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Thursday, 6 September 2018

Zero Waste Week- 2018 - Day Four

Day four of Zero Waste Week  is all about cleaning materials.

This was a topic that came up at Future Planet's Sustainable Living 'Adventures in Zero Waste' event yesterday evening.

It was interesting to hear Kate Arnell, Presenter and Founder of ecoboost, talking about her experience of Zero Waste living. I know that some people think my obsession with minimal waste is extreme so it was nice to hear someone talking about all those things you do, all those decisions you've taken, no matter how big or how small.
One question that arose, was that personal thing about whether she had children. I am just guessing that the person asking, did have children, and felt it was a whole lot harder. I think it probably is but in small steps it is doable. Ours was a gradual process of slimming our bins and changing our habits and probably only really started to get extreme by any sense when my children were in Primary School. But there is no point in worrying about the things we didn't do. It is all about  what we feel we can achieve. I was really pleased all those years ago when my younger daughter came home from school so proud that she was the only person in the school that had a completely zero waste packed lunch. Today I like seeing that my (adult) children have cut open their moisturiser and toothpaste tubes to get every last bit out. I don't mind the collection of toiletries dregs they bring home when they vacate their various student residences.
I like the phone calls about how to rescue food, like the fish and chips about to be binned at an event (the resulting fish cakes were great - and free!).

I feel that there is a theme building with this year's Zero Waste Week. Aspiring Zero Waste or Zero-ish Waste all helps. No need to carry your trash around in a mason jar... just do what you realistically can do.

Will I stop using the miniature shampoos in hotels?

I  think I will mostly start taking my own. If I can carry them home I can carry them there.

I mean, just look at what I am prepared to bring home!

Will I write to the hotels I stay in asking them to consider refills, probably not. Fortunately, when I go to events like Future Planet's inspiring event last night, I feel reassured that some people actually will.
Which brings me onto the subject of consumer power. Businesses will give us what they think we want. How do they decide what they think we want? Through their sales figures of course. If we keep buying cheap rubbish, they will keep producing it. I am a firm advocate of voting with your pound in your pocket. So I was delighted to hear about Buy Me Once, the innovation by Tara Button who is aiming to show case and promote products that last. That's just the kind of thing I want so that I don't have to spend the hours researching products that are made the old fashioned way, i.e. built to last not built in obsolescence. I want to see 'built in obsolescence' become obsolete, don't you? I think Tara Button does too. Although I am mostly a charity shop chick, next time I need to buy something I can't get second hand I will be checking out that Buy Me Once website.

Onto the topic of day four of Zero Waste Week, cleaning.  The question was raised last night about eco cleaning products. Do they work? Someone mentioned the smell and mould problems if using eco friendly laundry products. Kate Arnell said her solution was to wash at higher temperature which, as she said, tends to fill green living lovers with horror. So I shared the advice I was given by the person who repaired my ailing washing machine. He said you need a really hot wash once in a while to kill the bacteria that will otherwise build up. He meant really hot. So every now and then when the sun is out I will wash some sheets at 90 degrees, feeling glad that I am getting most of that energy needed from my solar panels.  Thank you sun! It is definitely less carbon intensive than washing things multiple times and buying a new washing machine every couple of years. The other thing that helps is essential oil. I use a few drops of lavender.

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