01 02 03 Amanda in Waste-Free Land: The Latest Zero Waste Fails, Successes, Attempts and Adventures 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Latest Zero Waste Fails, Successes, Attempts and Adventures

I am going tramping this weekend! Hiking/backpacking/bush walking for all you non Kiwi folk. I am hoping to do this as waste free as possible, however this will be my first attempt and as I still transitioning to this lifestyle there may (will) be shortfalls. As I am not the trip leader I won't be doing the group shopping, however I did make the winning group food suggestion- vegetarian burgers. I know how I can make these waste free (this has become a bit of a staple dinner of recent), so on the next tramp I intend on cooking rubbish free burgers. For my own food I will be packing things I already have in my pantry/fridge, as it is only an over-niter and my pantry is well stocked. I will be packing some items (such as homemade porridge) in Ziploc bags that I already had, as I do not wish to carry extra weight by using a container and I don't have any cloth bags that I can trust to not spill through my tramping pack. I will also be taking the remnants of a tube of toothpaste bought back in May. I have been saving this tube for tramping as it is easier than taking my jar of homemade toothpaste. Next time I will buy Lush Toothy Tabs which I have taken tramping before. These tabs come packaged in a cardboard box and are super lightweight. Alternatively I will take a small jar or container of baking soda or a homemade tooth powder.

I have recently been told "Not everyone can meet your ideals and expectations of food packaging" when I suggested we ask our party guests to bring a "plastic free plate" of food to a party we were hosting. I have realised that while zero waste has been easy for me as I have taken it as a personal religion almost, for others it may not be as easy to break lifelong habits and/or find the extra time to be prepared. I have been reasonably successful in my attempts as I enjoy the challenge and when people question my container/jars/cloth bags. I have had quite a few conversations with cashiers and food vendors about my attempts and their frustrations with the waste from their industry. I've definitely noticed shopping this way is a lot more personable and sociable, and I often break the staff member out of their routine to do something differently. In saying that, a lot of vendors or cashiers don't even bat an eye when I hand them a container, they load up my container with a smile and more often than not give me a little bit extra for free. Or they ask if I want a plastic bag... For me going Zero Waste has absolutely come naturally and I often look back and wonder why I wasn't doing it earlier! I have enjoyed seeing my friends and family change little things like switch to cloth bags or bring their own container, and I definitely don't aim to be the Zero Waste Police (although I do have a Litter Warrant to fine people who litter in Auckland...), really it is the companies we should be getting to change their habits!

Another attempt and near-success I had this week was cheese! I asked at my local Countdown for some plastic-free cheese, and after a bit of explaining as to what I was after the lady at the deli counter said that  if I ask the manager she can put aside a section of the 20kg block that they cut up and wrap in-store on the day it arrives. Fingers crossed this one works out for me, as I am craving hard cheese and last month caved and bought some plastic wrapped. I have been told that Farro Fresh sells cheese at the deli counter that I can get in my own container. They also apparently sell tomatoes in jars, as I have been complaining about not having tin tomatoes anymore as they are plastic lined. Looks like I need to pay a visit to the more gourmet supermarkets in Auckland.

Anyway I need to pack my tramping gear for tomorrow, hopefully the weather isn't too horrendous and I get some great views. I will post an update and mini-tramp review when I get back.

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