Reducing annual waste to a mason jar: first month

Reducing annual waste to a mason jar: first month

It’s been almost 1.5 months since I officially started my waste jar. To call myself a zero waster I had to be transparent and accountable. Having the annual waste in a mason jar seemed the best practice up to date. So I said Yes, let’s do it!

It was a relatively easy start as I had already developed some of the habits and strategies to avoid unnecessary waste in my life. I had my daily zero waste essentials; my favourite eco shops and retailers; and continuous decluttering of my wardrobe and household.

So I got a tiny mason jar and here is what I got in my first month:

  1. Six boarding passes – most of the space! As I plan to travel more this year, a mobile solution has to be found soon.
  2. Easter bunnies, chocolate wrappers, kimchi jar cover and a few glittery items – yes, it was very hard to say no to gifts and I didn’t really resist.
  3. Museum/ national park entrances from Mexico – Hola, Frida! At least, it’s a good way to keep the memories.
  4. Price tags and bank receipts – I bought a new jacket and couldn’t go completely cashless. Some ATMs give you an option to not print the receipt, I should choose them.

What’s not in the jar (but could have been?):

  1. External SPA materials – I went to a few SPA treatments and never really checked the materials they used. Technically, it’s their choice to use them but I’m a consumer. So it’s a big personal dilemma if I shall bring my reusable cotton pads or not.
  2. A couple of plastic straws – I always ask to bring me a drink without no straw in it. But sometimes my request is disregarded. The final solution was to avoid the beverages that might include the straws or choose restaurants/bars that don’t offer plastic ones.
  3. Textile waste – I’ve got a few items that weren’t good enough to be donated/sold/given away. So I took them to the municipality bin that accepts clothes (almost every park in Hong Kong has one). I don’t know where they take all that stuff but it was literally the only destination for me.
  4. Condoms – OK, I wasn’t sure if I had to include this part. But I’m here to be fully transparent, right? This is one big dilemma for me as I don’t want to rely on the apps and I don’t like taking the pills. The temporary ‘solution’ is that it’s my partner’s waste but it’s definitely not the permanent solution.

I had no food waste as I rarely cooked in March – was either out of town or changing the apartments. I didn’t buy new clothes, except for the blue jacket from Zara. I recycled a lot of paper and aluminium cans (cokes and beers). I was lucky to be part of many sustainable events where being waste free was easy.


Next steps:

  1. I need a bigger jar as I’m anticipating more waste coming from some of my medicines (painkillers and old pills brought from home).
  2. Food waste and composting will be essential as I’m planning to cook more food.
  3. I need to plan more in advance and avoid hard choices (like eating packaged food vs staying hungry).
  4. Relax and see the content of my jar as a memories’ jar too 🙂

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