of a capsule wardrobe. She also suggested letting go of the “what ifs” and “maybe one day” pieces that you know you’re never going to wear. But remember to discard of any unwanted clothing responsibly – suitcase rummages are my favourite way to sell my used goods and a perfect way to support the circular economy.
4. Ask for package-free shipping
Let’s be honest for a minute, it’s not always realistic, possible or affordable to be shopping at ethical, sustainable or bulk food stores, and sometimes, we have to make the most of what we have access to or what we can afford. So, if you’re anything like me and tend to shop online for goods, whether that be pre-loved or otherwise, why not ask the seller for your products to be sent in plastic-free or reusable packaging?
5. Only peel vegetables that actually need to be
Believe it or not, the way we eat has a massive impact on the planet and food waste and climate change actually go hand in hand. Producing, distributing, storing and cooking food uses energy and water, not to mention several other natural resources. Each of these processes emits greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, and 30% of the food we buy is actually wasted, which ends up creating even more greenhouse gases. So why not try breaking the habit and reducing your food waste by leaving the skin on – unpeeled fruit and vegetables also provide added fibre and nutrients. Some of Beas recommendations include:
Apples & pears
Citrus fruits i.e. oranges and lemons