This month as part of our Via Vino series, we talked with Hannah Husband, a blogger, and mother of two on an inspiring zero waste journey. What we learned from Hannah is that adopting a zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t have to be intimidating. By making small changes, you can quickly and easily reduce waste within your life and home. Read on to find out more about what it means to be a “zero waster”.
Hannah lives in Wales in the UK and says that watching the BBC’s Blue Planet back in 2017 is what triggered her passion for zero waste. The series focusses on the marine environment and after seeing episodes featuring scenes of plastic-ridden seas and deforestation, Hannah says she was left disgusted and scared by the damage we humans are doing to the planet. Feeling guilty at the idea of contributing to the issue, Hannah resolved to minimise her waste and later started sharing her efforts on social media.
As a wife and mother with an interest in cooking, Hannah started her journey in the kitchen. Her first step was to take stock of all the plastic and packaging she had in her cupboards. She recalls looking around and realising what a big task she had ahead of her. This urge to tackle everything at once she says was her first mistake. Trying to do too much too soon can lead to overwhelm and a sense of failure. The key to success is making small changes, one step at a time.
In Hannah’s case, she began by switching from buying milk in plastic bottles to getting her milk delivered in reusable glass bottles from the local milkman. Later she decided to avoid all dairy products and began making her own nut milks. Not only this, but she began learning how to make different foods from scratch and this allowed Hannah to dramatically reduce the amount of packaged food items she had been buying.
“It was so satisfying to learn how to make things from scratch, and I felt healthier. That was the route I went down to reduce a lot of waste”.
Perhaps one of the biggest attractions of packaged food is the convenience it brings to our lives but Hannah explains that reducing packaging doesn’t need to be a burden. It’s all about organisation. There are plenty of food items that can be made in little time and stored away for use when needed. Prior preparation can help to avoid the need to spend hours in the kitchen cooking meals.
Hannah describes how she involves the entire family in preparing food, with her husband taking care of their home-made nut milks and the children helping her to make things like chia jam, juices and even their own cheese and yogurt in the past.
It’s not all about the plastic
Aside from making, Hannah is also growing. Lockdown afforded her the time to start a small vegetable patch and homegrown produce will now also play a part in her lifestyle. And whilst this produce will be completely packaging free, there is still an opportunity to reduce waste.
Hannah says that as part of her waste awakening, she realised just how much food she had been throwing out. After doing her own reading and research, she discovered many easy ways to dramatically reduce the amount of food waste in her household. She says simple things such as storing broccoli in a glass of water in the fridge to help extend its shelf-life and boiling down vegetable scraps to make home-made stock were easy solutions to some food waste scenarios.
Zero waste shopping on a budget
If you’re lucky, you may have a zero waste shop nearby to you where you can take your own packaging and re-stock on your food items in bulk. If not, there are many zero waste online retailers nowadays where you can find items with more sustainable packing options.
Unfortunately though, sustainable alternatives often come with a price tag. We asked Hannah how to do zero waste on a budget and she says it can all depend on what you’re buying. There are plenty of products that can actually be found more cheaply without packaging. For instance, herbs and spices which ordinarily come in small, single-use bottles can be purchased more cost-effectively in bulk. Also, sourcing your fruit and vegetables directly from fruit and veg sellers rather than large supermarkets can prove lighter on your wallet. It’s all about shopping wisely.
So, where should you begin your zero waste journey?
There are many places to start your own zero waste journey and it’s important to remember not to take on too much, too soon. Hannah recommends:
- Identifying what you’re throwing away and the things you’re using the most
- Focusing on small areas that you think you can change
- Finding blogs and resources online for guidance (we’ve linked some recommendations below)
Watch the full interview
For more tips and inspiration, don’t forget to check out these zero waste Instagram accounts recommended by Hannah:
If this post has inspired you to start your own zero waste journey then why not share your efforts with us. Just tag us on Instagram #viavino. We’d love to hear from you!