Zero waste has a high barrier of entry

Even in the big city, I believe that zero waste has a high barrier of entry but this story has a happy ending.

Set up

To begin my journey, I spent some sweet dollaridoos on a moon cup, a safety razor, beeswax wraps and a new lunchbox. These items made a significant dent in my weekly budget. A year later, it’s worked out to be financially viable and I don’t need to buy these items again. I tried to not buy anything I wasn’t 100% sure I needed (here’s lookin at you: tongue scraper!). I had to be in it for the long haul with this kit.

Regular shopping

Today, I’m fortunate to be able to eat local, organic, plastic-free wholefoods because the soil here is rich and a portion of my income is expendable. I buy organic nuts and grains entirely package free. It’s easier for me because there are bulk stores within walking distance. Compared to the packaged “dollar dazzlers” at major supermarket chains, I started spending a lot more on food… but then something else happened:

  • I no longer needed to buy beauty or cleaning products.
  • We didn’t need to buy bin liners, cling wrap, aluminium foil and zip lock bags.
  • We learnt how to buy and cook exactly what we need, how to store it and how to make use of scraps.
  • The bathroom cupboard needed little restocking because I was making my own or favouring multipurpose products.
  • I stopped buying goods brand new and learnt to repair instead of replace.
  • We sold items because we no longer had a use for them.
  • We started making more items from scratch like bread and tortillas, which worked out cheaper and more enjoyable.
  • I realised that major supermarket chains charge more for organic produce (beauty standards?) so we saved by going direct to farmer.
  • I have a feeling that organic food is why I’m not getting sick as often, so I’m not buying cold & flu medicine all the friggin time… that’s just a theory… I’ll probably get sick now that I’ve suggested that… *cough*

The steep curve eventually balances out. It gets better. It pays off. It’s worth it. But I ain’t gonna tell you it’s easy.


Instagram-worthy mumbo jumbo

I may have a matchy matchy feed but “Instagram-worthy matching mason jars” and investing in “zero waste essentials” is the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve here. Zero waste is not about buying more stuff. Zero waste is about reducing our waste. Full stop. Times infinity. No take backsies.


Eating kangaroo for environmental reasons.

I haven’t eaten cow, pig or lamb in almost 10 years. Plus, I’ve hardly eaten any meat in the last couple of months. I’m practically vegetarian. I listen to my body and it rewards me when I feed it an occasional piece of quality meat. I’ll aim to eat anything that has a neutral-positive effect on the Australian environment but I still have much to learn. My approach comes with naive hope that Australia will:

  • Favour consumption of over-populated pests;
  • Build up the population of native wildlife through consumer demand; and
  • Reduce meat consumption overall.

No more binge eating 3-4 types of meat from animals that can’t withstand drought. No more “throw another shrimp on the barbie” or highly televised lamb advertisements in the lead up to Australia day. No more “you don’t make friends with salad”. Respect, diversity and control.

Introduced species such as rabbit, camel and water buffalo are over-populated and problematic for our native wildlife. If they were a popular meat, maybe our native flora and fauna would be slightly better off?

Australia has a lush selection of edible plants and tasty native meats such as emu, wallaby, kangaroo and crocodile. Cruelty aside, if we were farming more natives, surely that’s a better use of agricultural land compared to cattle, pig and sheep farming? It could reduce soil salinity, irrigation and land clearing. Maybe the cattle farmers would maintain employment. Maybe more of our land can be focused on re-wilding initiatives and greater biodiversity.

Supporting any form of monoculture (cow, cotton, soy, etc) can have detrimental effects on the environment. I’m not saying this approach is perfect. It’s just another way to look at conscious consumerism. 🙃

For Aussies: Kangaroo steak can be found at @colessupermarkets and @woolworths_au in the ‘Game meat’ section. Occasionally, we can find rabbit, duck and camel too. These are NOT sold package free. Markets and boutique butchers sometimes have alternative meats where you could try to byo container (still working up the courage to do this myself).

I believe that purchasing alternative food is a vote in favour of diversity. 🐄🐖🐑🐓


Lukewarm namaste bullshit

Comment on Earth Haters

“what a joke. hello, it’s not about you, and most people don’t care what you think. But whether you want to “judge” them or not, their actions and inactions have repercussions and victims. Most people aren’t doing their best nor what they can. They’re doing what’s comfortable, convenient and popular—that’s how we got into this mess in the first place. Duh. So tired of this lukewarm, pseudo-spiritual, using “namaste” as punctuation, Crowd-pleasing over Facts, bullshit.”

My response:

“Totally 🙃 I’m all about actions. Check the rest of my feed if you’d like some context. This is in response to the anxiety and paralysis created by how fucked the world is. If we’re going to move forward, we need to break the problems down into digestible chunks. And we need to work together. #namastemotherfuckers”

 


Did you get plastic for Christmas? I did!

Did you get plastic for Christmas? I did! It’s ok. Some of us are early adopters, others need more time. We’re all in this together.

I now know that I can recycle this type of plastic. I am also super grateful as we will enjoy these yummy spice mixes in our cooking. It’s the thought that counts and this was a very kind gesture from lovely people who don’t know much about us. I particularly like that it’s perishable rather than giving us more ‘stuff’ in our home.

We successfully had two Christmas celebrations with minimal gift giving. One family had secret Santa, the other had gifts for kids only. In the past, we’ve driven home with a car full of stuff we don’t need.

Not this time 🙂 .


My beauty goal is contentment.

Truly zero waste beauty requires zero products. This is me with no make up and no hair products. I haven’t straightened my fringe or shaved my pits. I think I look great, but why do I feel like this isn’t work-appropriate? It’s possible to fast track zero waste if you’re confident with your own natural beauty at all times. It’s the “at all times” part that I struggle with.


Progress is perfection to me.

This is progress. Here is our grocery haul from the newly dubbed “anxiety inducing organic shop” @terramadreorganics. I love this store, but I wasn’t surprised that 80% of you answered ‘yes’ to feeling overwhelmed at bulk food stores in general. I get overwhelmed too.


Influence starts with one.

Influence starts with one person. For me, it was my brother, @joeltarling, who said he was trying to reduce the amount of plastic products in his kitchen. He was inspired by his wife, Bec, who I have much to learn from. It all starts with one.


Gender norms and handy work.

Neither myself or my partner are particularly masculine or feminine in the traditional sense. I don’t think anyone is 100% anything. I think we spin in a cycle of different headspaces. I think those headspaces get mistaken for male/female counterparts.


Earth haters

Hello. I just want you to know that I don’t think you’re an earth hater if you drive a car, have children, eat meat, buy new, work a job that isn’t eco positive, don’t buy organic, have a pet, eat dairy, buy packaged goods, can’t finish your meal, don’t pick up rubbish, make an impulse purchase, overuse technology, forget your coffee cup, forget your shopping bags; or take a long shower. I think you’re human. I think you’re doing the best you can. We’re well and truly in the Age of Anxiety. Let’s build each other up. Let’s educate, support and inspire. 💚

If you desire change, consider taking on incremental habits. Change 5 mins of your day until it feels normal. Then change another 5 mins. Don’t stress. We’re all in this together.