Road to #ZeroWaste: May & June

Zero waste grocery shopping. I used those plastic takeaway containers to buy cookies and seafood!

It’s the second and third month since I learned about zero waste. I have to admit, some parts have become routine to me, but I am also facing new problems like where to throw my trash when I don't have plastic. I've resorted to using plastic that came from food packaging like from sugar or flour or from postal packaging. Since I don't have a compost, half of my trash are food stuff like fruit peelings, eggs etc.I would leave it for as long as possible in the kitchen and sometimes those really tiny flies like to hang out, which I hate.

My 3-day trash

Sometimes I get messages from people telling me that they are also inspired to start being zero waste. But they are overwhelmed by the concept. How is it possible to be zero waste? How is it possible to use NO plastic?

My honest thoughts right now? It’s impossible. Even people who preach this lifestyle, have waste. It might be in a jar, but it’s still waste. You might think they have no plastic in their life but there is.

When people get overwhelmed, I always tell them to start with saving one plastic a day, which will accumulate to saving 365 plastic a year alone. It's the little push that matters. Some people online are so criticising, even after you’ve used your reusable tote bag and your own produce bag, somehow they still want to question you about the plastic stickers that came from the produce. Maybe they mean well, but they don't understand that their words can can lead people to give up the whole zero waste idea altogether. Mean words that have the cost of 365 It’s not a competition to see who uses the least plastic, everyone is going through their own journey and everyone has a combination of different values. What if that person wants to be zero waste but they also want to be frugal? Yes, the zero waste is always said to be cheaper and will save you money. But what if the only unpackaged rice you can get is almost 40 minutes away and you have to spend RM80 for a return trip with Grabcar?

Some of my zero waste FAILS this edition were:

  • I found it hard to avoid single-use plastic straws at restaurants every time I order my cold drink even though I told the waiter or wrote it down on the order form. I’m only successful 3/10 times, which makes me sad because I can't order cold drinks all the time now and I don't really like hot drinks when I'm out. My only other option is to drink from my own water bottle.

  • I ended up taking a lot of plastic while I was on holiday in KK. The well meaning sellers actually insist on the plastic and I don't have the heart to reject them. Also, there is not much bulk or unpackaged products there (even at the wet market, surprisingly)

  • I also bought a bottle of 100Plus during my trip back to KK (the shop did not have cans). I had food poisoning and was dehydrated even after drinking lots of water because I would throw up the water right after drinking. Does anybody have any zero waste options for this?

  • After two months of not buying packaged junk food, I bought a bar of chocolate during a moment of weakness. It was wrapped in aluminium and it had a glossy box. Is it plastic?

Some of my zero waste WINS this edition were:

  • Some of the staff at shops I normally frequent now recognise me! We would greet each other and they know that I already have my containers ready.

  • Made my own tomato sauce. Whaaaatt? No more canned for me!

  • I sent my first ‘complaint’ email. It was to Malaysia Airports. I went back to KK to vote in May and wanted to fill my water bottle at the security but couldn’t find any! Some kind people on social media told me that they DO have but only about two water fountains per gate. Imagine you have more than 15 gates but only 2 water fountain. There are more toilets than that!

  • Managed to takeaway most food bought at the Ramadan Bazaars with my own containers.

  • Found more places that sell unpackaged or naked produce. Unfortunately, half of them are really far from me. Sigh.

  • Cleaned a lot of my empty glass bottles and jars these two months! Before this, I would usually just throw them away. Not even recycling it.

  • My herbs are growing great! This will save a lot of plastic for me since I haven't found any shops that sell herbs without plastic.