We subscribe to the philosophy that living sustainably is a marathon not a sprint... every step you take towards a less wasteful life is worth celebrating. The problem of waste feels huge, but every little change makes a difference.
Here are a few simple questions you can ask to help you reduce your waste:
Next time you order a milkshake for the kids at a cafe or a G&T at the pub, ask "can I pass on the straw?"
According to The Last Straw, "There is an alarming disconnect between what’s in our hands and where it comes from, or what it means for the future. A plastic straw in my gin might seem innocent enough, but multiply that by the billions of people that buy billions of drinks across the world every single day, and you start to get an idea of the scale of the problem we’re looking at. That straw I threw away after stirring my drink will outlive me and everyone else on this planet. Unless we do something to change."
When you're shopping for meat at the local butcher or bread at the bakery, ask "can you please pop it in this container?"
Gippsland Unwrapped has some wonderful resources to help you live a waste-free life. Here's a little of what they have to say about shopping for meat and bringing your own containers: "No doubt you will hear somewhere along the way that using your own containers is unhygienic or against health regulations. This is not the case, there is no law in Victoria against using your own containers (including for doggy bags at restaurants and cafes). I’ve had this confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services. However, staff may choose to refuse your container under their own policies. There is also no law requiring disposable gloves be worn, or be disposed of after each serving. If gloves are not worn it’s best they use utensils." Thanks for sharing your wisdom Tammy.
Forgot your reusable cup at the local cafe? Why not ask "do you mind if I have that in a ceramic mug?"
Or, depending on how well you know the cafe owner, you could be cheeky and ask to borrow one and bring it back? Another thing to consider, is whether you'd rather sit down and take a minute to enjoy your coffee rather then drinking on the run. Many cafes are now offering a discount for people who bring their own cup, so it's definitely worth asking. Check out Responsible Cafes to find your nearest zero-waste discount!
Know you're going to be eating a delicious meal from a food truck? Dig that picnic set out of the cupboard and ask, "can you please serve my meal on this plate?"
There are so many great portable options for plates, cups and cutlery. You could take along your mum's tupperware or head into a disposal store to find a rustic camping set. Carrying a clean plate and a little set of cutlery means that you wont have to make the choice between enjoying a delicious meal and living waste-free. You can have your taco and eat it too!
These are just a few suggestions that might help you feel more confident when asking for zero-waste options. Every time you ask for something to come without single-use packaging, you are starting a very valuable conversation. You never know, you just might plant the seed that starts someone else's zero-waste journey.