01 March 2016

My zero waste goals

I've always been a weirdly eco viking hippy. (I really meant to type vibe-ing, but strangely viking works...) I've always thought that just recycling my plastics, cardboards and a lot of composting would be fine. Enter the work of Bea Johnson's "Zero Waste Home." This book was surprisingly easy to read and I learned quite a bit from just the first chapter. I've been seeing 'zero waste' on a few of my minimalist boards that I read and contribute to, but I hadn't fully researched it.  Now, I've read it and I'm a believer. My life is totally changed (for the better I think, and for the betterment of the planet)

My DH is not convinced about some of it. He doesn't understand why we can't just keep recycling everything. But, if I implement a new plan with enough information he goes with it. I do have to give him time to adjust to the new idea but I think that's understandable. Don't we all need time to adjust to a new habit or idea in life?

I want to waste less resources, time, money, and leave a healthy planet behind for the next generation. Plastic is just bad news all around. It doesn't bio-degrade into useable compost or soil like most things do. It photo-degrades, which means that it will break down into particles in the soil, water or air and make it more and more toxic as more particles are accumulated. Why did we make this stuff??  I do think that people are starting to see that using so many plastic things and throwing them away (Where is away?) is just not sustainable. So many companies are now charging for plastic bags or giving a discount if you bring your own reusable bag(s.) Some cities in the US are talking about banning plastic bags.

"...[Plastic bags] sit balled up and stuffed into the one that hangs from the pantry door. They line bathroom trash bins. They carry clothes to the gym. They clutter landfills. They flap from trees. They float in the breeze. They clog roadside drains. They drift on the high seas. They fill sea turtle bellies. 
"The numbers are absolutely staggering," said Vincent Cobb, an entrepreneur in Chicago, Illinois, who recently launched the Web site http://Reusablebags.com to educate the public about what he terms the "true costs" associated with the spread of "free" bags. He sells reusable bags as a viable solution." (Source)
So plastic bags are banned from my house. This is just one of many reasons I'm changing our life. 

Zero Waste Goals

  1. Switch every family member over to using reusable bags. By keeping the bag/bags in the car we can just grab them when we go to the store. My DH doesn't go to the grocery store very often, but I want him to have a bag to use if he goes to the hardware store or picks something else up from town. I'm working on making a man appropriate bag for him. (More on that later)
  2. Stop using the plastic bags in the produce section. I have actually already instituted this one, but sometimes I forget to bring them with me. They are now kept in the truck with my reusable bags. 
  3. Stop junk from coming into the house. I already blogged about how I stopped the junk mail through different sources. This is the next step of that. I'm going paperless with our bills and bank statements. I don't really even use the bank statements. When we do the budget I use the computer, so why have I been wasting these resources? I'm also refusing things I don't need or want. 
  4. Compost all paper that does come into the house. This is me being realistic here. I know that I am not going to be able to stop ALL the paper from coming into the house. Just tax documents and old paperwork alone could give me an aneurysm. So, I have instituted a plan with my DH for him to spread all paper that he wants to "throw away" it will take some time, but I know he will get it. All the shred paper gets taken to the compost heap to rot. 
  5. Shop at the Co-op in town for bulk items. I'm still making my cloth bags for this and I want to go buy some things that I need there, but I'm putting it off for now until I finish the bags. Since this store is 20-30 miles away it's not a quick run over and get what I need every day kind of thing. It just requires a bit more planning on my part. 
  6. Switch to "ReUsies" instead of plastic storage bags. (In case you don't know what it is.) I have a set of 2 and one extra that I use, but I am going to get a few more that are zippered for small things like grapes that fall out of the velcro bags. 
  7. Stop using disposable head razors. My Step-Father gave us his old safety razor. I bought new blades for it, a badger shave brush and some fancy soap for my DH to try it. He has a lot of disposable heads to go through so it may be awhile before he tries it. I'm also hoping that he likes the closer shave it gives. I use an epilator and a hand held electric razor. 
  8. Get more serious about composting. I know that there are more things in this house that I've been "throwing away" that could be composted. The hair that gets caught in the shower. (I have a lot of hair, says my DH), the vacuumed hair and dirt from the rugs, and the paper I mentioned. 
  9. Switch to using handkerchiefs instead of tissue. My DH is not so sure about this one. I seem to blow my nose a lot and how many do I need to carry and how do I carry it? This is the one that scares me the most and we have a few boxes of tissue to use up before it becomes an issue. I actually do have a vintage hankie that I bought at an antique store because I loved the embroidery on it. I need to get some for DH and a few extras for me, but it will be awhile. Since we have 6 boxes of tissue. (This is going to make more space under my bathroom sink too!) 
  10. Stop my trash service. This one step would save me $30 a month and it would force me to figure out other ways to recycle and be more proactive about our waste. 
These are goals and I plan to implement small changes to work towards them. Nothing is going to happen overnight. But, I want to be the change that I desire in the world. So, here I go. 

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