Honest, inspiring and real life tips from artist and activist Carol Nathan Levin as she documents her journey to live a waste free life…
I have always been interested in recycling and ways to reduce my waste.
Recently I have noticed a trend of people who are living “waste free”.
So I have taken up a challenge to be super conscious and document how I go about my day aspiring to creating a waste-free life as much as possible, and at the very least keep trash out of the landfill.
It is so simple but requires a small amount of thought and planning and is very satisfying when it becomes a habit.
I leave home in the morning with 4 objects, a stainless steel cup, a glass bottle full of tap water, a re-usable shopping bag and a glass container which comes in handy for left overs in restaurants, sometimes I fill it with coffee granules (from coffee carts) for my compost, or it’s useful if I buy fish or cheese.
Waste Free Tip 1: Take a re-usable water bottle, coffee cup, take-away container and shopping bag with you whenever you leave the house.
So I always make sure I have cloth bags in my car or these nifty ones in my bag.
As I move through my day I am super aware how we automatically bag everything so I have now taken to refusing even the flimsiest of bags where possible, like the ones for fruit and veggies.
Waste Free Tip 2: Refuse plastic wherever you can.
Next up, food waste: I used to have a worm farm but always had a problem with animal waste and fatty substances. I sold it and bought two Earth Probiotic
Bokashi bins instead. These take everything, (including a moderate amount of chicken bones) The liquid that comes off it can also be diluted and used to make a super-nutritious tea for the garden. You have to sprinkle the Bokashi Saw Dust every few layers, so it does have a cost (which the worm farm does not) but it’s not that expensive and totally worth it. After it sits for two weeks I dig it into the compost or you can dig it straight into a bed.
Waste Free Tip 3: Turn your organic waste into compost gold for your garden.
I prefer to plant from seedlings as I’m not great with seeds, so I accumulate quite a few of these trays. I found that when I take them to the woman at my local farmers market she is SO grateful as it saves her money and she loves the “re-use” ethos.
(She sterilises them whether I wash them or not so I don’t even bother anymore)
Waste Free Tip 4: Return used trays and cartons to shops and local suppliers, markets.
Sometimes she rewards me with free plants, in this case creeping roses that I have had difficulty in finding.
I also take my egg cartons back to the shop from where they came ….or pass them on at the farmers market to the egg stall.
Plastic is insidious, it hides in the most obvious places. As each pen gets thrown out I am replacing it with a pencil.
Waste Free Tip 5: Write with pencils rather than pens.
Below is not soap. It is actually shampoo. Coconut oil and veggie glycerine shampoo. From the second I rubbed this on my head I LOVED it. It’s from “Ruby Soul” at Old Nick Village
and is available online.
Waste Free Tip 6: Use shampoo that doesn’t come in plastic bottles.
As a rule I shop at small local business as much as possible. I asked my local Green Grocer if I returned the polystyrene there and then would they re-use it? the answer was “of course”. Win-Win, they save money, I save trash.
Gives me a spring in my step and a secret grin for the next few hours.
Waste Free Tip 7: Refuse the polystyrene packaging at your local grocer, he can re-use it and you have fresh unwrapped veggies.
Plastic water bottles are the biggest scam (and scourge) of the century. The companies instilled fear into us about the quality of our tap water as a way to market their product to us. The truth is it sits on the truck in the boiling sun leeching poisons into the plastic. Why are we paying a fortune to drink poison? All day I sip this: tap water with lemon, mint, parsley, celery and cucumber or a variation thereof.
Sometimes I use strawberries or blueberries, oranges or grapefruit and its great for dinner parties.
Waste Free Tip 8: Rather drink tap water (filtered if you wish) than water from plastic bottles. You can flavour it with all sorts of fresh and delicious herbs and fruits.
Sometimes it’s not possible to avoid one-time-use plastics. These below are not recyclable. It’s become a trend in our town to compact them into a plastic bottle as tightly as possible. Some clever person is going to make a bench or a wall out of them, in PE they are even building a pre-school!
This alone has contributed to a massive reduction in my garbage.
I have gone from a garbage bag every two weeks (we are a family of 2) to a bag every 6 weeks which means I am sending 8 bags to the land fill a year.
Waste Free Tip 9: Compact all your non-recyclable plastics into a 2 litre bottle to make an Eco Brick which can be used for building.
And lastly, throwing out broken objects led me to some creative thinking and some great up-cycling.
Please check out my Facebook page The Plight of Plastic
for more information on just that and “LIKE” and “SHARE” if indeed you do .
My passion about being waste and plastic free began at the age of 18 when I worked in a clothing boutique and was horrified at the packaging that arrived at the store that the customer never even sees. It opened my eyes to packaging per se.
Over the last 30 years I have noticed that marketing has become “cleverer” and packaging much more layered. Many of my friends, (some of them directors of huge Ad agencies), have left the advertising world in disgust when they finally realised that they are dreaming up how to sell “stuff” that people don’t want or need. And then it comes wrapped in 3 layers of plastic and gets shipped around the world.
Now 35 years on from my first “awakening” I see the exponential growth of the affect of not addressing the garbage as well as the unconscious disposal of it. “Out of sight out of mind” and a blind trust of authorities.
I believe every single individual has a massive impact through their choices and that each one of us can affect powerful long lasting change.