This has been the final month 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 1 was Reduce, Reuse and Refill
Month 2 was Share Rather than Own
Month 3 was Saving Energy, Water and Other Resources.
Month 4 was Respect Food
Month 5 was Live Efficiently
Month 6 was Repair and Repurpose
This months challenge was Recycle or Compost
When I started researching this months task, I realized that there is a lot about recycling I did not know. I was not at all educated on it, so it has been really interesting learning more.
I feel like I achieved 3 key things this month:
1) Educated myself
There is so much information available on the internet. I now feel more educated on recycling, understanding the different types of materials that can be recycled, and what is made from recyclable materials. I know what I can recycle, where I can go to recycle things and how to tell what has been made of both recycled material and recyclable material. I thought I already knew what I could recycle, but through educating myself more, I have learned much more. I found the RecycleNow website has a very easy to understand explanation on recycling symbols and what each of them mean. Also because I live in Budapest I researched specifics for this area. I came across this great article that gives many ideas on how to be green in Budapest.
2) Recycled more
As well as being more educated, I am now also recycling more. I have a container under my sink that I keep all my recycling in before I take it to the recycling bins. I live in an apartment block and on the ground floor there are a number of different bins. Non-recyclable waste goes in the green-lid bins, paper and cardboard goes in the blue-lid bins and metal and plastic goes in the yellow-lid bins. Bins are collected once per week. The main issue is that there is no bin for glass as that is not collected for recycling. I have now found out where the glass recycling is and I now take it to the outdoor recycle station, so this is the main addition to my recycling. Also if I wasn’t sure if I could recycle something previously I would bin it, but now I check it online and recycle if possible.
This is a great website that explains what you can recycle that you might otherwise forget about.
3) Bought recycled and recyclable products
This is something I have never considered previously, but by looking at the symbols on the packing (where they exist) you can choose products that are made from recycled or recyclable materials. This is good when you have a choice of brands and one brand is made from recycled materials and one isn’t.
Summary of the entire experiment
This is the last month of the experiment and I have been reflecting on how I have got on over the last 7 months.
The big changes are I now have no car and only use public transport. I will shortly no longer be living on my own but instead with a flat mate. I have also significantly reduced the material possessions I buy, and have bought many things that I needed second hand rather than new. I no longer use carrier bags or plastic knives and forks, I no longer buy shower gel in plastic bottles. I am extremely conscious about turning everything off rather than leaving it on standby, I throw much less food away. I now recycle glass. I have changed the setting I use on my washing machine to the shorter, cooler setting. The main thing is I am more mindful, more aware and more thoughtful about the impact I am having on the environment.
Grow the movement, influence others
Personally I am going to continue learning and doing my bit as much as I can. My challenge is to promote what I have learnt and what changes other people can make. I don’t want to pretend I am a role model, there are still plenty of things I can improve on, but I think what I have shown is that you can make some pretty easy changes that if everyone made would add up to a significant change. All of us are part of the solution and each one of us has an important role to play
To get this started and to spread the word as much as I can, I am teaming up with DoNation and pledging to become a vegan for a week. This might not sound like much, but it will be a significant challenge for me (particularly as I live in Budapest and some vegan options are hard to find) and I am hoping it will help me learn how to make a longer term change. I have included an article about why being a vegan is good for the environment here. I want to encourage all Bestselfology readers to go to my DoNation Campaign and make a pledge.
If anyone is a vegan, or has any vegan recipes, all tips would be appreciated to help me through my challenge. I’d love you to sign up for the DoNation Campaign to contribute yourself, show your support and help to spread the word on what things you can do to make a difference. I’ll let you know how I got on next month.