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It’s the last day of Write 31 Days 2017. Somehow this final post always sneaks up on me. It’s bittersweet. I love the connection of being in your inbox every morning...but the rest of my life takes a back seat while I type. Thank you for sharing this month with me. Let’s finish this!
I’ve always been a dedicated recycler. I’m careful not to litter. The compost bin in my kitchen is considerably larger than the trash can. But even with a bunch of positive practices in place, my family of five produces A LOT of trash.
I’m not sure where we stand in comparison with the average family in the United States. I’d like to think we’re doing our part to keep it the planet clean, yet I’m beginning to believe that we could do even more.
I honestly never gave much thought to a Zero Waste lifestyle….until recently.
I’ve poked gently around the concept of Zero Waste in the past. Primarily because the stories of people who live a Zero Waste lifestyle are so incredible. Their extreme tales of generating only a tiny amount of trash are eye-opening.
A year’s (or four) worth of trash in a Mason jar?
How is that even possible?
It usually takes a real-life example to nudge me into action. I’m inspired by people I know personally, who are making a ‘big idea’ seem attainable.
As is often the case with a new curiosity, once you begin to ponder it...the Universe begins to connect you with people who can help lead the way.
Since September, I’ve met a few such guides.
After listening to their stories, I’m intrigued.
I’m interested in learning more.
I’m ready to get my feet wet.
Here’s what I know at this early point in my research…
You can do more. There is a more Zero Waste option for basically everything in our daily lives. Granted, those options to further reduce waste might not seem initially appealing or affordable or practical...but they are available.
Small steps matter. I believe that every little thing we can do to reduce the amount of trash we create is a win. Begin with changes that you feel you can manage.
It gets easier. Like most change, once you become comfortable with the ‘new’...it’s hard to imagine any other way. For instance, composting food scraps was completely foreign to me 20 years ago when I stayed with a family in France who kept a compost bin on the kitchen counter. Today, I live in a town where compost is picked up on trash day.
Someone knows the answer. Questioning where to start? There great information available on how and why to live Zero Waste. Spend some time online. Research and learn what shifts might be possible for you and your family.
Fun factor. In the process of adopting new practices, you might discover that you love crafting your own lotions and candles. Maybe you awaken your mad ‘thrifting’ skills and find joy in repurposing second-hand treasures for your home. Your kids might eagerly join the Plastic Police and take pride in pointing out alternatives made of wood, glass or metal.
Being resourceful helps keep our creative juices flowing.
Without really trying, I’ve begun to see our trash differently.
A switch has flipped.
Lately, I find myself evaluating everything as it relates to my trash footprint.
In my beginner enthusiasm, I mentioned to my family that I’d like to try some Zero Waste practices in our home.
There’s been some resistance:-)
They were quick to point out our current Zero Waste practices...
We only use cloth napkins
We store leftovers in glass containers
We actively compost and recycle
We bring our own bags to the grocery store
We consume very few processed foods
I assured them that we’re off to a great start...but challenged that we can do even more.
I'd love to add these…
No more produce bags at the grocery store
Eliminate paper towel use
Use handkerchiefs for basic nose wiping
Non-paper gift wrapping options this holiday season
I tossed out a few others, but according to my family, these Zero Waste options are probably never happening...
Install bidets systems on our toilets
Make our own almond milk and almond butter
Make our own toothpaste
"Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (and only in that order) is my family’s secret to living waste-free since 2008!"-Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home (note: Bea makes Zero Waste look sexy and chic)
In examining the five R’s in the quote above, I realize that we’ve been taught to recycle and compost...but the more important components are found in the first three steps.
Refuse - don’t take the item in the first place
Reduce - use, buy, toss less
Reuse - always repair and repurpose before replacing
The topic of Zero Waste is super far-reaching. It covers basically all the consumer goods we encounter as humans. There’s too much to explore today...I’ve already begun outlining ideas for future posts:-)
My oldest son believes we're devolving.
I prefer to think that we’re bringing back the lost art of giving a hoot.
I’m discovering that small, simple changes can have a profound effect on our lives and the life of our beautiful planet.
Big thanks to Kym Ventola, Founder of NINE for opening my eyes to so many Zero Waste possibilities. FYI...Kym's amazing! You can learn more about her here and here.
Please share your thoughts on Zero Waste or any of the posts from this challenge.
I welcome your comments! I so love seeing you in my inbox!
Hearty thanks for following along. It means the world.
I'll settle back into weekly posts soon. First, I'm taking a breather and beginning work on some exciting changes for the blog and website. Stay tuned...
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