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