5 June 2019

Waste-free Sourdough Crackers



I live with a baker now. In January, Oberon set out on a mission to learn to make bread, using our friend Bonnie Ohara's wonderful book, and he did! This has meant lots of yummy warm and fresh bread, and an abundance of sourdough starter in our house again. And the owlets have a renewed interest in baking, and a new activity to enjoy with their Dad.

Also, unrelated to this, but since we started living waste-free, we haven’t bought crackers for almost 4 years. We haven’t really missed them too much, but they’re a nice snack to have on hand. Happily, our abundance of sourdough starter means we have a regular cracker supply once more! And a very quick and delicious savoury treat to snack on. And no waste, while we’re making our food stretch further. Hooray for new skills and new ways to be creative with turning waste into resources.

—————————————
Sourdough Starter Crackers
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

Mix all the ingredients together into a ball of dough. Dust your table surface with a little flour and knead the dough until it’s fairly smooth. Roll the dough flat until it’s only a few millimetres thick (thinner = crunchier). I do this on the back of a baking tray, lined with parchment or greased and dusted. Cut the dough into squares with a knife or pizza cutter, then prick each square with a fork. Drizzle with olive oil and spread the oil gently with a pastry brush. Sprinkle whatever flavours you’d like on top - things like sea salt, sesame seeds, seaweed salt, herbs like rosemary are all great. Bake at 180 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cool and eat with your favourite cheese or dip, or just as they are!

22 April 2019

Smell the Roses & Save the Earth



We're enjoying the Easter long weekend and a few days to slow right down and take time out together with each other and with the world around us. We're always keen to go adventuring, whether it be to visit somewhere new or to revisit a favourite spot and observe changes there. Our most recent adventure was to the bit of land we can see from our kitchen window, on the other side of the river. A totally different landscape to the one we're on, and to many others we've visited. It's soon to be converted to a golf course, so it may not be so easy to visit next time, but I'm glad we made time to visit it this weekend. Days in nature always bring us closer together. 

Stopping and observing nature can be a great educator and motivator for change. And change is what we need! This Earth Day, with potentially a few days off up your sleeve, we reckon one of the best things you can do to get motivated to care for the earth and formulate a plan for how you're going to do that, is to get outside. In honour of Earth Day, here's a little excerpt from our book, where we share some of our favourite things to do in nature, and why. 

.................

We think that one of the root causes of wastefulness in modern society is a 
disconnection from nature. There is a tendency for people to feel (and often be) apart from nature, rather than a part of it. But when we observe nature and see it as something we are connected to and part of, we can begin to view it differently. Research shows that a connection with nature promotes the adoption of pro-environmental behaviours and the most effective way to form a connection with nature is to get out in it. So, as far as we’re concerned, it’s absolutely vital for the future of our environment that we experience nature regularly and we provide meaningful experiences in nature for our children.


You can bring yourself a little closer to nature very simply, by spending time in your garden or backyard, or (if you don’t have a yard) at a local park or reserve. Your children may already spend time interacting with nature, making mud pies, collecting insects and climbing trees – we hope they do! Or you can go on bigger adventures that take you into wilder spaces. In any case, here are some ways to broaden your family’s interaction with and observation of nature, by utilising all of the senses and having a little adventure.

Ecosystem Explorer 
Observing different ecosystems in nature gives us clues as to how we can keep our own home systems in balance and it helps us connect with natural processes and nature in general. Observing an ecosystem can be as simple as wandering outside your back door, or going on an adventure further afield and it’s well worth doing at any time of year.





Go on a fungi walk
Fungi are the unsung heroes of native ecosystems. They’re the ultimate zero-wasters. They help to decompose dead and decaying matter and many species have mutualistic relationships with plants. However, it is easy to walk through a forest and overlook these often small, but beautiful, organisms. The easiest place to look for larger fungi is in a wet forest or rainforest, although they occur in almost all ecosystems. You may even notice some in your garden. Fungi can usually be found at any time of year, although autumn tends to be the best time for viewing. Children tend to spot fungi easily, once they’ve gottheir eye in for them, as their eyes are usually closer to the ground! Take a camera along and see how many species you can find! Our philosophy is to try not to pick or disturb fungi needlessly, so that the next walkers can see and enjoy them!

Hunt for beach treasure 


Our coastlines are a diverse and interesting place, where things can grow and nutrients collect. They can also be where a lot of our waste ends up, both new and old, so you might like to have a beach clean-up. Otherwise, go for a stroll along a beach and see what treasure you can find there! Children adore treasure hunts and while you’re looking, you can check in with the balance and health of this very fragile and important ecosystem.

