Zero Waste

Today is EARTH DAY!!! Because of that, I wrote a special post on WASTE!

Zero Waste

Ok, so the other day, I came across an article about waste. It was about a woman here in the Netherlands and she tried to heavily reduce her waste. She was inspired by the book ‘Zero Waste Home’ (I believe that that is what the book is called… It is! I have such a good memory =D). If you want a copy of the book, scroll down to the bottom of this post, click one of the links depending on where you live and buy the book!). The writer of that book only had a quart-size jar filled with waste. And that was ALL her waste over just 1 year! 1 YEAR!!!! At first, I was like: WHOOOOOO, COOL!!! Then, I was like: WTF?!? That’s impossible!

I am a woman and I have my period every month. Sorry to bother you with that information but A) it’s true and B) you could have figured that out yourself. Now, you might be thinking: ew! WTF does that have anything to do with this article?!? Well, I don’t know about you, but if you’re a woman, I assume you have more waste than a quart-size jar from your periods alone. Whether you are using tampons or menstrual pads. So I had to check how she had done this because Bea (the writer) has a family of four, I believe. I got myself a copy of the book and started scanning it. And yes! My tampon-question was in there! You can throw it on your compost-pile (is that even a word?). I was unaware of this and immediately started my search on Google. Alas… this was not allowed in the Netherlands. Tampons and menstrual pads are supposed to be thrown in your trash can.

So here’s how it works in my municipality:

We have separate bags for all kinds of plastic. I have just learned that not everybody in this country has that opportunity but if you do, you can put it in a “plastic hero”-plastic bag and once every two weeks, it will be picked up at no charge.
We have a separate bin for paper. This is picked up free of charge once a month.
Next, we have special places where you can bring your glass to. Whether it is broken or not, white, green, brown, bottle, jar… it doesn’t matter. Glass can be brought there. No charge.

Then, there are places where you can “dump” your old clothes. It doesn’t matter whether they are torn or not. If they are torn, they make cleaning rags out of them. No charge for this either. So good clothing we don’t wear are brought to the charity shop, the rest is dumped in a container.

We also have a special bin for compostable stuff. This is picked up every other week or every week (depending on the season). This is free of charge as well.

There are also places where you can bring your cans, old iron pots, etc. Also free of charge.

Also batteries, old light bulbs, etc. can be dumped in special bins that can be found at various stores.

So what’s left, is dumped in another bin. We call it ‘rest’. So that basically the ‘anything-you-cannot-hand-in-for-free’-bin. These are, like the compost-bins, picked up either every week or every other week. You do have to pay for this one. You either have a bin for this or you can buy special plastic bags (every municipality has its own colour. If it’s not in this special bag, they won’t pick it up). The bags can be bought in the supermarket and the bins have a barcode that is scanned every time it is picked up. I don’t really know how it works but that’s it in a nutshell.

I know that lots of people don’t really bother separating their trash. We do and we only have 1 bag of ‘rest’ per 6 to 9 months TOPS!

I have been busy with my spring cleaning (which is taking forever) and I am really shocked at how much junk we have. I have cleaned out half of the shed and for that alone, I had 9!!!!! bags full of plastic. Just plastic alone!  And these are not just tiny plastic bags. This picture right here will give you an estimate on how big these bags are.

Ok, so back to the book. This woman does provide lots of very good tips which I will try. Not all of them, but I will give some of them a go. She reduces a lot of waste by:

Refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling and something else that starts with an ‘R’. (edit: that would be Rot 😀 a.k.a. compost DUHHH) For example: she refuses plastic bags in a supermarket. She takes her own bags, jars, etc. to the market, stores, etc. and let people fill these with whatever she needs. I think I can certainly give this a try. Unfortunately, I do not have excess to all the things Bea describes. And the buying vegetables here at the market is pretty expensive. There was a good and fairly cheap stand before, but since several months, there’s another greengrocer at the market and he is pretty expensive. Since I barely have any money to begin with, this is not an option for me. I have to get the cheapest, otherwise I just cannot afford it.

Other things Bea describes in her book is how to make your own cosmetics, cleaning sprays, etc. Now, I am all about this one! I am trying to move towards a non-toxic lifestyle. So, I am slowly bringing this into my life.

Another tip Bea gives us is: DUMPSTER DIVING!
Read about how to dumpster dive by clicking this link.

I am not really sure what to think about this. It sounds gross but I have seen someone do this on… errr.. extreme cheapskates? It didn’t look that bad BUT! It is pretty much impossible here. Dumpsters are either locked because other people might throw their own trash in the restaurant’s dumpster or they are behind an enormous gate. So not accessible.

So what do you think of this book and do you have a lot of waste? Do you separate your trash? Let me know in a comment down below.

And, as always, take care and I’ll see you next time!

To by the book on
Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste
or on
Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

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