How to live the zero waste dream

Guest Blog by Tammy Logan from Gippsland Unwrapped

Have you heard about those people who can fit an entire year of waste in one small jar? Well, that’s me. I’m the zero waste hero behind Gippsland Unwrapped, a blog full of practical tips, honest stories, and inspirational examples of how sustainable living results in a happier, healthier life. I share my insights and discoveries to empower others and show them that their individual actions do make a difference.

I’m thrilled to be an ambassador for the Garage Sale Trail this year and to be participating for the fourth year as organiser of the Poowong Pickers Festival – a garage sale trail in the town of Poowong, Victoria.

I love garage sales because items are saved from landfill by finding them a new home or a new purpose. Reuse is a very important part of being able to achieve ‘zero waste’. But as well as being about environmental responsibility, garage sales – especially garage sale trails – are about community, creativity, thriftiness, and the thrill of the hunt. They’re so much fun!

Living a zero waste lifestyle can be a bit like living how our grandparents did, with good quality reusable items that aren’t made from plastic. So, it makes sense that garage sales give me a unique opportunity to find useful things in a world that’s now full of plastic disposable items. You can live zero waste in a very modern way with new items or modern second-hand items, but I also have a thing for antiques and old objects with a story. It brings me great joy to keep those items in the economy and extend their story. Doing this also prevents the unnecessary consumption of virgin materials.

If we all got better at reducing and reusing the items we have, we would have a much healthier planet and much healthier people. There are two models that sum up the importance of reducing and reusing very well, and they are excellent models for figuring out how to live a zero waste lifestyle. The first is The Buyerachy of Needs and the second is The Waste Hierarchy.

Buyerachy

The Buyerachy of Needs is a schematic for consumption. It was made by illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic and is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (a theory for what motivates people). The idea behind the schematic is that you should not buy anything until you have exhausted all other options in the pyramid first. By finding ways to buy less, you create less waste. By focusing on what you have already, the more value you place on items for reusability, and in turn, the less you need to buy new or secondhand (thrift).

Waste heirachy

The waste hierarchy reminds us that to reduce our waste, it is most important to refuse and reduce our consumption of materials, then reuse everything in its current form as much as possible. If it can’t be reused or repurposed, it should be able to be recycled, and if it cannot be recycled, it should be able to be composted. If I can’t do any of these things with an item, I avoid it and that’s how I manage to create so little landfill.

Read our interview with Tammy here