Evening neighbourhood walk
Our local areas can look completely different at night time and you may be surprised by the wildlife that is living alongside you most nights, if you go for a wander outside your door. Our neighbourhoods can come alive with possums, bats, owls, cats, foxes, insects and so much more. Urban environments especially, can be spaces where certain nocturnal animals thrive and they can even have a hidden connection to us through the waste we create, or the food that we grow. Make sure you’re warmly dressed, grab a torch and some friends and go for a wander around your local neighbourhood. Spend some time being very quiet and listen to the sounds all around you and just observe what’s going on. How many animals do you see? Is there anything you come across that is unexpected?

While you’re outside, flop on the trampoline or grass, rug up and spend some time looking up at the stars. What do you notice? Do you recognise any constellations? Try drawing lines between stars to invent your own constellations! Consider your place on the planet and in the universe. Remember that you are made of stardust. Tell stories, watch for shooting stars, satellites, look at the moon and enjoy the space and peace of the evening sky.


...............

As this year's Earth Day theme is Protect Our Species, you might like to research local threatened species in your area an consider how you can help them. You might also like to spend Earth Day writing to local councillors, political candidates, or businesses to solve problems and create change. After all, Earth Day began in 1970 as a protest movement, and to tackle all the issues this earth faces, we need to create change quickly, and on all levels. 


You can also read about change in our book, "A Family Guide to Waste-Free Living'. It's available in all good bookstores and libraries, or you can find signed copies in our shop. Published by Plum Books. 

8 March 2019

Women and the mental load of waste-free living (+ a soap recipe)



There's an elephant in the room, when it comes to waste-free living. In the majority of households attempting to reduce their waste, it is still largely the work of women. Women often have the desire to make change in practical ways, and carry the burden of researching and strategising ways to implement waste-free shifts in their households. Women and children worldwide are also most likely to suffer the impacts of environmental issues and poor waste-management. It's been well documented that women are at the forefront of the actual day-to-day work of environmental change. Anecdotally, Oberon and I have seen it in the Facebook group we run (Zero Waste Tasmania), where more than 80% of members are women. And across social media, the majority of accounts devoted to the practical business of zero waste living are women. Women are the ones buying our book, although hopefully the men in their lives are reading it and trying things, too, and we've addressed this in the book. Waste-free living doesn't have to be burdensome. In fact, it can be joyful and enriching as you find a closer connection and care for nature. It's even fun! But in our home, it's fun, and not burdensome, because it's shared.

Women carry the mental and physical load of waste-free living, and we need to see that shifted. It has to shift for more of us to be able to make space to take more waste-free living practices on. It was the manufacturing of plastic packaged products and 'convenience' foods that simultaneously gave women freedom from their homes and created the huge environmental problem we face today. Meanwhile, men have, for the most part, carried on as usual, embracing 'convenience' products and being left somewhat off the hook. This has to change, for all our sakes, but especially for our children who will discover the full effect of choosing 'convenience' over responsibility.

But for today, on International Women's Day, I'm going to leave the mental load of pushing for that shift to the men-folk (thanks, Huz), and recognise and celebrate the women who have done so much practical work to care for their families, their homes and our planet. I'm often drawn to think, on such days, of the people who lived on the patch of land where I live, before me. First the muwinina women who cared for it so very well that only a midden and stone fish traps by the foreshore remain as evidence that they'd impacted this land. And then the farmer's wife, who possibly seldom made it to our patch of the orchard while she tended her home and garden. Or the housewife who lived here before us, who saw fit to install lots of small cupboards for their preserves, which inspired me to think about filling them with preserves of our own.

While we were in the process of compiling recipes for our book, I visited my Mum's place and she pulled out a couple of notebooks she'd had stored away. Simple notebooks featuring beautiful handwriting, on plain, lined paper, yellowed now from age. The pages were filled with recipes and notes, taken by my two grandmothers, who began them as young, newly married housewives. They began writing them towards the end, and immediately after WW2, and both notebooks reflect how they were striving to stretch their resources further when they were required to keep their homes running, and families fed, on very little. It was a time when food was rationed, Victory gardens were encouraged, and wasting food was illegal or very much frowned upon. And women bore the brunt of that work.



