Intro to Zero Waste: What I've learned so far.
My husband and I started the zero waste journey a little over one month ago, we had been watching a lot of Greta Thunberg speeches, so we decided to do some more digging into how bad our planet had really gotten, and let me tell you, it's gotten pretty bad. (If you don't believe me, just ask NASA, or the latest IPCC report.) My husband asked me what we could be doing to help fight climate change and I'm sad to say I didn't have much to say other than, "Well, we're already vegan and we recycle, so we're doing better than most people." This was not an adequate response, and I knew it, because doing "better", isn't always enough. So, the next day I started looking into the Zero Waste lifestyle, it obviously seemed daunting- but so does our current ecological trajectory. Thus began our zero waste journey!
I wanted my first blog post to be a bit about some small practical things I've learned so far, some tips, and some things I'm noticing about the Zero Waste community/movement.
I've definitely been noticing some trends that concern me a bit with the zero waste community, and the first, and biggest one is that the idea of zero waste is to reduce your consumption of everything, to reduce your footprint and to just live smaller and simpler, yet so many people who are embarking on this journey think it's necessary to throw out all items made of plastic, or that aren't matching and uniform. There is a very clear look that comes with most of the social media "influencers" that are zero waste. Everything matches, everything is in perfect mason jars, everything is stainless steel, and everything is completely uniform. Yes, this is absolutely stunning to look at, it's "Goals" as they say. But creating more waste by throwing away perfectly good things you have around your house is totally against the whole idea of zero waste. If you find yourself doing this, stop, and ask yourself why you're going zero waste in the first place. If it is to meet some unattainable esthetic you've seen online, and not to help the environment, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons and it won't last. This will just be a very expensive fad for you, and it will honestly not be worth it. So please, if you're choosing to go zero waste... do it ugly, do it slowly, use what you have, only buy what you need, and go save the planet!
Take a look at the photo of my pantry above, not so cute, hu? I'm still using up products that are in plastic bags, my mason jars are mismatched because I clean out the jars that my pasta sauces (etc.) come in, my pantry is sooo far from what I want it to be, but I take solace in that fact that I'm not creating unneeded waste to fit into the zero waste mould.
Consumerism is deep rooted in us, we want to buy things, it's been engrained in us since birth, but fighting that urge is so important. Refrain from getting on Amazon and searching "zero waste", because chances are you already have everything you need laying around your home, and if you don't, then I'm sure you can find what you need at a local store or thrift shop.
Things I'm glad I did buy:
1. Cotton bags for the bulk section- This purchase helped me to immediately stop using plastic bags in the bulk section, so to me that was 100% worth the purchase.
2. Bamboo Toothbrushes- We were way past due on new tooth brushes, so this made sense as a replacement.
3. Bar Soap/Shampoo- We were out of both, so buying bars was an easy way to cut out all plastic. (Loving them both, by the way!)
4. Stainless Straws- I love using a straw, it helps me drink when I'm on the go at work and I appreciate them a lot. *If you don't use straws now, don't buy reusable ones.
5. Pela Case- I just got a new phone because my old one literally stopped working (Red Screen of Death), so for this phone I got a Pela case, which is biodegradable and worth every penny. *Please don't toss your perfectly good case and replace it with an eco friendly one. Once again, that defeats the purpose.
6. Glass mini spray bottles- I used these to make homemade deodorant and plan to use them until they break. *I didn't have anything around the house that would work, or I would have totally used them.
I plan to talk more about the products above and dig deeper into this new journey with you guys over the weeks to come, so I hope you'll follow along!