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!
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.
This year I have twice brought Heath Ceramics as a gift for someone. The Sausalito based cermatics company create surprisingly soft-to-the-touch pots, plates and pitchers in a variety of standard and limited additions. Whether it’s their muted pastel tones, dusty earthy finishes or chunky but smooth lines that create the warm and fuzzies when I see them, I can’t tell. No matter, as either way each piece feels like snuggling up on the sofa with a nice cup of tea even in the store.
Prior to Heath’s shop in the Ferry Building I had been limiting my pining to occasional web browses or an admiring stare in the SFMOMA gift shop. Now, well, now it’s pretty hard to resist buying up all the cups and teapots every time we stop by for a Blue Bottle coffee or a Gott’s cheeseburger (formally Taylor’s Automatic Refreshers). My latest lustful visit ended in the purchase of the second gift, a set of small bud vases and a matching plate from their Summer 2010 collection. The pastel blues and sunny shining yellows were simply too much to resist and when I needed a wedding gift for a university friend’s upcoming nuptials there was no need to. Yes! I do.
So, if you need a unique but understated gift for a friend or loved one I highly recommend you take a look at Heath. Be careful though, it could be love at first sight.