As I turned the pages of hints & tips, so often shared by friends or in newspaper articles, government publications and magazines in a time before Google, I found many that looked like the handy hints we've come to know and love, in our waste-free living travels. But one of my favourites as I flicked through, was my maternal grandmother's method of using up all the old soap ends to make new soap. I snapped a photo so I could bring it home to try. I never met Doris, my mum's Mum. So having a little routine of hers in our own family rhythm seemed like a wonderful idea. So we saved up the soap ends, and gave it a try.



I had to do a little tweaking and estimating to quantify things like how many soap ends a family might make in 3 months, or how big a small cup or her pie dish might be. But we got there in the end. I was delighted to share the making of it with Little Owlet, and I'm happy to say it worked well. And so we have olive oil scrap soap in our home, stretching our resources further, and creating a beautiful product from old, as my grandmother did. Here we've shared the recipe, as you can find it in our book. It's one that's dear to our hearts. 

MAKE THIS :: Olive Oil Scrap Soap

What you'll need:
1 cup soap ends
1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for oiling 
soap mould - a small glass baking dish works nicely
1 cup water

STEP 1
Grate the soap ends and place them in a
saucepan with water. Make sure the water just covers the soap. 
STEP 2
Place over a medium heat and stir well until
the soap fragments have dissolved.
STEP 3
Remove from the stove and add olive oil,
stirring well.
STEP 4
Beat well with a whisk and, while the
mixture is still warm, pour it into an oiled
dish or mould.
STEP 5
When the soap block is completely cold,
turn it out onto a board and cut it into
squares.
STEP 6
Leave your new soap bars to harden for
a few days before using. 

........ 

Our book 'A Family Guide to Waste-Free Living' is available in all good bookshops (including ours!), and libraries now. Published by Plum Books and featuring photographs by Natalie Mendham, who also took the first picture in this blog post. 

~ Lauren. xx

5 March 2019

The one where we wrote a book





 Last Friday, we held a very special celebration in one of our favourite bookshops. Family and friends where there, and the place was bursting with supportive folks. Then we answered some questions and signed our names... It felt a bit like our wedding day! Only, we both had headset microphones, instead of a celebrant, our friend Hannah (from Good Life Permaculture), led us in conversation under the watchful eye of our three children, and we signed our names several times over, in copies of our very own book! And so this rather large side-project we've been keeping to ourselves all this time, was launched and sent on it's way, with big hopes and dreams that it will help to make a difference in this world of ours.

How did it come about? Two years ago, we were contacted by a publisher who suspected we might have a book to write about waste-free living. We agreed, and set to work (through a long winter and a flu season that has now become family legend), and we photographed, edited and finished the book, only to see our publisher fold in the week it was due to go to print. Fortunately, the very wonderful Plum Books rescued our project, and turned it into this magnificent book that arrived on our kitchen table just a few weeks ago. There was much whooping and cheering, and a r
ound of applause because this little labour of love is just as much the work of our children as it is ours.


Why a book about waste-free living?  Because we want to take personal responsibility for the waste we create, the legacy we leave, and what we normalise for our children. In a world heading for environmental destruction, its vitally important that those who can, do. That we curb the trend of overproduction and waste. That we stop draining the earth's resources. And in a political climate where decisions are being made that hinder the protection of our environment, it's an act of hope to work against and outside the societal structure that creates wasteful systems. We're voting with our wallets, and with our time. It feels joyful and we (and our children) can sleep a little easier at night. Waste infiltrates every aspect of our lives, and working to live without it, as individuals and communities, can go a long way towards creating the kind of positive change this world needs.

‘A Family Guide to Waste-Free Living’ is a collection of our favourite recipes, information and handy hints all in the one place. It’s the book our kids will take with them when they leave the nest. It’s filled with recipes from our mums and grandmothers. And it’s filled with hope. Beginning with tackling food waste, to packaging and household waste, and then how we approach waste in our interactions with friends, family and the broader community, the book has a gentle structure that can be followed (it's actually the process we followed when shifting towards waste-free living), or it can be dipped into as needed. We called it 'A Family Guide...' rather than *The* Family Guide, because it's our process and what works for us. It isn't prescriptive. But it's our hope that readers will find their own path with it, personalise it and make it their own.


One happy reader, who picked up a copy at the launch, said this about it: ".... Get the book. Get it. It's so wonderful- a cheerful little guidebook for regular folk (families and singles and couples) to ditch plastic and other packaging and by-products, connect with community and care for the environment. There's no preaching, there's no greenwashing. There's also no fear. So, it's really readable and the tips are doable. I'm going to share more of it this week because every time I find a moment to steal I read another random page of it and smile." 

