"Leveling up" is a great way to approach changes. But doing it slowly and letting changes become part of your life is the key to zero waste success. Read all about my successes and failures on my "leveling up" journey.
I really like the idea of "Leveling up" on your Zero waste. There is always something more you can do, no matter where you are on your zero waste journey to achieve a better result.
Generally speaking I approach things with a very measured approach. So when I want to incorporate better eating habits or exercise into my life I go slow and make changes that I know will stick. Because essentially if you go in guns blazing sometimes you only achieve temporary changes and then you just go back to how you were living before.
Unfortunately, last year I went in guns blazing into Plastic free July! Which meant I ended up failing on a few fronts and felt disappointed in myself.
I lost weight when I found my restricted diet meant that I couldn't eat anything, I became a bit malnourished.
I managed to burn the skin off my head after trying a "shampoo" suggestion. My scalp then became so sensitive, I had two weeks of hives after using the kids shampoo one day.
I became sick. I didn't want to go to the doctor for fear of being prescribed a bunch of stuff in single use packs. I ended up getting so sick I was bedridden with a nasal infection, chest infection, asthma and an ear infection.
I had reached breaking point was when it was suggested to me that I needed to become vegan to be truly Zero Waste.
I lost my Zero Waste shit!
I gave up, went to the shops and bought my first snickers bar in 2 years. I went to Kmart and bought a bunch of crap! Threw my food scraps in the landfill bin then bought the kids McDonalds. LOTS!
Plastic free July BROKE ME. I was out!
Thankfully, I eventually got back on track after about a month.
I tackle things in a more measured way now. I have a mantra of trying things slowly. I have stopped listening to others judgement and I realize that our family do things differently.
There is no way to be perfect, I can only try my best.
The only frustrating thing about what is happening to our planet is that there IS a greater sense of urgency right now, and changes are happening weather we like it or not.
I understand that changes need to be made.
But doing them slowly is the key to success.
About two years ago we started to become more waste mindful. I had been using my reusable bags for years, I have always been a recycler and bought second hand clothing about 80% of the time. I had been making and using my own moisturiser and toner for years.
But I felt it was time to "level up".
I started a compost bin, I started to buy some items from the bulk bins, We started to recycle all soft plastics, I stopped buying glitter for the kids crafts and overall we were being more mindful.
Level 2 ACHIEVED!
Last year I began to bring my own containers to refill items, I brought my glass jars to 'The Source' to refill on occasion. I started to bake a little and I invested in items like stainless steal pegs from Bento Ninja and shampoo from Ethique and Mia Belle.
I found a great butcher in my area that let me bring in my own containers for free range chicken. I bought my fruit from a fruit shop that is 90% plastic free.
I had a slight hiccup that year after Plastic Free July... but I did get back on track.
Level 3 ACHIEVED!
WHAT CHANGES AM I MAKING THIS CHANGE ONE CHALLENGE?
This year I am leveling up again, I am ditching the tea plastic landfill bound tea bags (did you know that most of the tea bags are made with plastic?). I have collected so many glass jars that I am swimming in them and I will be buying from 'The Source', 'Bin Inn' and 'Huckeberrys' more often.
I also want to reduce my landfill bin to one full bin every 3 months.
ALL THE ZERO WASTE LEVELS.
Level 1 -
Recycle, compost, use reusable bags, reduce your outgoing landfill waste by being more mindful, use a keep cup and water bottle, buy metal straws, recycle soft plastics.
Reduce your outgoing landfill waste to one bin every 2 weeks.
Level 2 -
Going without certain luxuries (asking yourself if you really need it). Buy second hand clothes and items, replace single use plastic items like muesli bars and biscuits and bake your own. Buy fruit and vegetables without plastic.
Mend items rather than throw them out, swap your glad wrap with wax wraps. Buy a bamboo toothbrush.
Choose glass, aluminium and stainless steel over plastic packaging.
Reduce your outgoing landfill waste to one bin every month.
Level 3 -
Buy plastic free items in bulk bins, replace items when they run out with better alternatives like compostable teeth floss, baking paper, compostable nappies and cotton buds.
Use reusable items such as reusable nappies and menstrual products.
Clean your house with ingredients from the bulk section like baking soda or just cleaning with good ol hot soapy water rather than cleaning products in plastic containers.
Make a package free lunchbox, go without bin liners.
Reduce your outgoing landfill waste to one bin every 2 months.
Level 4 -
Taking containers to buy meat, reduce your meat intake. Ditch the plastic teabags for loose leaf. Buy all your groceries at bulk bin places, replacing your plastic bottles of soap, face wash, moisturizer, deodorant, shampoo and either refill them, buy in bar form or make your own.
Take your own containers to get your takeaways and lunches in like sushi or muffin break. Grow your own produce, produce swap with other people, bake bread, source your milk straight from the farm in glass or metal jars. Join a food collective so you can buy your food in bulk to spread out the costs and reduce plastic.
Reduce your outgoing landfill waste to one bin every 3 months.
Level 5 -
Reduce your meat intake dramatically, buy consumables like toilet paper wrapped only in paper or don't use toilet paper at all and use reusable, washable wipes. Make your own nut milk.
Only buy clothing made from natural sources like cotton, hemp and merino. Purchase nothing you don't need.
Reduce your outgoing landfill waste to one or two bins a year.
What I imagine Level 10 would be...
Level 10 -
Live naked on an island living a raw plant based diet use leaves as toilet paper and don't have kids lol.
Obviously doing all this all at once is daunting, which is why I like the "leveling up" idea. making changes that stick is what is important.
Because small changes make a big difference.
The Change One Challenge is your chance to join a community of change makers. It is about changing one thing in your life to reduce waste and live more sustainably.
Please join me on The Change One Challenge too. You can find it on Facebook and Instagram where I share tips, products, businesses, articles and blogs.
Please let me know what you are doing to reduce your waste and weather the idea of leveling up works for you.