See these bins? My whole life revolves around putting as little as possible into them. Yep, including the recycling bin. This is known as a Low Waste Lifestyle and is based on eliminating single use packaging as much as possible.
Why? Because there is no such thing as ‘away’ and single use packaging puts a mammoth demand on precious resources for an extremely short lived (and arguably selfish) product.
Did you know plastic is made from oil? And did you know oil is made from ancient plankton that died millions of years ago, which is not self renewing? Did you connect that each piece of paper or cardboard used to be a tree, which would have provided a home, shelter and protection for many species.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know how blessed we are to have modern day luxuries that stem from mining, oil and gas and other natural resources, but I also believe these incredible resources produced from the Earth should be respected and held in the highest regard… not just turned into short term pleasures to be disposed of, in turn creating mass pollution on this beautiful planet we are lucky enough to call home.
I used to believe I was a good Earth Citizen because I used the right bin to dispose my waste and I trusted that once my bins were conveniently picked up from my roadside kerb, that waste had minimal impact on the Earth, animals or people. But then I got educated. I went to Uni, I worked as a Health Specialist in the Mining, Oil and Gas Industries, I worked at Waste and Recycling Facilities and I worked as an Environmental Officer for local Government.
I’d always been passionate about Sustainable Living, but I hadn’t paid too much attention to Waste – I thought recycling was the answer. But I now know it’s not. I now believe finding better reusable, sustainable solutions to single use packaging is the answer, and I’ve dedicated my life to the cause.
I found that by focusing on reducing my waste I could significantly improve other areas of my life that I was also passionate about, such as:
- Improving my health because I started making everything from scratch from whole ingredients.
- Improving the Earth’s health by putting less chemicals down the drain and into landfill + lessening my chance of environmental packaging pollution that can harm wildlife.
- Improving animals health and wellbeing by not buying products that have been tested on animals.
- Saving money by growing my own, buying second hand, upcycling old and pre-loved items.
- Obtaining clarity by decluttering my life and living minimalistically.
- Feeling proud that I was being part of the solution and that my lifestyle was not a contributing factor to more mines starting up.
And the list goes on..
Living a Low Waste Lifestyle requires you to adopt some back to basic, old school principles – you know, like what was normal for our grandparents. And honestly, it’s so bloody rewarding when you find a new solution that mixes old school ways with new world technologies.
To me, this is really about balance. I want my lifestyle to not only take from the Earth, but also to give back.
Although I would love all companies and people to care about Low Waste Living, I also know that is unrealistic. So, my only option is to start with me first and change my own life to fit my Low Waste Values. Does that mean I’m perfect and never use single use packaging? Absolutely not! I’m no saint, but I am committed to doing better and improving one step and solution at a time.
Low Waste Living is a personal affair that is evaluated by improving on your own personal best. The goal is long term lifestyle change via continual baby steps of improvement.