This is week two of my transition to a zero waste lifestyle. You can read more about Zero Waste Month: Week 1 too. This week, I’ll talk about my essentials, what I learned, and what I can’t give up.
What are your daily zero waste essentials?
My stainless steel water bottles (one for water – one for coffee, tea, or boba), reusable utensils, stainless steel straw, and glass straw carried in my Ambatalia utensil roll, and a cloth napkin (somehow I’ll forget to bring this 50% of the time). If I know for sure I will be eating out that day, I’ll bring along my stainless steel box from Three-in-One ECOlunchbox.
What changes have you incorporated since starting to live more mindfully?
I’m a lot more aware of my plastic waste now. When shopping for food, health or beauty products, and little knick-knacks, I will look for an alternative that is either packaged in glass or plastic-free materials –– even if it means I have to pay a little more. The other day I was at Aesop looking to buy hand lotions and body scrubs. When I noticed everything was packaged in plastic and not glass, I decided to not buy anything. As I’m typing this I am on the Meow Meow Tweet website looking for the same thing, but packaged in sustainable materials.
In regards to food, some examples include: opting for honey in glass jars (so I can reuse them later in life), making my own almond milk (except sometimes when I know I won’t have time to blend them, I’ll buy a milk carton of almond milk. This has happened twice since I started making almond milk 4 months ago… I know, I’m sorry. Also, I want to try to make another milk alternative because almond production uses a lot of water. Eek.).
My mindset has also changed from, “It’s okay to buy this. I can compost or recycle the packaging when I’m done, to “If I can’t reuse it, I probably won’t buy it.”
Have you noticed a significant reduction in the waste you’ve produced?
Definitely. Besides food waste from produce peels, a lot of my waste is produced from items I bought in the past without a thought about zero waste in mind. This includes face masks, snacks (many many snacks), and even little things like floss containers. Once I use these items up, I’m excited to replace them with more eco-friendly items like plastic-free floss in glass containers.
Additionally, I am very well aware of food waste now. I do cook at home a lot, but sometimes I am tired of my own cooking and want to eat out. But now, I’ll eat everything to clean out my fridge. This week, I found tomatoes and cucumbers that were on the verge of going bad and I blended them in a “green juice” with tangerines. It was quite good… and healthy too!
How has this transition help shaped your idea of what it means to live with zero waste?
It does feel like everything goes back in full circle. To have a happy and healthy transition, I think it’s okay to say “yes” to things that aren’t completely waste-free if I really truly want it. I know I can’t be completely zero waste, but I will continue to limit my waste in areas that are possible for my current lifestyle. There are a few things I don’t think I will be able to give up, like roasted seaweed, plastic Philips brush heads, or my vitamins. I also feel extremely fortunate to live within the means that I do and have the resources that are provided for me. I don’t want to take that for granted.
What ended up in my 12oz. jar?