Me and Zero waste
The first time I heard about zero waste was 2 years ago. At the beginning, I said to myself, « Is not this way of living too extreme? ». After knowing more about the topic, I realized that actually our current way of living is inappropriate.
However, I was not able to fully switch to a zero waste lifestyle. I always have a « good » reason: it is too expensive, hard or; I cannot because I live with others people… all this to say that I did not find the courage yet to change my habits. This journey represents the perfect moment for me to finally live with a zero waste philosophy.
Here are the reasons that pushed me to do this trip with a zero waste lifestyle:
Good for the environment
I am concerned about the environment and the health of wild animals and plants. ‘I would like to walk down the streets and into the woods without seeing a lot of trash around me. So, travelling without producing waste (and therefore without bins) made perfectly sense to me.
Moreover, travelling by bike does not pollute; no need of gas to move forward!
Better for our health
When we think of zero waste, we usually think of organic food. This is not always the case though. Zero waste promotes local products; but not everybody has an organic farmer near by home. It will be the same for us while travelling; we will buy local products instead of organic ones (that would have crossed an ocean by plane or boat). I personally prefer to help the small local farmers than a big international company. The zero waste entails buying food without packaging usually referred to as bulk food.
Cleaning products and cosmetics contain chemical agents dangerous for our health. Here is an article that sums the hazards that can cause commercial cleaning products. During our trip, we would probably not need cleaning products, but only cloth and dish soaps. But, we will need some cosmetics. We will talk about commercial product alternatives in one of the following articles.
The zero waste lifestyle recommends replacing the use of plastic (Tupperware, stretch film or plastic bottle) with other materials (glass, stainless steel, cloth). There is a transfer of toxic substances from plastic to food, especially when the plastic items are being heated. So plastic Tupperware in the microwave, it is over! Here is an article where you can find some information about it.
During our trip, we will try not to use plastic objects as much as we can.
The concept of zero waste made me understand that owning a lot of objects (such as clothes, decoration etc.) does not make us happy. This is a good news for us to consider as travelers because we need to reduce the weight of our luggage.
Zero waste lifestyle teaches you then that you can use the same product for different purposes. For example: Marseille soap can be used as body, cloth and dish soap; and if we choose it properly (look at the ingredient information), it is environment friendly. An article with the 2-3 ingredients necessary to have in your vanity case will come up soon.
A lot of people say that living a zero waste lifestyle would allow to save money. It was difficult for me to understand how. I will briefly try to explain it.
You will not save money on food; it will be probably more expensive as the small bulk shop would need to compete with the big supermarkets. But, buying in small local shops will allow you to buy a better quality of food. However, you will save money if you make your own cleaning products and cosmetics and if you use reusable items instead of disposable ones.
If you decide to go for a zero waste lifestyle, you should approximately save from 20 up to 40 % of your total budget.
For our trip, we are not sure that living without making any waste will allow us to save money but at least we will protect the environment.
Travelers and Zero Waste
Most of travelers already start to travel with a zero waste lifestyle without knowing. As I said previously, travelers always look for a way to reduce the weight of their luggage. Some of them arrive to leave with a backpack of 8 Kg but most of them travel with 12-15 Kg which is already really light. But this applies to backpack travelers. In our case, we want to travel by bike around the world. Therefore, we need to carry all the camping and bike repair equipments. We did not weigh yet our luggage but we will keep you posted. Hopefully, it is not going to be too heavy!