The Sustainable Living Challenge #2: The Zero Waste Challenge Ft. Happy Panda

Helloooo all my lovely readers!

I’m back with my sustainable living challenge collab with Moksha over at Happy Panda, and this time we decided to tackle zero-waste living.

Moksha was one of my first blogging friends and I have always admired her for her commitment to not only really fun, relatable posts, but also being as environmentally conscious and eco-friendly as possible. Eco-friendly living is in fact what started our chat about collabs, and our sustainable living challenge was born. Last month, we challenged each other to each go vegetarian/vegan for a week and blogged about how the challenge went, you can read about the challenge she set me here and the challenge I set her here. This month, as I said, we thought we’d do something different and tackle waste as that is a big problem when it comes to living ‘green’, so here is our challenge, and how it went. How we’re sharing this post is I will share Moksha’s diary and tips on my blog, and my experience will be shared on her blog so be sure to give both a read! I hope you enjoy it!

My Zero Waste Diary –
Since we gave each other 2 days notice, I used the weekend before to plan out my food for the week since I realized that it was probably going to be area I end up with waste. I don’t have a zero waste store in my area, so I bought fruits and vegetables from the street vendors to avoid packaging. I used a lot of food we already did have at home. I did order a composting bin but since it was such short notice it didn’t arrive in the challenge week.

Photo by ready made on Pexels.com

13th September –
Food: My Monday meals usually involve a lot of fruits since I try to compensate after a bad weekend binge. For lunch I prepared a fruit salad and the only waste was the inside of the apples – which I put in the bio waste and will biodegrade naturally (but could have been composted). I also had a protein bar after lunch – so the wrapper was a waste. For dinner, I went out with my family for my cousin’s farewell meal. While we didn’t pick a zero waste café (since it was a place of my grandparent’s choosing), I ate every single last grain of my dish which was a big feat since I usually end up wasting at least a little bit. I even ate the garnish!
Electricity: Thankfully the weather was exceptionally good so I didn’t use the AC in office or at home. I was also extra careful about not leaving chargers plugged in or lights on when I left a room.
Water: My non-hair washing days, my showers are usually 5-7 minute long. I did some research on how much water a low-flow shower uses up and a 5 minute shower uses approximately 10 gallons or 38 litres of water. I limited myself to a 4 minute shower this day – which isn’t that difficult if you know your goal is to just shower (I used to waste so much time playing out pretend rain scenarios in the shower – do you do that too?). The little excess water left in my bottle after work I used to water my house plants.
Office – Since I didn’t pack any orders – there was no waste.
Fuel – My dad and I head to office in our car together with our driver. While there is public transport available – but due to the COVID situation I have been avoiding travelling by it.
Overall: My waste for the day – apple core + protein bar wrapper + shower water + fuel waste

14 th September –
Food: I made myself a nice kale salad with tahini dressing for lunch. I used kale, cherry tomatoes, soya kebabs and onions. I did order kale online and it came in plastic packaging unfortunately. The only bio waste in this meal was the onion peel. For dinner I had pumpkin soup again the only waste was the pumpkin skin.
Office: I had to pack a couple of orders and did end up wasting some tape. But I reused packaging that I had received for some orders and that felt good.
Overall waste – onion peel + pumpkin skin + kale plastic packing + waste tape + shower water
(shower < 5 mins) + fuel waste

15th September
Food: If you read our previous challenge, you might know that I am vegetarian and trying to be
vegan. In my efforts to be vegan I discovered this amazing coconut yogurt that I absolutely love.
While it is vegan, it comes in single packaging which is a waste. So that was a waste.
Meal wise I had apple feta salad for lunch, again the apple core was a waste. For dinner, I had
leftover soup from the night before so no waste there. For my day snack I had a dragon fruit, so the peel was a waste again.
Shopping – I received a few orders that I had placed last week today. Thanks to my business I could reuse all the packaging the order came in.
Overall waste -apple core + dragon fruit peel + the yogurt package+ shower water (shower < 5 mins) + fuel waste

16th September
Food: I had an Indian jackfruit dish for lunch. We got frozen, pre-cut jackfruit. Technically the only waste was the packet it came in but if you look at the big picture – the jackfruit peel and seeds if not properly utilized by the company would add that to the waste too. For dinner I had dal (lentils) and boiled corn on the cob. I also couldn’t keep away from the yogurt and had two packs.
Office: I had to package this BIG order and when I sent it to the post office for delivery – they asked for the package to be taped wholly with brown plastic tape as per some procedure of theirs. Such a waste of tape.
Water – Hair wash day was finally upon us! I took a 10 minutes long shower since I needed to get oil out of my hair.
Overall waste – A LOT of tape + packet of jackfruit + corn cob centre + shower water + yogurt
package + fuel waste

17th September

Food: I had soya dish for lunch. I also had a protein bar after since I couldn’t pack a snack. For dinner I had corn soup.
Overall – onion and garlic peels + tomato ends + protein bar wrapper + corn centre + shower water (shower < 5 mins) + fuel waste

18th September
Fuel: Finally the weekend was here and I had plans to go out and hang out with friends. But knowing that I’d end up adding to my waste if I went out, I went over to a friend’s house to hang out. I did take an uber to and back from their place which added to my fuel waste.
Food: I bought a small packet of treats for my friend’s dog. Since my friend’s cook made food for us – I am not sure about wastage but I’d guess vegetable peels would be a part of the waste.
Overall – treats packet + fuel + shower water (shower < 5 mins) + vegetables peels

