Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Zero waste

I've made great progress over the last few years in ditching the disposables and trying to reduce the amount of waste I produce.  And I was doing pretty well in only producing a small bag of rubbish every two or three weeks.  Unfortunately, living in an apartment now I have no possibility of setting up a composter anywhere (no garden, no balcony and don't even know anyone who I've been able to persuade to set one up in their garden), which means that I now have a full small bin full of rubbish every week and sometimes twice or three times a week during the height of canning season.  Funnily enough, I've found that the habits I've built up over the last few years are more difficult to break than the habits they were replacing, which I'd had for much longer.  So even after more than four years it still bothers me every single time I throw something in the bin that I know could be perfectly well added to a compost heap.  I've considered trying to get a small wormery going in the kitchen but I don't really have space for it and there is a clause in my rental contract that states that I am responsible for ensuring there are no infestations of insects or bugs.  I've already managed to acquire moths (of the clothes eating variety) and somehow it seems to me that bringing a whole lot of worms into the building might not go down too well.

Germany was probably one of the first countries to introduce rubbish separation and recycling so we have three bins available to us in our building.  One for paper and carton, one for plastic packaging and one for general waste.  I'm also lucky enough to live just across the road from some glass bottle banks, for those bottles that don't have a deposit to be claimed once you return them to the shop.  Once I've separated out all the stuff for those bins I don't have much left to get rid of except for veg peels etc.  Switching from disposables has certainly made shopping a lot easier, too.  No need to remember to buy sponges or dishmops every couple of months, I just use my own knitted cloths.  No need to remember to buy serviettes, I have cloth ones that I bought nearly fifteen years ago that are still going strong.  No need to remember to buy kitchen roll, I have lots of rags and cloths to soak up any spill.  No need to remember to buy toilet roll except once a year or so, I have an old towel cut up into squares that work so much better than paper.  No need to remember to buy sanitary towels, I have my mooncup and washable pads.  And no need to pay for any of those things anymore makes it all even better.

I don't think I'll ever get to the stage of producing zero waste but it's still a goal worth aiming for I think.  Top of my list for the next place I move to, though, is enough outside space to have a small composter or wormery on the go.  Until then, this post marks the end of the April A to Z challenge.  It's been interesting but I'm not really sorry that it's over.  I may take a few days rest from blogging now.  Or I may be back tomorrow already, since it's a bank holiday here and all.  Can't believe it's May already, time is really flying by.  A sign that I'm getting older, apparently.  I like to tell myself that that's balanced out by my getting more childish, though.  You take what comfort you can get, I suppose. :-)


Anonymous said...

Good for you! Your blog is inspiring, and you ended the Challenge on a high note, I stopped composting over the winter, but must return to it now.

Fiona said...

Well done on completing the challenge, it's been a very interesting read!

I'd love to get closer to "Zero Waste"...getting a Worm Farm has been on the "To Do" list forever, I should just do it!

It must be very much more decluttered with re-usable kitchen cloths, sponges etc. Just the packaging from all those items (let alone the materials themselves) really add up.

Anonymous said...

Your reduction in disposable product use is quite impressive! You did an excellent job with the A to Z challenge. I have really enjoyed reading all your posts and feel we as readers have gotten to know your perspective a bit better. I have to admit I will miss seeing a post from you everyday, but I certainly understand that would be a lot to keep up with everyday. Enjoy your bank holiday!