My zero waste month is up.
I haven’t been able to keep all the waste together because I travelled for two weeks in the middle so I’ll give my updates and reflections in batches.
Here’s the first lot of waste. It’s the waste for about 11 days. It was collected at home.
It looks way more than I thought it would. It’s nowhere near zero.
The most frustrating things are the veggie packaging, receipts, the junk mail and a stupid plastic straw that arrived in a glass of water I asked for. I refused things as much as I could but it was surprising how much waste seemed pointless but just gets given to you.
Although there was more waste than I’d hoped maybe it’s not too bad for two people? As I live and share meals with my husband many of our meals and therefore, associated waste were for two people and so if I consider only half of this to be mine I guess it’s not too bad.
The vast majority of the waste is recyclable (in Oakland where we live) which is good as it means landfill waste is minimal. Also with the exception of the veggie packing most of the packaging was also paper based which I prefer over plastic waste. And even the veggie packets had an upside. I contacted the farm who provided me my CSA veggie box and asked if I could have mine without the plastic and they said that they’ll try to do that as much as they can. I haven’t had a box since then as we’ve been out of town but here’s hoping its plastic free.
I also started to use Catalog Choice again to help me with the junk mail and contacted the newspapers that just appear at my house to try to get them stopped. Sadly over the last 3 weeks I’ve seen no changes but here’s hoping.
I also switched to loose leaf tea for a lot of my cuppas to reduce the tea bag waste.
And I thought twice before using paper or stickies as a todo list and just used my phone instead.
I am also pleased that I resisted chips, individual snacks at work and individual yoghurt pots for a whole 11 days. No junk food waste in here from me!
Oh hello, you’re here. Guess what? I pledged to do a month zero waste.
I have some experience trying to be zero waste as I have been working my way up to it for a while. I’d say that this year I have been lower waste. Lower waste meaning I have a water bottle, use cloth bags for veggies, we compost, we buy shampoo/conditioner/body wash in bulk, we buy some dry goods like rice, pasta, black beans in bulk and I make my toothpaste.
Primarily I did the pledge because I wanted to take stock of where I am and see what other options there are for me to reduce more.
My rules for zero waste month
1. Recycling is waste
2. Purchased by me before the month starts is still waste
3. Purchase by someone else before month start is not waste
4. Used solely by Ian is not my waste
5. Food wasted is not ok (e.g. I’d rather eat something in packaging than let the food waste)
My hopes for zero waste month
- One whole day of zero waste
- Take reusable containers on holiday to reduce waste while traveling
- I have all I need. No non food purchase packaging
- Get new ideas and alternatives for waste
- Reduce junk mail
- Refuse unnessecary packaging
- No packaged snacks
- No plastic yoghurt pots
- No disposable coffee cups
- No disposable plastic bottles
- No plastic personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo, moisturiser etc…
- No plastic bags or Ziplocks etc…
- No plastic cleaning product packages
- No plastic packaging on toilet paper
- No plastic cutlery
- No plastic straws
- No plastic milk bottles
I’ll update what I learn and what I waste over the next few weeks.
It’s been over a month since the big trip ended. In some ways it feels like normal life has resumed completely and in other ways it does not. The difference will always be different.
I feel calmer and more confident. Less afraid to be wrong.
I feel like I’m going at the pace life intended. I’m not pushing it. I’m not too slow.
I breathe and I look around. I see things.
I want less stuff in my life. Less things. I want more people, more places and more memories.
And I know how to do this now.
So at Christmas my Mom took me to a hobbycraft store to buy some wool (American’s call this yarn because it is not always wool). Whilst there I found a pattern for a scarf that I really liked. It was modern and funky and the models didn’t look like 1980’s hairdressing magazine models. Yay.
So I brought it, my Mom taught me to cast on, knit, purl and cast off and I spent the rest of my holiday knitting the scarf. I was knitting and frogging and frowning and knitting and cursing and knitting and then one day in January I was finished. Yay.
So I was finished with my first scarf and starting on a new journey into a new hobby-world. The world of the knitter and the yarnie and sheep and the needles and the patterns and all the fun I had no idea was out there. Yay.
So since then I have joined Ravelry, knitted three pairs of booties, a cowl, a mini scarf, a heart and a mitten (the other one is set to start tonight!), favorited hundreds of patterns, visited Imaginknit every weekend for weeks and brought lots of needles and skeins (new knitter word) of wool. Yay.
So… here is to the new year (I know it’s March but I’ve been knitting!) my new hobby and to the knitters out there.
Knit one, purl one, slip one, curl one?
Erm… Yeah. I just realized that. Thanks. Night.
In the UK this week it’s been snowing. I know because Facebook told me where all my friends and family have been stuck, delayed and trapped. Most of what I hear is that is cold, wet and dark. But just look at this.
Deep cool breath.