What are a family of Green’s to do for their new year resolution?
In 2008, we reduced our weekly landfill by as much as we could. I tentatively thought we might be able to reduce it to one carrier bag per week. After the first week of creating 1 SWING BIN liners worth, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. But with your support and some serious reducing, reusing, recycling and composting, we eventually achieved our target.
For 2009, we decided on the crazy idea of only having our bin emptied once. We emptied it on 31st December 2008 and it will be taken ‘away’ again on January 13th 2010.
Where do we go from here? How can we improve on one dustbin for a year?
Zero landfill waste for 2010
You thought that was crazy, right?
Well ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of the future and cute furry pets prepare to be shocked and amazed.
Yes for this year, 2010, we’ve decided to send ZERO waste to landfill. And to those critics who think we have a mini incineration plant at home with our woodburner, I’d like to point out that it means zero waste to woodburner as well! Yes we burn a small amount of paper or card to get the fire going, but we most certainly do not throw everything on there. If we did that we would have no site, because we would not have any tips or ideas to share with you all.
Just like our namesake we are going to be the zero waste family we’ve always called ourselves.
How to achieve zero waste
Now there are two ways of doing this. First, we can stop buying EVERYTHING that has landfill packaging and become rubbish purists. Unfortunately for this, like most people living an ‘ordinary life’ it will be quite a lot of the things we like to indulge in that would need cutting out of our lives altogether. We will be making some changes to our consumer habits and supporting more and more of the companies, retailers and brands who offer us more sustainable goods, packaging and services. We will be launching our zero waste shopping community site which will be a chance for all of us to give a thumbs up to the ever increasing products, brands and stores that fulfil a zero waste criteria for product packaging. You think twitter is good? Wait to we unveil our new site!
We’ll be saying a hearty NO to some items and keeping others but am I prepared to give up all our favourite products for the sake of our mission?
No freakin’ way!
For two reasons:
First the selfish one: I know what I like and I like what I know. And do you seriously think I’m going to start making my own yogurt on a regular basis??!! I tried it once before, acted very virtuous about it, but soon went back to the shop bought variety; even though I hate having to pack up and send off my empty yogurt pots for recycling.
The second reason is I figured I could simply stop buying products (voting with my money and the like), but I am one of millions of shoppers and to be honest, my actions; by the people who matter, will go unnoticed if I do that.
Dealing with rubbish
So what are we going to do with the inevitable amount of waste that we do create?
The one thing I’m not terribly good at is talking to manufacturers and retailers. Sure I’ll chat to the checkout staff when they ask about our bags, have a conversation with the deli counter assistants and send the odd email, but I’m a bit backwards in coming forwards as they say.
Our Green Resolution this year then, will involve being a little more proactive, a little louder than before and a teensy bit more than just an armchair activist. I’m not about to do too much undressing in the supermarket (although I will if I need to), wave banners in the street or deliver petitions to Downing Street but I will be getting my voice heard, even if it’s through my computer keypad and at the end of the year we’ll be sending back non recyclable packaging to retailers for them to dispose of it. This isn’t passing the buck or absolving our responsibility; a lot of thought has gone into our decision and our mission this year is about raising awareness.
If I start returning non-recyclable packaging or unmarked packaging along with a letter this raises awareness and I believe it can sow the seeds of positive change for the future.
Better labelling and packaging
Hopefully we’ll find during the course of the year that packaging will be better labelled, manufacturers will use more recyclable products and our local recycling facilities will improve.
We have decided we won’t be taking into account any plastic that Little miss green buys with her own money. For more about this, read my recent ‘parenting dilemma‘ post.
So that’s us – zero waste my name and soon to be zero waste by nature.
What about you? What is your green resolution for 2010?
This post is part of the Green Mom’s Carnival (you might remember another of my resolutions is to take part in more internet carnivals!). The topic, hosted by Katy over at Non Toxic Kids is ‘Green Resolutions’.
Be sure to check it out on 11th January to see all the fabulous stories Green Mom’s from across the globe have to share!