We are beyond honored to collaborate with Anita Vandyke, author of A Zero Waste Life: a thirty day guide, to offer this 7 day family challenge to reduce waste in the home. Anita's tips go beyond reducing use of "the big 4" and inspire a shift in mindset and behavior for the entire family.
We hope these tips for a 7 day family challenge inspire your family. Small acts change the world, there's no doubt about it!
The 7 day challenge to reduce your waste
My name is Anita Vandyke and I am a former rocket scientist! I am currently a student of Medicine and writing my first book A Zero Waste Life: a thirty day guide. My Instagram account @rocket_science is a visual diary of the changes I was making to transition towards a zero waste life. I was struck by the damage that plastic pollution was having in our oceans, and I felt overwhelmed with scary climate change statistics. The easiest place was to start with my home. By starting small, I finally felt in control of these seemingly ‘out of control’ issues. I want you to feel empowered and see that you can do simple things to reduce your waste. Remember, these small steps have a big cumulative impact!
Day 1: Replace your disposables with reusables - The first thing you can do is replace all your plastic drink bottles with a reusable drink bottle! Other items such as paper napkins, plastic grocery bags, disposable coffee cups can be replaced with cloth napkins, reusable cloth grocery bags and reusable coffee cups. Plastic is a major pollutant of our oceans, that’s because plastic takes hundreds of years to break down and our ocean life mistake it for food!
Day 2: Set up a composting system that works for you – food waste is a major issue! Food sits in our landfills and emits toxic greenhouse emissions. It’s time to compost food scraps instead of sending them to landfill. This might be as simple as sharing a compost bin with your neighbours or even using your local community compost. Do a Google search to see what is around you. Local neighborhoods also have workshops on setting up a compost in your own home. See what is most convenient for you and set up a system so that your food scraps do not end up in landfill!
Day 3: Shop the outer aisles of the supermarket – shopping the outer aisles of the supermarket means that you are buying package-free food. Not only is this better for the planet, it’s also a healthier option for you and your family! The outer aisles are full of fruits and vegetables – Mother Nature has already created her own packaging! No plastic required!
Day 4: Make secondhand your first choice - whenever you need to buy something, try to see if you can buy it secondhand first. Look at local thrift stores, ask neighbours and friends, try eBay - make a good effort to try to buy secondhand before buying new.
Day 5: Head outside! - head outdoors and enjoy doing activities such as hiking, swimming or simply just sitting still and being with nature. By enjoying the outdoors and seeing how amazing Mother Nature is, we can learn to appreciate that every step, no matter how small, is important in helping our planet.
Day 6: Consume less – put yourself on a spending ban! See if you can go one week or one month without buying any clothing, beauty items or accessories. Realising that we have enough and not craving more has been the biggest lesson I’ve learnt. This is something you can teach your family as well. Challenge to get creative on doing things that don’t require spending any money.
Day 8: Reuse and recycle – think of some creative projects for you and your family to reuse and recycle old plastic containers. You can paint or decorate them and make them into treasure boxes! You can also recycle glass jars; this is another great upcycling project – try looking on Pinterest for more upcycling ideas. This is a fun activity to end your week and shows that value of our precious resources.
Anita Vandyke is a qualified rocket scientist (graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering – Aeronautical Space) and runs a successful Instagram account (@rocket_science) about zero waste living.
She currently splits her time between studying Medicine in Sydney, and living with her husband in San Francisco. She regularly blogs about her passions of zero waste switches, minimalism, travel and all things green living. For more information about Anita please visit: www.anitavandyke.com.