Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Zero Waste or Waste Free Living: My Challenge to You

Unfortunately humans contribute too much waste to landfills every day. If it is out of site it is out of mind. But really this shouldn't be how we think. Just take a look at your trash can and how much waste you throw away daily in your household and at your work place. It shouldn't be a lot, but I am fairly certain that if you haven't adopted a waste free or zero waste way of living you still have a fair amount of trash per day. Society has thrown us into the idea that if it is convenient it must be better. This is usually not the case. We need to remember the first R in the old adage Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Rarely do we think about reducing our waste because it is so easy to just throw the rubbish away. I am going to be doing different posts throughout the year of how I am trying to change my family's lifestyle to a more sustainable one and tips and tricks to help you do the same. I also have questions in this post for those of you that have already made these changes for the better.

I have been trying to find solutions to my family's huge amount of trash that we throw away every day. We recycle/reuse/repurpose what we can but I still find that we throw away an excessive amount of waste and I find that the majority of it is plastics and other things that cannot be recycled and packaging materials that are evil, i.m.o...like Styrofoam.

As a review blogger I get packages from all over the world. Some are packaged better than others. It is hard when you get packages with things packed in plastic, zip ties, Styrofoam, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts that are not biodegradable. I love seeing things wrapped in brown paper, cardboard, compostable containers, twine, reusable twist ties, fabric, yarn, and biodegradable packing peanuts, etc. I wonder if asking the people sending the items to send them more eco-friendly would help? Have you ever done this?

Going out to eat can not just be hard on the wallet (and sometimes stomach), but on the environment as well. Fast food and take out produces the worst amount of waste when it comes to restaurants. Plastic containers, lids and straws are a prevalent take away from these, as is Styrofoam. To eliminate this waste we need to bring our own containers with us to pack the food and drink into or make our food and beverages at home. I know many who bring a reusable cup with them for their coffee they get on the road. I wonder if it can be done for other things as well...like when you bring home leftovers from a restaurant or get take-out? Have you ever tried this?

Some of the lovelies in my pantry. A start to a waste-free life.

I know we have a choice for paper or plastic sacks or bags while checking out at the grocery. Choosing paper is a better choice than plastic and you can even bring your own reusable bags from home to use. Places around the country are also banning plastic bags from being used in grocery stores or offer a recycling option. But have you ever thought about the packaging on food and drink that you are bringing home? I know I used to not give it much thought, but now that I am also giving more thought to eating healthier with a nod to organic, non GMO, and raw foods I find myself being even more aware of other things I am bringing into my home too. There are ways to get around the packaging at the grocery store.
  • Refuse: Say no to products packaged in plastic or Styrofoam.
  • Make your own at home. We are already growing an organic garden and orchard and have chickens who lay eggs. We are also planning on doing aquaponics: growing fish and a garden that in turn give each other nutrients to live and grow. Our neighbor also hunts and fishes and shares some of this with us. We are also going to be slowly transitioning to making our own cleaning supplies, personal care products, etc. too so we don't have to deal with that packaging as well.
  • Buy local. Buy from local farms, farmer's markets and co-ops.
  • Bring reusable bags and containers to the store with you for filling with the below items.
  • Buy from the bulk section (the section of the store with bins filled with dry goods).
  • Go to the Deli, Seafood, Dairy, and Bakery Counter more for your meats, cheeses, and baked goods and have them package them in paper or other recyclable material. 
  • Purchase unpackaged produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are wonderful and healthy. Buy organic to make sure you don't get toxic stuff with your food and watch the packaging.
There is even a packaging-free, zero-waste grocery store, called in.gredients in Austin, Texas. It is revolutionary and the first of its kind in the US. Hopefully we can get more grocery stores like this one to spring up all across the States.

The folks at these blogs are helping my family and I along our journey to live better and make the better choice of living waste/trash free. They know the ins and outs of living waste free and they want to helps us all to become waste free with them.

I am going to challenge myself  and my family to get towards my goal of a waste free life and I am challenging you to do the same! What are you doing or are going to do to move towards this challenge? Have you thought about this topic much?


Erin said...

I've had these thoughts myself! I am aiming to do the same thing! I still can't believe my family of four can make up so much trash each week! I'm looking forward to seeing your journey as I am working on my own Crystal!

Lindsey@Kindred Spirit Mommy said...

When we moved to the country we ended up with a much smaller trash can for the same price... so I have been working on reducing trash. We burn our paper trash and started a compost. I ask for paper instead of plastic at the store now. We don't have a recycle bin here but there is a place we can take stuff to recycle it.

Wonda Colins said...

My best friend is from these incredible people who lives zero waste life. I am so inspired by her that I started to make a lot of changes in my life too. I think that it is our responsibility to stop the dangerous waste in our environment!