This is our waste for a month

Mum-of-two Luna is sav­ing the world and money with a few sim­ple swaps

that's life (Australia) - - Contents - As told to Jac­que­line Mey

‘We’re sav­ing hun­dreds!’ I said to Luke

Luna Wool­cott, 29, By­ron Bay, NSW

Throw­ing a choco­late wrapper in the bin, I saw the moun­tain of rub­bish fi­nally top­ple over.

‘Luke,’ I yelled to my hus­band, 36, ‘can you take out the trash?’

‘Again!’ he moaned.

He was right though. With a fam­ily of four to feed I al­ways put con­ve­nience first.

With two bubs, Si­enna, three, and Jay, one, keep­ing me busy, any­thing that was pre-packed was my go-to.

I filled our freezer with ready meals and my pantry was stocked with snacks wrapped in plas­tic. But Luke was very plas­tic con­scious and al­ways com­plained about how much we consumed.

I’m a busy mum, what else can I do? I thought, shrug­ging off his re­marks.

But in Septem­ber last year I opened Face­book and my heart sank. Hur­ri­cane Maria had ripped through my home coun­try of Puerto Rico.

Watch­ing the dev­as­ta­tion on my screen, I saw beau­ti­ful ar­eas turned to land­fill as plas­tic blew all over the coun­try.

Tear­ing back the two lay­ers of plas­tic from my rice cakes I stopped.

‘How do you feel about never tak­ing the rub­bish out again?’ I asked Luke.

Feel­ing re­spon­si­ble for the plas­tic pol­lu­tion, I didn’t just want to cut down, I wanted to pro­duce none! So I re­searched how our fam­ily could stop cre­at­ing waste.

Stand­ing in the aisle of the gro­cery store I could tell peo­ple were star­ing at me.

Pick­ing up boxes of ce­real, I gen­tly shook, peered and squeezed each one to see if the con­tents were zipped in plas­tic.

They prob­a­bly think I’m crazy, I thought.

‘What are you do­ing, Mummy?’ Si­enna asked.

‘Plas­tic can fly into the ocean and hurt the an­i­mals,’ I said to my in­quis­i­tive girl. ‘So I’m not go­ing to buy ones that use plas­tic any­more.’

It was im­por­tant that both my kids un­der­stood our jour­ney – af­ter all we were all in this to­gether. But stand­ing in the check­out line, I froze.

I for­got my re­us­able bags, I scolded my­self, feel­ing like I’d failed at the first hur­dle.

Grab­bing the bot­tom of my baggy tee, I stretched it out like a ham­mock, plac­ing my pro­duce on top, with a grin from ear to ear.

I was de­ter­mined to do my bit for the en­vi­ron­ment. With more re­search I re­alised

there were even more things we could do. So, once we’d used up our pack­aged foods, I started re­plen­ish­ing the cup­boards with packet-free food.

Clean­ing out old jars, I la­belled each one. Then I put the empty jars in my re­us­able bag and headed to the bulk food store.

With var­ied sizes to min­imise food waste, we had big jars for things like rice and small jars for items we didn’t use as reg­u­larly, like tea. It felt great to be do­ing our bit.

But dur­ing a morn­ing walk around the neigh­bour­hood, I was hor­ri­fied by all the dis­carded bot­tles and wrap­pers sit­ting in the grass. I col­lected what I could see.

Back at home, I spread the rub­bish on the floor.

‘That’s plas­tic and it’s yucky,’ Si­enna said.

Look­ing down at my lit­tle girl, a warmth filled me as she stared an­grily at the garbage.

I’m ed­u­cat­ing her at least,

I thought.

Next I started us­ing cloth nap­pies on Jay and re­plac­ing paper tow­els with re­us­able cloths.

I even planted some herbs and ve­g­ies.

‘It’s an ed­i­ble gar­den,’ I ex­plained to Si­enna, as she helped out with her lit­tle wa­ter­ing can.

Kick­ing our jour­ney into the next gear I de­cided it was time for me to bake – from scratch! Hav­ing been a frozen meal mum for so long I had no idea where to start.

Fol­low­ing a recipe, I tried a pasta sauce. Squash­ing and chop­ping, I made such a mess. But when I man­aged to make enough for 10 din­ners I re­alised I’d saved at least $20! And once I found more easy meals, the sav­ings rolled in.

It wasn’t just food I cooked up, though. Start­ing to ex­per­i­ment with bath­room prod­ucts, I whipped up my own lip balm from jo­joba oil and foot scrub us­ing shred­ded co­conut and salt.

With my own baby pow­der cost­ing just 50 cents, to tooth­paste amount­ing to a quar­ter of the price in the shops, I was glued to the wooden spoon!

‘We’re sav­ing hun­dreds!’ I said to Luke.

Us­ing the last of the pow­der, Si­enna jumped up. ‘Let’s make more!’ she said. So, mix­ing two cups of ar­row­root, a pinch of laven­der with one sprig of chamomile, she gave it a shake. Easy!

I loved see­ing her un­der­stand that things are made and not just bought from the shop.

Liv­ing a

‘nose-to-tail’ life­style, we make sure that we use ev­ery last crumb of any­thing that en­ters the house.

We even freeze vegie scraps for stock.

Any­thing I can’t use in a meal, we put on a com­post heap. For a bin, we use a glass jar.

Al­most a year into a zero-waste life­style, we’ve dras­ti­cally re­duced our plas­tic use to al­most noth­ing. And ev­ery month, we’re knock­ing more off our gro­cery bill.

Since we started our jour­ney, we’ve saved hun­dreds. It’s crazy to think how many items are sin­gle use, and how much money you can save by re­plac­ing those with re­us­able ones.

We started this jour­ney to try and save the en­vi­ron­ment but we have saved our wal­lets too!

We’ve worked hard to re­duce our waste I bulk buy al­most ev­ery­thing I make our own tooth­paste Me and Si­enna get the milk straight from the lo­cal dairy

Si­enna, Luke, me and Jay

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