Buying groceries in supermarkets mean lots of single-use plastic on our fruits and vegetables. This is on top of the packaging that our other groceries come in. Did you know that even when single-use plastic is sent to the landfill, they can still harm us? Plastics on top of the landfills can be blown away by the wind and due to our geography, the plastic ends up polluting the sea! It’s time to stop and think about the waste we create and start to refuse and reduce. The Zero Waste movement aims to reduce the amount of trash we make to zero. It sounds impossible but with effort, you can drastically reduce the amount of trash that pollutes the environment. Here are a few tips on how to live a zero waste lifestyle in Macau.
The first step
The average person in Macau produces about 2.16 kilos of solid waste per day. This is the highest compared to other nearby cities! Incineration of our waste sounds like a good idea but the emissions from this practice includes heavy metals and dioxins which can have direct consequences on our health. The best way to tackle this problem is by minimising the amount of waste!
To take on a Zero Waste lifestyle, you need to realize your wasteful habits and then make changes. Firstly, you need to look at your bin at home and point out what unnecessary waste you’ve created. Is it full of single-use plastics from the supermarket? Is it mostly things like plastic straws, cups and plastic takeaway boxes? List down all the non-organic trash you see in your bin and then draw up a battle plan.
Zero Waste out and about
Pack your bag with a Zero Waste mindset. Carry a reusable straw, handkerchief, eating utensils, reusable bottle and also an eco bag, daily. These are all items that you already have at home so there’s no need to spend more money.
When you’re out and about eating and shopping, say no to plastic straws and disposable cups. If you order a drink, bring your own reusable straws especially at bars! When you’re doing the groceries, bring your own bags and refuse plastic carrier bags. At restaurants, bring your own containers when you’re taking away food to reduce the use of disposable takeaway containers.
Change the way you do your groceries because supermarkets tend to wrap fruits and vegetables in single-use plastic. Go back to your roots and check out the nearest wet market to get your groceries. Bring your own cotton totes and reusable bags while haggling for fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, bring your mom or grandmother and have some bonding time with them while learning the tricks of getting the best groceries at the market!
It can get lonely doing this so encourage your friends and family to join you on your crusade. Make it a social thing while practicing the zero waste lifestyle with company! The zero waste lifestyle encourages you to pay attention to the disposable items in your life and this helps to free up space in your home as well. This could help you lead a more minimalist life too.
Zero waste at home
Personal hygiene products are notorious for plastic packaging but there’s no need to go full hippie and stop showering. Opt for soap, shampoo and conditioner bars to wash yourself, bamboo toothbrushes that can be composted and to exfoliate, use loofah sponges. For ladies, washable cloth pads or menstrual cups can greatly reduce waste in the form of tampons and pads. In fact, you can even make your own zero waste toothpaste here.
In the kitchen, choose beeswax wraps instead of plastic cling wrap. These reusable and washable wraps only need the warmth of your hands to mold it to whatever you intend to wrap. Opt for loose leaf tea instead of tea bags which create waste. This is an advantage because loose leaf tea tastes better too! Loofahs can also be used to do the dishes and when you throw them away, they can be composted. Ditch plastic bin liners and learn about alternatives here.
Remember to always refuse, reduce, reuse and lastly recycle. When you recycle your items, make sure they are all clean before dumping them into the recycling bins. Currently in Macau, plastic bottles, metal, paper, glasses, batteries and electric are being widely collected and transported outside Macau for recycling. To reduce the burden on the collectors, please make sure all the recycling items are well sorted and clean. For more information, please check out the DSPA website on what to recycle and where to put recycling items here.
Make a difference by saying “No, thanks!” to disposable items. Imagine if everyone does the same, Macau can be a green haven that we can all be proud of.
For more information and eco-friendly supplies, check out these awesome shops in Macau:
Lush Macau www.facebook.com/LushMacau
Concept H Rua de Henrique de Macedo 10A, www.facebook.com/ConceptHMacau