Our book is available now in all good bookstores and libraries, and if you’d like a signed copy, you can pre-order one from our little shop, Spiral Garden, and we’ll post it to you.



Huge thanks to all at Plum Books and Pan Macmillan for publishing our book and helping it make its way in the world. Thanks also to brilliant Tassie photographer, Natalie Mendham, for the beautiful photos. And to Michelle Mackintosh for the beautiful design, Chris Middleton for the excellent cover photo, and to the always wonderful Costa Georgiadis for setting aside time to read the book and provide a beautiful foreword. We're still pinching ourselves that we've been given this opportunity, and that people are finding it practical and enjoyable to read is a massive bonus. Go well, little book!






















~ Lauren. xx

9 October 2018

Waste-free life: when the stove breaks



One of the less talked about aspects of waste-free-living is how to deal with large household appliances, and the waste associated with them. Electronic waste from things such as discarded televisions, fridges, mobile phones, dishwashers, ovens and small appliances all add up to a big amount of ‘stuff’ to manage at the end of the life of those items (approx. 73kg eWaste per year for the average Aussie household). The rise of eWaste has many drivers; one being the planned obsolescence trend, encouraging people to buy the new model and throw away the ‘old’ one, and the availability of interest free deals, as well as the trend in poorer quality electronic items being made. Large whitegoods used to last for over 20 years, but these days new models will often have a much shorter life spans of only 2 to 5 years. 

We've had the opportunity to really examine our e-waste this past 18 months, with most of our larger appliances slowly dying. It's been an expensive and thought-provoking time. Each time something has broken, the decision-making process has had a slightly different outcome, which reminds us that there's no one correct fit for every family and situation.

Our flashy electric Euromaid oven stopped working properly in January. It was only about 5 years old, and the second one we'd had in that time, as the door fell off the first one while it was still under warranty. We watched, horrified, as they casually wheeled a new stove in to replace a small broken hinge. And so this time, we faced the dilemma of what to do next. As usual, we referred to the to the waste hierarchy (Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle...) to help us formulate our plan, and here's how it went:

Refuse – We couldn't really refuse the oven in this case. We need ‘something’ to cook our food in/on. We reframed our thinking around cooking and energy use, and explored the option of buying a sturdy wood-fired stove and oven (i.e. refusing a standard electric one), which could be set up to heat our water and heat our home. The pros were low energy bill, great heating, and having an appliance that was likely to last for decades, avoiding planned obsolescence. And there's just something about a wood stove... The cons were the high initial cost, the increased time needed to maintain a wood cooker, the difficulty the owlets might have in learning to cook on a wood stove and how that might translate once they left the nest, and the layout of our house meant a retrofit to wood cooking was not ideal. There was also uncertainty around the efficiency (or potentially harmful impacts) of wood, versus the availability of hydroelectricity (another renewable source) from the main grid. After much research and consideration (and a little sadness!), we decided against that option.


Reduce -  In this case, we couldn’t really reduce from one oven without not having one at all. But, for these past 9 months we have reduced, to an extent. We continued to use the tiny top oven/griller as best we could (as the main bottom oven was broken), and we used the still-functioning stove top. This did mean that we were a little bit hampered in what we could cook and in the amount of cooking we could do at any one time. No homemade pizzas or big batches of biscuits. No baked dessert!  Or if we did want to cook those things, we needed to have the oven on for longer to cook multiple foods, which would be less energy and time efficient. In our waste-free day to day, the oven is an important tool, as so many things are prepared from scratch. Not having a functioning, large oven was making things not so easy. The final straw was when the inner walls of the small working oven fell away!


Reuse (and repair) - When we had a repair person out to look at the broken oven and dishwasher (which we couldn't repair either and decided not to replace), the quotes we received for fixing the oven suggested that the cost of repair would be almost as much as the cost of a new oven, with no certainty of longevity even after repair.  This was where we learned about the short expected lifespan of many new models – most are made from cheaper-quality components and not designed with repair in mind (or models where replacement parts are only available if expensively bought from overseas). We were assured that 5-6 years is a decent innings for an appliance these days.

