‘Zero Waste’ lifestyle: Family goes weeks without producing a single piece of trash
[Feb 10, 2022: Fiona Jackson]
Esther Peñarrubia decided to eradicate single-use plastic from her life to reduce her family's waste when she moved houses. (CREDIT: Esther Peñarrubia/SWNS)
Smart shopping and lots of recycling have helped a family-of-four from Girona live a lifestyle of zero waste and go weeks without producing trash.
Esther Peñarrubia decided to eradicate single-use plastic from her life to reduce her family's waste when she moved houses.
Bulk buying, reusing old materials, scouring second-hand shops and minimizing products which uses plastic have been the key ingredients to her lifestyle, which sees them send just one piece of trash to the landfill every two weeks.
For example in the last two weeks, the only things that have been discarded have been a broken toy, an old t-shirt used to clean shoes, a balloon from a party and the backing from a sheet of stickers.
Ms Peñarrubia, 41, has encouraged her five and seven-year-old children to follow in her footsteps by taking them on nature walks and picking up litter, using old packaging for crafts and drawings - which is recycled after use - and using reusable cloths to wrap presents for birthday and Christmas.
"There are already reusable items that we would have to buy once, so it would be a waste of time and money buying the single-use ones," she said.
"It’s cheaper and you know that the item will continue being used instead of being set aside - so it’s just perfect!
"Each of us play a big role in taking of the environment.
"It’s enjoyable to try to help rather than just keep complaining about the current situation."
Ms Peñarrubia tries to eliminate all plastic products but if she does purchase any, like olive oil, she will bulk buy in a five-litre bottle and will recycle when finished. This also applies to cleaning products.
Glass jars and containers are repurposed after use and kitchen leftovers go in the compost bin.
The family grows their own tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli and herbs at home and also have orange and mandarin trees, while she buys fresh fruit, vegetables and bread in bulk from local suppliers for the week.
Glass jars and containers are repurposed after use and kitchen leftovers go in the compost bin. (CREDIT: Esther Peñarrubia/SWNS)
She realized that her lifestyle was called 'zero waste' after watching a TED talk in November 2015.
Ms Peñarrubia, who has a PhD in agricultural engineering, believes transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle is easier and cheaper than perceived, but admits the challenging part is convincing others that it can be achieved.
She said: "If you think and organize your buying habits, consume less things and from better quality, choose reusable alternatives, buy everything you can in bulk and from the second-hand market - then it’s not more expensive and you can save money.
"Zero waste culture doesn’t only comprise of the reduction of our waste, it involves a more conscious lifestyle and way of consumption."
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Note: Materials provided above by Ben Anthony Horton. Content may be edited for style and length.
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