One couple's valiant (and sometimes fruitless) attempts at minimalist living, financial independence, and raising two kids without traumatising them (or ourselves) along the way.
Out and About
February 2017: We switched from plastic shopping bags to cloth ones. Since we made the decision to switch we’ve not had to deal with the problem of where to store all the plastic bags. We used to have them bursting out of our cupboards. Now we just have a nice manageable pile of cloth bags.
May 2017: I bought reusable coffee cups for myself and Mr W. They look like they’re made of plastic but they’re actually made of tree sap and are fully compostable under certain conditions. The lids are made of silicon, which isn’t biodegradable, but I couldn’t find any brands of coffee cup that were 100% compostable.
May 2017: After a lot of searching, I finally managed to find a 100% plastic-free water bottle for me and Mr W to use when we’re out and about. It’s made of stainless steel, bamboo and silicon. It’s pretty heavy when it’s full but that’s something I’m willing to put up with. Mr W tends to complain though.
June 2017: I cut up several pairs of old pyjama bottoms and sewed them (badly) into produce bags. Now we use them to transport fruit and veg home from the market instead of using those little plastic bags that tear after a couple of uses. Apparently those bags are being phased out here in Romania, which is a small victory.
September 2017: Zero waste isn’t just about cutting down on plastic. I’ve started carrying a little hand towel around with me so I don’t have to use paper towels in bathrooms when I’m out and about. I got the towel as a present wrapped around a bar of soap. It was a zero waste present!
December 2017: I used some of the kids’ Christmas money to splash out and get them each a stainless steel snack box. We used to pack their snacks for nursery in whatever we could find, and that was often plastic. The boxes are easy to wash and incredibly robust, which is an important functional specification with kids!
January 2018: I got the kids plastic-free water bottles. They’re heavier than plastic bottles but are really easy to clean which is especially important for kids. Those sippy cup things always gave me the heebie-jeebies since you could never get them clean. (Do a Google image search for “sippy cup mould” if you don’t believe me.)
February 2018: I got handy with the sewing machine again and made a couple of cutlery wraps. Now we can take cutlery and napkins with us when we’re out and about. This involved a lot of swearing and ripping out and fixing of the machine by my ever-patient mother-in-law. The result is amateur at best, but it’s functional.
February 2018: We got sick of our coffee cups being too tall to fit under a lot of coffee machines, so we finally cracked and got ourselves some smaller ones. They’re made of bamboo and silicon and fit under every coffee machine we’ve tried so far. We’ve kept the old cups as backup.