April Challenge- Zero Waste

A-Z Challenge is here and most bloggers are busy. In April I am also taking a new challenge but it is a Non-Blogging challenge and I would encourage all of you to take up this particular challenge in the near future. This is the Zero Waste Challenge. Not, zero-waist (I will not even try that one as I love to eat) but zero-waste.

This month I will try not to send anything from my home to the landfills. It is easier said than done. Most of our stuff comes in plastic packets/bags/containers and even if we try it is extremely difficult to avoid plastic or other waste, and that is the challenge.

I am not a waste management expert but using research and common sense I have chalked down a road map. Therefore the first step would be to audit the waste and then segregate them. For the first few days, I wish to only review the waste that goes out of my house. The next step would be to segregate them. A major step in the zero-waste lifestyle is the segregation of waste into four broad segments:

  1. Kitchen waste: I would segregate this waste further into waste for Compost, seeds/stems/roots to regrow and food items that can be consumed by stray animals like bones, and leftover rice, chapati, etc.
  2. Reusable waste:  Sell, Donate and Upcycle. Will use online and offline selling mediums to sell stuff those are in good condition but I have no need for them anymore. Donate whatever I can after making sure that they are reusable. For example, clothes that do not fit can go to homeless people, disaster relief, younger family members, or domestic help. Medicines can go to public hospitals before they expire. Leftover food from a big party at home can go to community refrigerator (I am lucky to have one in my neighborhood, others can give it to NGOs that collect food waste). Old books can be donated to the local library. Other stuff can be upcycled (this can include DIY and professional endeavors). I love to upcycle things and have been doing it for ages.
  3. Recyclable Waste. The need of the world is recycle, recycle, recycle, therefore will try to send as many things as possible to recycle plants. Most plastic manufacturers buyback plastic and therefore it can be given back, clothes can be turned into threads, paper can be turned into the paper, crayons can be turned into crayons, electronic items can go to designated drop boxes. Instead of throwing them to the trash bin will give them back to the recycling industry.
  4. Biodegradable waste that will go into my trash bin but they wouldn’t cause harm to the environment. I am confident this would be an extremely small amount.

I am a huge fan of Marie Kondo and often go through aggressive and exhaustive phases of decluttering. Declutter and zero-waste may sound contradictory however if you closely think about it they are not contradictory but complementary. When you declutter be mindful and segregate your waste judiciously and eventually your house and environment both would thank you.

Being mindful is the key and the first step to zero waste is to being mindful during shopping or accepting anything. REFUSE things that you do not need or that may cause environmental hazards. Being minimalist will automatically REDUCE  consumption and that is the second step in zero-waste lifestyle, the third step is REUSE ( I wrote about it above) and the fourth step is to REPLACE (this is where you can replace your plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one, plastic bag to a cloth one, plastic container to a glass one and so on and so forth. Most people make the mistake of starting with the fourth stage and get overwhelmed in a few days. By replacing we actually create more waste and therefore we should progress to that stage gradually.

  • Refuse

  • Reduce

  • Reuse

  • Replace

This is just the beginning of my journey, but I will be fine as I have been a minimalist all my life and never like to clutter my space. Now I have become even more mindful. Zero-waste lifestyle is a life of good habits. I have begun my journey now it is your turn to make your small contribution to mother nature by not contributing anything to the landfill or oceans. Hope to meet you on this journey.





33 thoughts on “April Challenge- Zero Waste

  1. writershilpa says:

    I have been giving away clothes, bedsheets/bedcovers, books, old crockery/cutlery/utensils to my maid/homeless people since years now. And, cloth bags have been a fixture at my home since before the plastic ban. I do feel good when I notice that the waste from my home is all biodegradable. I wish there was a compost bin in my locality, then the kitchen waste too would be avoided.
    Loved this initiative, B! It’s a collective step we all need to take.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I have been donating since ages. My mother always had a zero waste policy and I followed but still there are some unavoidable wastes like batteries, food packaging be it cheese, tea, flour, home cleaning stuff, shampoo bottles etc that keep accumulating. Trying to get rid of them. Need to be more mindful about waste.

      Liked by 1 person

      • writershilpa says:

        Yeah those are the things I don’t know what to do about. The plastic packets in which our groceries come, those shampoo bottles…what do we do with those? Recycling them all only increases the clutter at home. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • Balaka says:

        Starting from milk packets to toothbrushes, to cosmetic boxes everything are non biodegradable and therefore we need to recycle them by handing them to proper agencies who recycle them. If you look at your waste at the end of the day you will notice unconsciously how much we send to the landfills and oceans. Therefore high time we become mindful about waste. I am still struggling but am hopeful that we will find out a way.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      We have a compost pit in our society where we put our wet waste but we cannot throw non veg, bakery or diary products there so planning to reduce the same.


  2. Meena says:

    I was very much looking forward to your A2Z this year too Balaka. Anyway….. This initiative is a good one. In the state I live in, the segregation of waste at home level is a must. So I have been doing that for ages now. Old clothes have always been donated or reused. I have also replaced old plastic containers with glass and metal ones since a long time now. You are right, we must make our life on mother Earth least burdensome. It should be like we were never here when we leave.

    All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Namratha Varadharajan says:

    I started my low waste journey some time back but I lost optimism because it required a lot of extra effort and I did not have the energy to spare qt that time. Have restarted it again in a slower way though.. all the best in your journey Balaka

    Liked by 1 person

  4. the bespectacled mother says:

    You have taken up a worthy initiative of adopting zero waste. The line “Not, zero-waist…” amused me because this is similar to what I could have come up to inject humour here. I have been donating old clothes to charities and segregating wet waste, plastic and residual waste (which was necessary in my Bangalore Apartment). The large quantity of plastic which comes with groceries shopping such as buying dals, aata, chawal bothers me everytime I unpacked them and refilled the jars. What to do about this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      I found out about few plastic manufacturers who buy them back. I emailed them. But they collect nothing less than 100 kgs. I am planning to take this up in our apartment committee’s AGM and gather that much plastic and then give it to that company. I am learning a lot of things in this initiative and will share them one by one. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Parul Thakur says:

    I love the initiative and my best wishes to you. I would also love to compost the waste at my place but I live in a small house. So I will get there one day. Keep us posted on your journey. I would love to know more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Parul.. you are a nature lover who cares for the environment, so am sure you will be able to get here. I have just started..let me see how much I can do. Will keep updating about my journey

      Liked by 1 person

  6. alexiweo says:

    This is such a good challenge! I am also working towards a more zero waste lifestyle. It makes me happy to know that I am doing something to help the environment :). If everyone did something like this, the world would be a better place

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      Good to see you back. I just completed one week of zero waste.. way to go. I have written about my experience of the first week in another post. Do read and leave a feedback please.


  7. Innovative Thinker says:

    Lovely post! Currently my journey in reducing waste has met a major pitfall. Northern Illinois, where I reside, is closing 1 of the local recycling facilities at the end of the month, and the other facility will no longer accept plastic, glass, or paper! It’s a nightmare…

    Liked by 1 person

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