So, to break it down…
In a landfill: Never
In a backyard compost: One Month
In the ocean: 6 Weeks
So what is waste really? How can we reduce it or completely eliminate from our lives? Justine Davasse has the answers!
While traveling though Berlin, I had the chance to meet up with a brave and kindred spirit, Justine Davasse. We instantly connected well and chatted about life, travel and something that I haven’t quite conquered yet, living the zero-waste lifestyle! She has just started the year with her new goal to reduce waste and to share her thoughts and concerns with the knowledge of reducing the waste in the world.
She was inspired by this certain lifestyle when she lived in Finland and with the people she met, learned about how to reduce waste in her life! Also, some of you might have read an article or a book on a French woman living with her family in California, USA, named Bea Johnson. Bea uses only a quart size jar for her family of four for an entire year! It might be worth a read to see how she manages it!
From her experiences, it seems the most complicated part tends to be when she refuses to accept waste from others. She carries around a washable cloth to place any food in it for consumption. We went to a Kebap shop (or Kebab in English), where she was saying that the previous day she came there and the cooks were a bit uncertain about placing the sandwich wrap on her cloth rather than using a plastic paper holder.
“Most people think it’s unsanitary to use a cloth for food,” she states, “but it is more sanitary than that of disposables.” She states that…“the system makes us believe that the non-disposable is dirtier than the disposable, but this is actually a post-war economy statement. If you wash and sterilize your items in boiling water with a little soap, with or without essential oil, you will be fine!” Refusing really means to refuse what you do not need. More specifically, that includes waste that you would just throw away and not keep.
Reduce what you do not need! “Do you really need a thousand pants (trousers) if they are all a like?” Justine asks her audience in one article she writes*. She emphasizes the reduction of home items that would be more like clutter than of actual use…how about letting someone else have it? Donating items to charity shops, friends or family have been a huge part of my life in the last few years, especially since I tend to move often.
With my creative side, I have reused cloth in the past from other materials to making tote bag and using tote bags for shopping instead of accepting the shops plastic or paper bags. There are many ways in which you can reuse! It is to be aware and use what you have around you. Justine recommends ways to reuse items, you can be an…“up-cycler, give/trade items (associations or friends), prefer reusable to disposable (a flask, kitchen towels, a handkerchief, a cup).”
Recycle what you cannot refuse or reuse. Most countries have efficient recycling sorting, so you have to sort your trash correctly from landfill, compost (mind you there’s also a dairy free compost too), recyclables in glass, cans and clothes, recyclables in plastics and paper. Japan has it down to an art! I loved traveling there and with their functional and efficient recycling bin have different colors and illustrations to coordinate to the what you are throwing away. Yet even with the countries differences in garbage, there still remains the fact that consumption of waste would need to slim down or as whole, make a better way to destroy the waste entirely.
“It is important to return to the Earth, which belongs to the Earth.” Justine illuminates. Now composting in the USA, at least where I came from in the West Coast, composting does not even exist! We have garbage deposals where food waste can go down the sink or we end up throwing it away in the regular trash. The recyclable bins that we have, are for glass, paper and cardboard. Compost is made for food scraps, vegetable waste, egg shells, bread and more.
Bamboo Toothbrush, Tiger Balm, Homemade Deordorant & Facial Scrub, Mooncup, Brushes for Dry Shampoo, Brush, Eyelash Curler, Soap & a Refillable Pen (not shown).
With Finland’s high reputation for efficiency in waste control and recyclables, Justine was inspired to seek a betterment of life choices while studying there. Although originally from Orléans, France, she was able to expand her horizons with a new lifestyle knowledge of zero-waste.
“I was living in the paradise of misuse/mess/and waste [living in Orléans].” She says. “All of us, the foreigners students, where packed in a university residence without sorting any compost. People bought a lot of packaged food, cooked in too large quantities, wasted the left overs…[the students] return to their country of origin, they left a lot of stuff behind. So I took things in [my own] hands.”
Justine took the baton and with a fried of hers, went around the campus to collect the things the students had left behind. They left food, cosmetics, clothes and more! She gave them to others, recycling collection points or for personal purposes.
“A large portion [of the items left] probably end up in the trash, burned in an incinerator and the cycle of waste and [the students] would start it over again.” That was her pivotal moment of decision, zero-waste!
She believes in the importance to educate people with the message to be more mindful and conscious of what you throw away. Yes, it helps to save the environment but also it is more for the humanitarism effort to make the world a better place! Think twice before you throw something away!
How to find Justine Davasse:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mouvements0/?fref=ts
*You can find her articles here!
http://www.zerowastehome.com Bea Johnson http://www.thechicecologist.com/2009/10/how-long-does-it-take-to-biodegrade/