19 th September
Food: I spent Sunday lunches with my extended family for lunch. My grandma cooks a meal for us all. Again, I am not exactly aware of the wastage but I will assume that vegetable peels would be a part of it. We ordered dessert after lunch and the box the desserts came in was wastage. For dinner, we ordered in from a restaurant. We kept all the boxes the food came in to reuse.
Overall – Vegetable peels + dessert box

Challenges –

  1. I obviously used a hack where I didn’t finish entire packets of products I did use – so that
    didn’t add to my wastage this week – but would eventually add to it.
  2. Not having a zero waste store in the nearby vicinity to go pick up food from.
  3. Not having a zero waste café in the nearby vicinity to go for a meal.
  4. Since I am new to packing orders, I do end up wasting tape when I pack.
  5. Having a composting bin would have helped.
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Tips & Tricks –

  1. Going zero waste needs A LOT of planning. It isn’t something that you decide today and can
    start tomorrow. You need to spend time planning out a trip to a zero waste store, plan out
    your meals to ensure zero waste, plan out your travel and just be very conscious of
    everything you do.
  2. Read up about all the ways in which you can reuse waste.
  3. Read up about going zero waste and what it means. I have tried to pick a few headers and
    limit my post to those because otherwise this post would have NEVER ended. But I did do
    other things like reuse the water I soaked lentils in to water plants. My parents have lemon
    water in the morning, I reused the left over lemons to scrub my body. There are a LOT of
    ways to reduce waste – only by reading about it would you know.
  4. Use public transport if you can
  5. Set a timer on your AC/heater
  6. Sensor based lights would help reduce wastage a lot
  7. Buy a composting bin to make compost out of waste
  8. Try to recycle as much as you can
  9. Buy reusable cutlery/cup/water bottle and carry it with you

The Week After –
While I’ve tried to stay on my path towards going zero waste – I haven’t been the most conscious in terms of food wrappers (yes I have been binging on my coconut yogurt). I still limit my showers, don’t sleep with the AC on, switch off all appliances when not in use, try to buy packaging free vegetables, recycle and reuse products etc.

My Take Away –
It isn’t easy to go zero waste especially if you don’t have a conveniently located zero waste store. But like I always say with my sustainability posts, you shouldn’t be disheartened if you can’t do it a 100%. If we all reduce our waste by even 50% we’d make a HUGE impact on the world and climate change.

Have you tried living a zero waste lifestyle? What tips do you have for us?

I just want to say thanks again to Moksha on Happy Panda for doing this collab with me. Even though I love doing these eco-friendly challenges on my own, they’re just so much more fun when you have someone else to do them with. Not only does it mean you’re not on your own, you also have the support if you need, and someone to rant with if things aren’t going well. Plus, as Moksha said, I think it is so important to remember that even if you can’t do something 100%, don’t let that dishearten you. One of the main reasons why I’ve been so dedicated in trying all these eco-friendly practices is to show that you don’t have to completely change every aspect of your life and sell your soul to it, but there are some very manageable ways to implement small changes into your daily life that make a difference, and if we all start doing that, just a few small things, we will be able to tackle our environmental problems in a much more effective and sustainable way.

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

What did you all think of our eco-friendly challenge? Do any of you practice zero-waste living, or something to that extent, at home? Do you have any tips you can share? Also, what would you like to see for our next sustainable living challenge? Let’s chat in the comments section!

Also heads up, we are definitely going to be doing another challenge for October, but just with how busy both of us are, we’re still working out the kinks so we’re going to let you know soon our plans for our next sustainable living challenge! Stay tuned!

Lots of Love
Blondey on a Mission xxx

Author: blondeyonamission

Hey everyone! I'm a lifestyle and travel blogger from South Africa and about to relocate to the UK for university. My blog is all about stories, tips and advice with topics ranging from university, organisation, friends, books, travel and more. Please check it out and I hope you enjoy xxx

8 thoughts

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog diary and you have some great ideas which I will try and implement. I have shared your post with my Facebook group – LOCAL (Lessen Our Carbon And Live). I agree the packaging thing is difficult sometimes – especially in certain supermarkets. I try to shop in places where I don’t get too much packaging. I always look at where the food has come from because if it is flown halfway across the world – that is contributing to the CO2 emissions. I also try and avoid food e.g. soya, avocados and certain nuts etc. if they are coming from unsustainable or unethical sources. I like your tips for saving water. Keep spreading the word – it’s great to read posts like yours. My site is https://plogart.wordpress.com/ if you want to take a look sometime. Pat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow thank you so so much for sharing we are honoured!! Yeah the plastic packaging is hard to avoid so you need to find those stores. I’m applying to hopefully volunteer at a zero waste store so that will be awesome. Oooh good ideas and thanks so much for reading xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I just commented on Moksha’s article and will tell you too! I just read up on some things about unplugging appliances when not in use and I’m inspired to do this also! Baby steps. Luckily my partner is ALL about not wasting things so I’m sure he’ll be on board too. Thank u for inspiring 😘

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so glad we are keeping each other on our toes with these challenges. It feels so good to have someone motivate me to do better sustainability wise. I can’t wait to jump into our October challenge next.

    PS: For anyone reading – sorry for the VERY long post. I usually do shorter posts but I went into a lot of detail for this one. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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