May 12th, 2016
The thought of throwing out 4,000+ nappies over the course of their child’s infant years, each taking up to 500 years to decompose in landfill, inspired this North County Dublin couple to try out cloth nappies. This one move triggered them to pursue a wider move towards reducing their waste and they are now part of a thriving zero waste community in Ireland.
We are a family of three, two adults and one 10 month old, living in North Co Dublin. We started to be more conscious about the waste we produce after our first child arrived. We noticed a big increase in the amount of landfill waste we were throwing out on a weekly basis largely due to disposable nappies and wipes. The Cloth Nappy Library was a great source of information in our decision making and we made the change.
We heard about the Zero Waste Ireland group on Facebook and joined in January 2016. The community group is very active and it is a great location for getting and sharing ideas on how to reduce waste. We found certain products hard to buy without packaging, but within the community if someone has found a source for such an item, the knowledge is shared. To make such sharing easier we created an online interactive database where users can add shop locations to a Google map marking sources of unpackaged products and Zero Waste alternatives like bamboo toothbrushes.
After reading the Zero Waste Home book by Bea Johnson, we continued to phase out disposables in our life and made changes in our daily routine to bring less packaging into the house. Most of our weekly shopping is done at the local farmers market and farm shops, in the supermarket we only buy loose fruit and vegetables. For products that are sold in plastic we look for the equivalent in glass bottles or jars. We take our own glass containers to the local butchers who are happy to save on plastic wrapping.
Most supermarkets are unwilling to accept the use of customers’ containers at the deli counters, so we buy our cheese and cold meats at the local Polish store. Another large saving in waste produced was made in the bathroom where the shampoo and shower gel bottles were replaced with unpackaged solid bars. Disposable sanitary items were replaced by reusable items (Cloth sanitary pads and menstrual cups). Some of the changes were really easy to implement, others are a little bit harder, but it is doable with a little bit of research.
Reducing the amount of waste that left our household to go straight to landfill has been a very rewarding experience. The Zero Waste Community is great, not just in Ireland but internationally. People share their achievement and encourage each other to do more.
-Timi KonyaClick here to join the Zero Waste Ireland Facebook page
Click here to see the zero waste map
Click here to learn more about cloth nappies