Saturday, 3 August 2013

Zero Waste?! Part 1

Having just retyped the title of this post I have just realised that it may well sound like I mean I don't intend to ever visit the toilet again. That is not the case, panic not! ;) The primary blog that I follow for ideas on minimalism and answers is The Minimalist Mom and no, I don't get anything for saying that. I do, however, read a lot of other sites and I stumbled across Zero Waste Home. It was something I had been intrigued by but then I came to a conclusion last weekend when we were shopping and I wanted to expand on it a bit further...

Something I read time and time again and have even been advised by blog writers is that minimalism is very individual. If you have more than 100 items that doesn't mean you can't be or aren't a minimalist. I am approaching this as if I own something, I want to be sure that I am actually using it and regularly, rather than just 'maintaining' it, mostly cleaning. So we have a set of shelves and the more of those that are empty, the easier they are for me to clean, for example. The fewer clothes I see when I open my drawer in the morning, the easier to quickly choose an outfit. The negative of that I have discovered today is that I do definitely have to do the washing more, but that may also be summer related and it's something I can live with. I also didn't get rid of clothes, I just packed them away (for now).

When I first became a parent and was at home, I started to hear about all the greener, healthier things I could do that weren't that hard work but were meant to benefit everyone. Great I thought. So we saw the cost of disposable nappies in Luxembourg and decided to use cloth instead. Especially as these days it doesn't involve a massive amount more work. Oh and despite being premature, IP was the first at creche to potty train which I believe is due to cloth nappies.

However, I have found a negative side:

'Remember the good old cake served on a ceramic plate with stainless forks? Forget about disposable plates, forks, glasses, napkins and cupcake wrappers.' ~ http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/search/label/Entertaining

taken from modernhostess.net via google


In my search around the Zero waste home site, I felt really sad when I read the above phrase. Why? Because I have waited approximately 28 years to become a mum and to have parties for my children and buy matching cute disposable plates, etc. Then I read 'don't use disposables they're bad'. And to top it all off, reading http://www.simplicityparenting.com/ the book, my mother pointed out that my plans for IP's 2nd birthday party were kind of against what I had been saying regarding this book ~ too many branded toys etc overload a child. So inwardly I am wailing like a 2 year old:
'But I wannaaaaaa buy all the matching bad, for the environment stuff and I like the Very Hungry Caterpillar!'
*stomps foot*
'A ha', I hear you say, 'so she's going to give up!?' Nope, don't be silly! I have just come to a couple of conclusions:

IP watches very very little tv. I read recently that apparently under 7 years old a child should watch a maximum of 1 hour. It didn't say a week or a day but IP probably doesn't even watch an hour a week. And what she does watch is probably at weekends (with DP). She certainly doesn't watch the 101 kids tv programmes that give her the notion that she 'needs' Peppa Pig/ Dora the Explorer or whatever other expensive gimmick. We have recently been watching 'Peter Rabbit'. Prior to that we watched Little Einsteins and then ZingZilla's and she could say 'ZZ's'. But I've never found it an issue to get her away from the tv, she'll point and ask for it sometimes but I just distract her with something...

So we moved to Luxembourg, I got pregnant and then we were hosting a party at home for all of IP's friends before I'd heard of minimalism. And I saw on a website The Very Hungry Caterpillar party set and asked DP if I could get it as it made my life A LOT simpler. No faffing around spending hours like I normally do, hand making invitations etc. Yes The VHC is technically a 'brand' but IP is none the wiser as far as I am concerned.

Andddd I host a coffee morning with friends about once every 6 weeks so I decided to keep any left over disposable items (ie the VHC plates that weren't used, the Christmas napkins) and get them out each time until they're used up. We own a set of cloth napkins already so once the disposables are used up we'll use the cloth. What we do in terms of actually having a birthday party for her or her sibling will remain to be seen. But right now this works for us... It's not Zero Waste but it's as minimalist as I feel the need to be right now...

* PS Apologies to anyone who's noticed how many times this has needed editing and formating since I first pressed 'publish'. My only excuse is pregnancy brain and quite frankly, it's a rubbish excuse!

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