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The Imperfect Zero Waster - Inspired by Zero Waste Home

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by Philippa Chalkitis (subscribe)
Social Media Manager with Carmel at Sorrento. Always looking for adventures on the Mornington Peninsula - Visit my social pages @carmelatsorrento or
Published July 27th 2019
Plastic Free July
I remember a mild morning in the Spring of 2010, I was jamming down the wheelie bin lid thinking how does a household of two people have so much rubbish plus another bin full of recycling?'. I continued this tango for at least another four years thinking there was no other option and this was just the way it is and dare I think it 'not my problem'.

In 2014, I stumbled across an online article from an American university student Lauren Singer she mentioned her life changed after reading Bea Johnson's book Zero Waste Home. I made a mental note to look more into the book and maybe buy it online. But in the mean-time, with a new baby, I was going to continue to jam more into that darn wheelie bin, why didn't the council just give us a bigger bin, my family is growing.

A few weeks after reading Lauren's article, the universe again reached out to slap me. After enjoying our weekly dose of story time at the local library with my baby girl, we went to leave and Bea's book was on display. I picked it up and flicked through the pages, there was something so calming and peaceful about the pictures and the little blurbs I casually looked over. I loaned the book and that afternoon I read the book and then found myself on Bea's Youtube channel and finally I had my aha moment.

Bea's book is hassle-free, practical advice on how to simplify your life and implement little or big changes to make smarter choices that lead to less waste. My first challenge was to think of plastic alternatives when at the supermarket;

-jam in jars instead of plastic
milk in cartons
washing powder in boxes
loose bananas, not in plastic bags

zero waste, Plastic Free July
Nearly Plastic Free Shop

Simple huh? I even began taking my own containers to the local butcher, they were wonderful and loved the idea. Incidentally, my fridge appeared organised.

Zero Waste, Simple Home
A Weeks Worth of Rubbish

Eventually, I moved on to remove 1000 unwanted and unused items in my house, I am still shocked that this was actually quite an easy activity although I did have an excessive amount of unused stationery.

zero waste, marie kondo
1000 Unwanted Items

I resisted the easy way out of donating to over-flowing op shops and instead earnt a bit of extra money with a market stall, selling bigger items on eBay, baby goods on market place and books to a consignment shop. I donated my corporate wardrobe to Dress for Success, a charity organisation who assist women in getting back into the workforce. Donating beloved corporate labels was difficult, but a lot of the outfits I hadn't worn in a long time, they would be more cherished in someone else's hands. Now I can't even remember what was so wonderful about the outfits that I felt the need to keep them.

Here we are in 2019 and my waste journey is completely imperfect but I love it. I go through stages of decluttering and then I look around and it's all back. I have days where it definitely is easier just to pick up an over packaged meal for dinner or grab the milk in a plastic bottle. But more often than not with a little bit of organisation, I feel really proud of my new way of thinking.
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