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Zero Waste and Illness

Zero waste is a challenge, and when you come down with an illness or are battling ongoing health issues, you need to choose what is right for your health.

Zero Waste and Illness

After coming down with the Flu on Monday, I didn't give up on zero waste, but I certainly dropped my standards significantly, and to be honest, I don't really care.

Lining up at the supermarket, my 5 year old looked at our shopping basket and said loudly 'Mummy, I thought we weren't doing plastic anymore!! Look at all the plastic we got!' (Cringe Moment)

I was feeling so sick, that we barely made it out of the house to the shops. We needed bread and there was no chance I was going to bake it, so plastic here we come I thought, and moved onto the punnets of strawberries. Kids can sense weakness a mile away and when the whining started about getting cake, while I had hot and cold shivers , I said sure, pick what you want , I don't even care, just make it quick! ..and kept up my zombie pace thru the store.

Then with a line up at the deli and no containers from home, we grabbed prepacked sandwich meat now I was committing a double sin of rubbish food and extra plastic that can't be recycled. Followed closely by pre-packaged chicken soup, garlic bread and snacks, I was carrying a hoard of plastic and I just didn't care... who knew if I would live to regret it.

Fulfilling my urge for takeaway sashimi and extra soy and wasbi ..I did briefly wonder if a fish would end up eating my fish shaped soy sauce packets in the future?!? I would have opted out but they were already in the packs.

Millions of tissues, empty pill packs, forgotten leftovers and the family doing as they please without me reminding them to switch of the lights, stop leaving the taps running, and put stuff in the right bin. OK, it bothered me a little but in the big scheme of things it really doesn't matter.

My other half thankfully took charge of everything that needed doing!

He read that to prevent spreading the flu germs, he should disinfect surfaces, BUT decided it was too hard when he realized we use DIY products and not the legitimate disinfectant wipes from the shops. (It's ok, he did a great job regardless)

I really have no idea how no one else in the house caught it. Coming to check on me later, he told me we have a mouse living behind the TV 😣😣 and a bird had flown into the living I snuggled deeper under the doona and continued to binge-watch the Bachelorette and developed a love of The Doctor Blake Mysteries.

I drifted in and out of fever, pain and poor sleeps.. the mouse (which thankfully turned out to be a gecko), the bird, the house and the war on waste would just have to wait!

So why am I sharing such a boring story?

Well, because we all get sick and we all have life challenges and unexpected events that get in the way of the plans we make and this situation is no different. I'm sure anyone trying to live zero waste has similar stories of health issues that resulted in loads of unexpected trash - AND felt guilty about it.

I chose to concentrate on getting back to health the best way I can, and convenience has to prevail at times. I lacked the energy and motivation to prepare foods from scratch and of course didn't want to share germs in the family meals. This meant a LOT more plastic and general waste plus food waste and lots of unrecyclable pill packets.

**UPDATE: I since discovered a way to recycle blister packs from Panadol and other medicines!

I would love to have incinerate the truckload of tissues, they are all in the organics bin, along with the pizza boxes 😇

I'm still sick, waiting for test results, and desperately hoping to feel better soon, but am truly grateful it's going to be relatively short term.

I don't know if there are zero waste options for most medicines and medical treatment but I do know that health is a priority and maybe one day there will be more eco-friendly options. I'm making the most of my essential oils, but they can't replace mainstream medicine for me or my family.

For anyone out there battling ongoing health issues, or even short term illness.... don't be too hard on yourself.

Do what you can, when.. and if you can.

I look forward to a future where the world holds better solutions and innovation favours the planet rather than profit. I'd like to think that the medical and pharmaceutical industry can create some new innovative and planet friendly options, but until then...its blister packs and all the rest of the unintended trash.

**Update** It was Influenza B, and it hit me pretty badly. I spent 2 solid weeks in bed and it took several more weeks to shake the lingering fatigue. Next year I'll be getting a flu shot!

If you're reading this and feeling sick or unwell, I wish you a speedy recovery.

Do you think the medical world will hop on board with more sustainable items? Obviously, preventing infection or spreading disease is paramount, but maybe there are better ways of doing things that we haven't thought of yet.

What are your tips for minimising waste when ill? or should it be a 'Hall Pass' and we should all turn a blind eye and just get better?


A huge thanks to Joolx who asked in the comments, about what to do with moisture absorbers that come with medicines

I had a couple of ways to use them, but it really got me thinking about what else they could be purposefully reused for. If you're wondering too, then you might want to check out this post on Ways to Use Silica Gel Sachets around your home (and how to refresh them)


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