My family has always been conscious with managing waste. While growing up, we do not produce that much waste. Meals are prepared at home which means no single-use of plastic containers that comes from purchasing food outside. My father segregates waste and reuses almost everything. Bottles and old newspaper were sold while organic waste is used as fertilisers on our small vegetable garden. I remember having freshly pick avocados from our backyard when I was a kid!
Because we were taught at an early age about the importance of maintaining a clean and green surrounding (this was my hometown’s slogan by the way), I have maintain a decent relationship with waste as an adult. I cannot say that I have a zero waste lifestyle but I always try to lessen producing waste as possible.
Now that I have my own family, this habit becomes more valuable to me. I wanted my son to grow up knowing how to be conscious about waste. That is why my partner and I are on board in following a more sustainable lifestyle.
I am sharing with you 5 simple habits I (and my family) changed in starting my journey to zero waste.
1. Using reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
Chances are you have a reusable water bottle. If you do, I hope you are using it. If you don’t, you should be ashamed. There are 80 percent of plastic water bottles that end up in landfills. As long as you have an access to clean water, fill your reusable bottle and carry it with you. It is also not right to pay for water, it is a basic rights.
2. Switching to shampoo bars or any package free toiletries.
Even though most shampoo bottles are recyclable, not all of them ended up being recycled. Recycling is actually an expensive process so most of them are just left in the waste field. I did not have any second thoughts on switching to shampoo bars once I found out that recycling is not how I imagined. Another advantage of using shampoo bars is that most of them contain zero or fewer chemicals. My favourite is the raw shea butter shampoo bar from African Fair Trade Society, a small business based in Vancouver. They have the most amazing soaps! This brand also helps rural villages in West Africa by providing employment in their community.
3. Choosing cloth diaper.
Our family did not decide whether to cloth diaper or not. It was a natural route for us since first, I was cloth diapered as a child. Second, I personally use reusable pads and menstrual cup. Third, I am a very frugal person. Disposable diapers are expensive. There is a lot of debate if using cloth diaper is really sustainable. Some say it takes the same energy to create disposable diapers and to make and wash reusable ones. You use water and energy to wash and dry them (unless you are hand washing or drying them under the sun). But compared to disposable diapers though, cloth diapers do not leave any waste after its use.
4. Ditching plastic bags for reusable bags.
Because why not. I think this was one of the first few habits I changed when starting to minimise my waste. I am happy that a lot of shops have been encouraging people to use their reusable bags. Some cities even passed laws on total bans of plastic bags. If you have not seen it yet, we have amazing designs of wood block printed totes. Our very popular Frida Kahlo totes are totally not just for grocery shopping!
5. Purchasing good quality product that is made out of natural materials.
The best way to not produce waste is by reusing or recycling what you have. But if you ever need to buy goods, choose a product that is built to last. That is what I love about working with our brand Moon Water because we always use natural raw material which includes palm leaves, abaca, rattan, buri, bamboo and cotton. We make sure that they are sturdy and do not leave any waste once its life comes to an end. One of our values is keeping tradition so we want our products to be passed on. I also wanted to share that we organise tree planting activities in the Philippines (our home) as our way to preserve our natural resources. There are so many ways to reduce waste. There are no small steps and every contribution matters. Do not forget to support products and brands that promotes zero-waste. Good luck with your journey.