1. T-shirts' circle of life
When they are new and liked (very important), we keep them in the prestigious section of our closet. Once the love for them has worn off, they get moved to the pyjama drawer.
When they are not even fit for lounging around anymore, they contribute to the zero waste routine. They get turned into rags. We cut them up in squares and use them for what we would have used a kitchen towel for.
As much as I would love a wall of WECK jars neatly lined on shelves with package free grains and dried goods in them. They are not the most affordable of zero waste items. Equally awesome are cleaned, labels-removed jam jars, pickle jars, PB jars. You know it's a good jar when you see one.
3. Make single-use plastic into double, triple, quadruple…-use plastic.
Ben: Uh oh.
(Exclaimed. While quinoa leaked through his hand holding up a reused Ikea zip-lock bags.)
(YT immediately passed him a reused Chia seed zip-lock packaging.)
It is still plastic, yes. But reusing them works with the logic that less demand for single-use. By using them again and again, postpone their fate ending up at the landfill.
For a long time, we take utensils we use at home, tied them to our lunch boxes with rubber bands and bring them to work. Now we’ve upgraded to having a drawstring bag, Ben has a box for his chopsticks. If you are not up for buying new ones, just pack whatever you used at home with a napkin and something easy to clean food residue with.
5. Keep rolling rolling
It was a common practice when I went to primary school. In a small canvas carrier bag hold your snacks, water bottle and a cylinder container for a wet towel. A recent #zerowasteJapan post reminded me of that. I am gonna start doing it again, perhaps with a couple of drops of essential oil. I have a vivid memory of how it smelt at the end of a day. It was a rather peculiar smell...
Multiple articles I have read point to the fact that, Hong Kong has rather safe drinking water. (SCMP http://bit.ly/2JfDj5B /China Water Risk http://bit.ly/2JfcNcu / Civic Exchange Survey http://bit.ly/2JfVgkh)
Looking at the above survey results, the major hurdles in reducing the consumption of bottled water seems to be their availability. Bring a water bottle everywhere you go. There are all kinds of water bottles to pick from. Collapsible ones, flat ones, insulated ones... I bet if you pair an adjective with the word 'bottle' and press search, you will find something. Even still, if you cannot find the perfect bottle, reuse a plastic one. See point number 3.
When water runs out, exercise your charm, or awkwardness in my case, to ask a cafe/restaurant to fill it up before you pay the bill. If you want as little contact with other human being as possible, download an App called 撲水 | Water for Free which locates all the free water fountain in Hong Kong.
7. Food scraps no crap
We are lucky to have a composting system offered by local organisations. Still, we try to use up everything before composting them. Here are a couple of ways we use our food scraps.
We keep a freezer bag, saving up trimmings of stock veggies like onions, celeries and carrots, sometimes an odd stump of leek or spring onion. Once a certain quantity is reached, we boil them down to make vegetable stock. We keep it in the fridge in a jar and use it up within a week. There is also the option to freeze them using ice cube trays.
Treat your dog
We make our own broth, with dried seaweed (Kombu) and dried skipjack tuna flakes (Bonita). After all their flavour has transferred to the broth, we compost them in our doggo and pick them up on the curbside later the same day.
We make our own flax/hemp/cashew milk using a high-speed blender, to avoid using cartons (Tetra Pak). We then use the pulp for baking or making vegan cheese. Our favourites have been Multi-seed cookie crisps and hemp seed cheese spread.