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Is your pantry Insta-worthy?

I remember when I was planning my wedding, my bridesmaid joked with me that as a bride-to-be, you plan two weddings - one on ideas garnered from Pinterest and Instagram and the other according to your time and budget constraints.

I suspect that picture-perfect zero-waste living is also an ideal for many. It makes us want to ditch every single piece of plastic that exists in our house and replace it with clean, minimalistic and natural materials.

I won’t deny the aesthetic appeal, but for most of us that are fairly fresh to zero waste living, it’s pretty far from reality, and, if we take zero-wasting seriously, so it should be.

Why?

Well, we don’t start a new lifestyle on a clean slate. Chances are, we accumulated our fair share of plastic goods before the day that we decided no-more. For instance, I have a tupperware collection that would make many people envious, or, if you came to our house unannounced, you will pick your way through a minefield of plastic toys.

There’s a pesky little word in the 5 R’s of Zero Waste Living called REUSE. Sure, you can conveniently send off all your unwanted plastics to charity for reuse, but before you increase your spending to find new replacements, consider if you can’t put them to good use yourself first. The beauty of zero-wasting is getting creative with what you already have.

If you’ve just started your journey to zero-waste, yay, well done! But don’t blindly go and buy every single new eco-friendly gadget on the market.  Just stop for a second and assess what it is that you already have and what you really need. Because the sad truth is that the carbon footprint of an eco-friendly consumer is no better than that of a regular consumer.

Two simple suggestions:

1. Use and reuse and then reuse again what you already have. Do you have lots of plastic containers? Use them for freezer storage, as lunch boxes, or to get take aways in. Do you have poly washcloths? Use them until they are too holey to clean. Plastic wash line pegs? Use them!

2. Consider a plastic-free alternative when something plastic in your house needs replacing, for example, when your cling wrap roll runs dry, replace it with a wax wrap or bowl cover. Or those wash line pegs - replace them with steel pegs.

So, to reiterate, if you come to me asking for suggestions for a new school lunchbox for 2020, the first thought to pop into my head will be: what’s wrong with the lunch box of yesteryear?