After a little more research, we found a local business that takes broken second-hand kitchen appliances and repairs them for resale. In the case of stoves, we discovered they only really take Westinghouse ovens, as these are one of the few brands that can be easily repaired in Australia. For example, switches on Westinghouse ovens have been known to blow after some years of use, and many people discard the whole unit, instead of paying the $70 or so for a replacement switch. Also, many units are discarded when rental homes change tenants, or when home owners want to renovate or ‘upgrade’ the kitchen. So, we found a model that suited us and got it delivered and installed for less than half the cost of buying and installing a new model, and less than it cost to repair our old stove.

Recycle - An electrician came and took our broken oven away. The old unit will be used for parts, and what’s left will go to scrap metal recycling (Recycling being lower down on the waste hierarchy). The secondhand unit that we bought even comes with a 3-months parts and labour warranty, so we've got a little time to see how well it works and test it out.


The Verdict
We were happy that we could buy secondhand. It made sense for us to support a local business that had established because the owner was sick of seeing so many appliances go to landfill, and sought to address that. Sometimes going to those superstores like Harvey Norman just feel so at odds with our efforts to reduce waste. With our second-hand unit, we can avoid the waste associated with the production of a brand new appliance. We avoiding the transport waste (fuel) to ship a new appliance (or its components) from overseas. We avoiding packaging associated with a new appliance (usually polystyrene, flexible plastic, some rigid plastic tags or guards, and a big cardboard box). That waste tends to be out of sight, until the new appliance is inside your home.

We chose a model that we understand to be relatively fixable, that we could afford (and find). There are higher-end models that are repairable, but then you have to weigh up the cost of the appliance with the cost of repair (which might be expensive for fancy European models). We also chose a model that's a little smaller and more efficient to run than our previous model. It looks as if the oven and griller have never been used. It's sturdy, unlike many of the new stoves we saw available new, and like every stove we've ever cooked on in every rental property, and even this home for the first 5 years. It's cute and certainly a little bit retro (harkening back to the era when our house was built), and seems like a downgrade from the stove we had before. It's a little juggle to fit all the pots, but it's doable and the oven is the same size as before. It has fewer bells and whistles than most new stoves you can buy, but we see that as a good thing. No clock to struggle with at daylight savings time. No specialty settings. A light that turns on with a switch, and a timer that works when you turn it and doesn't require a full understanding of the manual. The owlets love hearing it go 'ding' when the cake is ready. And it's as clean as a whistle!

What We Learned
As usual, the waste hierarchy was useful in working through the problem of replacing a broken appliance. Beyond the Rs, we find it also helps to think about the hidden waste - the energy used and waste produced in getting the prospective item to you, and what waste might result when you’re done with it. If you can, look for secondhand, look for locally made, look for durability and repairability, look for good energy-efficiency, and consider functionality (does it meet your needs?) – you may not need all the bells and whistles! And, always look for recycling services, if you have electronic waste that is beyond repair or reuse. Apparently the Victorian Government intends to ban eWaste to landfill by 1st July 2019. We're hoping that Tasmania will follow suit. Ideally, we'd love to see businesses being more transparent about their products' planned obsolescence, so we can avoid so much waste in the first place. Until then, it's a task of assessing each situation as it arises and often making some compromises before finding a solution that works for your wallet and your practical needs.
  

~ Oberon & Lauren.

23 June 2018

No time for baby steps: Zero waste is not a journey


Time and again we hear the shift towards a different way of living described as a "journey". Changes  seen as something that might take months, or even years to work towards, with tiny changes in habits made each week, or within an arbitrary timeframe. Through the choices our family has made over the years, I'm pretty sure we've described a few different shifts in this way ourselves. But our experience of waste free living has highlighted for us why we feel like the baby steps, long, slow journey approach may not be the best way to tackle taking responsibility for the waste you create. The thought of moving towards zero waste living as a years-long, or even lifelong journey, is downright disheartening. It can make it seem like an unattainable goal, when really the shift is quite simple at its core. The earth needs us to speed things up a little, and we believe that's totally achievable for many people. Reframing how you approach it can make all the difference. 

Towards the end of her life, my dear Nana gave up smoking. I suspect she already had advanced lung cancer by then, so it was the thought of breathing a little easier and not struggling through another winter cold with a raspy cough that convinced her. And possibly a stern word from her doctor. Nana was a force to be reckoned with, and when she decided to do something, she did it. Just like that. And so she quit smoking one day, cold turkey. She was almost 80 years old. It was somewhat bittersweet the day Nana realised how easy quitting would be. "Oh, I thought it would be hard and take months, and I'd have to join one of those program things. I'm not a joiner!" Nana said. But once she'd made the decision to quit, she found it quite simple, taking each day as it came, and she wished she'd done it decades earlier. Fear of the journey meant she missed meeting her first great grand-daughter (Big Owlet) by six months.

