I need a (zero waste) ink injection

A while back, I made an observation about the amount of plastic required for tattoos. This realisation tore me apart. Both zero waste and tattoos have supported significant improvements in my mental wellbeing. What’s more confusing is that my tattoos are a celebration of the native bushland that I strive to protect.

I caught up with my tattoo artist and asked her ALL the questions. Credit to her for letting me question her profession. She talked to me about biomedical waste, sterilisation, blood borne pathogens, best practices, poor sterilisation practices, improvements in industry standards, her daily cleaning routine, buying supplies in bulk and health department checks. It was eye opening.

She also gave me some helpful tips to reduce waste when getting inked:

  1. Personally shave the area that you’ll be getting tattooed. It will save a single-purpose plastic razor.
  2. Wear clothing that doesn’t come into contact with the tattoo area. It is better for aftercare and will save excess plastic wrap and paper towel usage. I certainly won’t miss the paper cuff.
  3. Bring a towel. It will reduce the need for paper towels and other physical barriers that collect ink stains.
  4. Avoid expensive clothing. Similar to above, it will reduce the need for paper towels and protection.

One million dollaridoos is destroyed every hour.

Why is Australian money always crisp? Australia’s damaged bank note policy!! One million dollaridoos is destroyed every hour. It’s shredded and melted into pebbles of plastic reused to make building components, plumbing fittings, compost bins and other household and industrial products.

🏦From the reserve bank: “The Reserve Bank of Australia aims to have only good quality banknotes in circulation. This helps to maintain confidence in Australia’s currency by making it easier for people to check the security features on banknotes and make it more difficult for counterfeits to be passed or remain in circulation.
The Reserve Bank works with authorised deposit taking institutions (ADIs) and cash centre operators to remove damaged banknotes from circulation as soon as practicable.”

Something about this feels really conflicting to me. I like that our money is kept as secure as possible. I don’t like how much is being wasted, but happy to hear that’s it’s reduced since the 1990s. I like that our polymer money is easier to recycle, compared to paper money. I don’t like the inefficiency and futility of this as a workflow. Because our money is so familiar, it makes me question everything around me. What else is being deliberately destroyed for the sake of newness? Are there similar policies overseas?

One million dollaridoos is destroyed every hour.
One million dollaridoos is destroyed every hour.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Hmm… Do you want the good news or the bad news first? At 7 months, our progress is really good: At our current rate of waste creation, I’ve estimated that we would fill one landfill bin every 8 months, and one recycling bin every 5 weeks. Previously, it would take 2 weeks to fill both bins.

Our household has 3 people and one dog. One of us is slightly more obsessed with zero waste than the others… Guess who!?  If we were to stop making incremental improvements, this is the rate we’d be at. I think that’s pretty great! I thought it would take much longer to get to this stage. Plus, a lot of the waste we’re still creating is from products we bought before my zero waste rampage. I also love not needing to take the bins out… Now for the bad news… We recently found out that our waste collection service has been cutting corners by dumping recycling into their landfill trucks.

It’s not all the time, but it’s still really messed up. We’ve put pressure on body corporate who are in the process of rectifying everything. I have an inkling/hope that the service provider will lose their very big contract (over 200 dwellings… that’s a lot of wasted recycling!).

Until now, I’d never thought to check how our bins are being collected. I put my trust in the fact that recycling goes to a recycling plant. Every area is a little bit different, so we’ve learnt our lesson to be aware of what happens to our waste after it leaves our home. Another positive from this is that we are even more committed to reducing our recycling waste.