This is month 2 of my 7 month experiment changing my lifestyle into one aspiring for zero waste, making small changes on a month by month basis, until I have completely changed my habits using the ‘We Hate To Waste’ 7 steps to create a no waste mindset. Month one was reduce, reuse and refill and month 2 is Share Rather than Own.
I have continued with all the things that I was doing in month 1 and that feels like they have really been embedded as habits now, which is great. I have detailed below how I got on under Share Rather than own.
1) Only buy second hand
Having set myself the challenge of only buying second hand, I actually got through the month not buying much at all. I found that when I changed my mindset, I just didn’t think about shopping or making any purchases and wasted no time on this area at all.
The only thing I bought at all last month was a bike lock. I cycled to the park for a run and when I got back to my bike someone had cut the bike lock (although luckily left the bike) meaning that I needed to buy another one. I went to my local bike shop and asked them if they had any used locks and they had. The benefit of this was that I got a much better lock for a much cheaper price, so I was super happy. Other than that I didn’t buy any material possessions this month.
2) Have a clear out of my clothes and take them to a charity shop
I sorted out my whole wardrobe and put all the clothes that I don’t wear any more into a charity bag. I am taking them back to the UK with me when I go and will give them to a charity shop there.
3) Don’t give any material gifts
I started a tradition for Christmas a few years back that I would not buy gifts for my friends and family, but rather give them experiences. This month I bought my brother tickets to go and see a show and I bought my friend Sarah dinner and drinks rather than getting them material presents. I think experiences are much more valuable that material gifts.
4) Share books
I took all my books to work and started a library in the office. I have also encouraged others to do the same. I have already started getting feedback from people who have enjoyed the books, which is great.
5) Share a ride
This was probably my biggest achievement this month as I decided rather than using my car, I would take public transport and actually give my car back. Living in Hungary having a car is an extravagance as the public transport is so good. I bought a bike that I found on the Facebook Site Used Bikes in Budapest and now I commute to work using the metro and get around Budapest on my bike.
I think there is more I could do in this area of sharing and I will continue to look into what more I can share. I am going to continue to try and not buy anything new, only buying second hand and see how long I can keep that up.
Next month’s challenge is Save water, energy and other resources. This is about cutting down on the amount of resources you waste. Many people don’t consider the amount of precious resources that are used to produce goods. There is so much you can do under this one I have listed some of the main ones below, but the We Hate To Waste site has an even more detailed breakdown:
Turn off the lights
Make sure you don’t have all the lights on, turn them off when you are not using them. Use light dimmers rather than rely on a large ceiling light, use the natural light where you can, for example move your desk near a window.
Turn off the air conditioning
Depending where you live in the world this might not be so relevant, but rather than living on AC, try opening a window and let the breeze in or if that doesn’t get you cool enough try using a ceiling fan. If it’s really hot one tip you can follow is cool the room down using the AC, then turn the ceiling fan on to keep it cool, rather than having the AC on all night.
Wear a jumper
If you live in a colder climate or it is currently winter, rather than having the heating cranked up at all times, try wearing a jumper indoors.
Stop the standby
Turn your appliances fully off rather than having them on standby, this will save electricity and your pennies!
Use a 30 degree wash
The next time you wash your clothes using the washing machine, have it on 30 degrees, and see for yourself how well it washes the clothes.
Use a clothes horse
Rather than using the tumble drier, hang your clothes on a washing line outside if you have space, if not try using a clothes horse, an added benefit is that it makes your room smell of fresh laundry.
Ditch your car
Instead of using your car, walk or cycle. There are bike sharing schemes in most major cities now which allow you to take a bike from point A and leave it at point B. You get a great workout at the same time as getting where you need to be. If you can’t cycle use public transport. The train is fast and easy, and you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic. If driving is a necessity, see if you can set up a carpool, to ensure you are not in the car on your own.
Meat free Mondays
Did you know that every pound of beef you eat took 2500 gallons of water to make? To cut down on consuming embedded water, participate in Meat Free Mondays and eat vegetarian as often as you can.
Turn off the taps
Turning the taps off while brushing your teeth, shaving, and washing your face are simple habits to save water over a lifetime.
Use a bucket
Try placing a bucket in the shower to catch some of that water that you waste whilst waiting for the shower to heat up. You can reuse it for something else like watering the plants.
SAVE PAPER & WOOD
Stop unwanted mail
To cut down on unwanted ads, simply put a sign on your postbox that says: NO ADVERTISEMENT OR JUNK MAIL!
Most banks offer a paperless banking option and will send you e-mail receipts for all your transactions. Look for ATMs with envelope-free deposits too!
Cut down on paper waste by printing double-sided. Re-use paper that has a blank side not already written on.
Save your coffee sleeves
If you buy a cup of coffee every morning from your favorite coffee place, you would use 365 coffee sleeves in one year. Instead of tossing your sleeve, keep it handy to reuse the next day. Even better get yourself a coffee cuff which is an alternative to a paper sleeve that you can use every day. Even better again, get yourself a reusable cup and ask for the coffee to be put in that.
Limit the packaging
Buy from shops that cut down on packaging. Lush Cosmetics sells many colorful ‘naked products,’ keeping packaging down to a minimum. Buy your products from a market and put them straight in your reusable bag, rather than the supermarket that has lots of unnecessary packaging.
SAVE ON PACKAGING
Swap shower gel for a bar of soap
If you use soap instead of shower gel, it comes with no packaging other than the paper it’s wrapped in and each bar offers the same amount of usage as a bottle of shower gel, plus it is much easier to get the last drop of the product!
GET THE LAST DROP
Don’t let a single drop go to waste. Use up 100% of the product! The most common household products have probably travelled thousands of miles to get to your home we need to make sure we use up products completely.
This article is already quite long as there are so many opportunities in this area, so I’m not going to list out everything I am going to aim for, I’m going to try and incorporate as much of the list as I can into my daily routine. As always I’ll let you know how I get on in next months article.
If you have any advice, hints or tips, please let me know if the comments below.