I sometimes wonder if it's this fear of the journey that holds many of us back from committing to making straight forward changes, like reducing the plastic we've come to rely on in our homes. It alls seems too daunting. We don't want to deal with the length of time it will take to work out all of the things we'll need to do, and how hard it will be to learn and remember new habits. I know this is what had been holding our family back from making the leap. Not really understanding how best to approach zero waste living, or what our life would look like without the weekly supermarket trip or online delivery. It all felt like an expensive, uphill battle. And so we chipped away at it and thought about it slowly, still forgetting our cloth bags most times and still lamenting the things we felt we couldn't change.

It took a little nudge towards commitment to get us to rip the bandaid off and try waste free living. We audited all our waste, spent a week researching, and then dived right into to two weeks of living waste free. That was one full pay cycle, and felt like enough time to get the day to day workings of it in place. We put all the things we couldn't buy at a bulk foods shop, butcher or green grocer on lockdown, and lived like they didn't exist for those two weeks. What we discovered, somewhat sceptically at first, was that our shopping budget remained the same, our quality of life remained (and was even better then before), and this thing we'd been putting off, or considered approaching in tiny increments, was actually achievable all at once, when we approached it wholeheartedly.

We discovered that zero waste living isn't a journey, it's a simple decision, made over and over again. 




Every day you make hundreds of choices about where you shop, or what you consume, and how. You choose that single use straw, or you refuse it. You choose that single use coffee cup, or you bring a cup from home. You choose to buy a packet of biscuits instead of making them. You choose. We all do. If each time you choose to buy or consume something potentially wasteful, you ask yourself the simple question; "Am I willing to take responsibility for consuming this product, and the waste it creates?", the way forward becomes very simple and clear.

There are times when the decision to consume that potentially wasteful thing is absolutely valid and justifiable, and there should be no guilt felt during those moments. We each have different situations and life circumstances where potentially wasteful products are necessary to keep us going, and if you're facing that situation, then your decision is obvious. Describing zero waste living as a "journey" makes the choices that seem contrary to a waste-free approach to be setbacks along a linear path. When really, they are not. They are just choices you need to make, that are right for you at that time. At other times, where there are valid alternatives you can access, those are the times where your choice to live waste-free guides all the little choices you make. And it informs all of your choices throughout the day, until your entire week can be counted in resources, compost and lived experiences, rather than who's putting out the bin.

Possibly the biggest fear when it comes to leaping into zero waste living (and often a reason for the baby steps approach), is the perceived cost. It's an understandable concern. We hear: "Bulk food shops seem expensive! Oats cost $4/kg at the bulk foods shop and $1.50 at the supermarket! That's unaffordable!". On the surface, that seems correct.  But in our experience, buying everything without packaging, and making food and household products from scratch means the costs even out. You're more likely to buy what you need, rather than surplus servings, and you're less likely to impulse buy those biscuits when the packaging and advertising isn't there to entice you as you wander the aisles. If you continue to buy that expensive deodorant or toothpaste, rather than making your own for a fraction of the cost, then spending more on oats does absolutely seem out of the question. But if your entire shopping approach has changed, and you're embracing waste free living in a wholehearted way, it's quite possible that you can afford more on certain products while spending less on others. You may not see how that balances out without doing some serious sums, or jumping right in.

Many of the more successful zero wasters, those who have managed to embrace zero waste living effectively and for the long term, will tell you their change in lifestyle began as the result of a commitment. Either a challenge set externally, or by themselves. And they looked beyond the challenge to incorporate more change into their lives. It's that all in, wholehearted approach that helped them along. And then once they got started, the momentum propelled them forwards until there was no looking back. That's been our experience, and it could be yours too. The world can't wait for bans to take effect and for baby steps towards reducing plastic and household waste to catch up. It needs solutions now (most of them exist), and we are each of us responsible for those tiny choices we make every day. Are you ready to make the leap?

If you'd like to set yourself a challenge to help you leap towards waste-free living, we'd recommend joining Plastic Free July. Tackling plastic will help you address one of the more wasteful aspects of modern living, while giving you the kick start you need to make the waste-free shift in other areas of your life. If you'd like to tackle the whole lot in one go, try joining our Zero Waste Families eCourse, which could see your family move to waste-free living in four weeks. 

~ Lauren. xx