Zero Waste Month

In one month, we managed to make big changes in our living space without expending too much time or money.

By Erin McCullagh

In order to test ways of creating sustainable habits, and to increase awareness about environmental issues, the residents of Manabi no Sato undertook a Zero Waste Month challenge in October/November 2019.

The aim of the month was to reduce waste output by half – reducing from 15kg to 7kg per day. Overall, we implemented five solutions to reduce our waste output. These solutions became part of the infrastructure of our home, Manabi no Sato, to reduce waste output into the future.

The first solution was composting, which included the implementation of two composting systems meaning that almost all food scraps were able to be composted. The second solution was replacing tissue paper for drying hands in bathrooms with washable handtowels. The third solution was creating a collection point for plastic bags at the front entrance so that people would be less likely to forget to bring a bag when shopping. We also included small cards written in Japanese to tell shop staff that a plastic bag was not needed. The fourth solution was homemade beeswax wraps made from second-hand clothing which could be used instead of plastic wrap to keep food fresh. The final solution was shopping at some bulk stores in Osaka, where food can be scooped directly into jars or bags brought from home to dispense with packaging completely.

We implemented these solutions for a whole month, which allowed time for everyone to become adjusted to the new infrastructure in the household. In the final survey at the end of the month, many residents said that their level of consciousness about the environment had increased, and that they were more willing to devote time and energy to sustainable practices.

 

These are solutions that are all easily implementable in any environment. In one month, we managed to make big changes in our living space without expending too much time or money. We believe these solutions, however small, can make a difference on a larger scale. Even small changes add up over time.

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