This is week two of my zero waste transition. You can read about my Zero Waste: Week 1Week 1 too. This week, I’ll be talking about my essentials, changes I’ve made, and my thoughts on what it means to live with zero waste.
What are your daily zero waste essentials?
My To-Go Ware utensil kit, a stainless steel straw, cloth napkin, and my 32-oz Nalgene bottle are with me at all times (when I have my purse). I leave my glass jars, reusable containers, and reusable bags/produce bags in my car for when I go grocery shopping or any last minute, out-of-the-blue moments.
What changes have you incorporated since starting to live more mindfully?
Everything I do now revolve around trying to avoid single-use plastic and packaging. From what I eat to what I buy to what I do, I keep the plastic-free idea in mind. When I buy groceries at Sprouts, the first thing I do is head to the bulk section to see if I can buy anything I need in bulk. I never understood why stores sold food in bulk, but now I’m so thankful Sprouts has over 300 items in bulk. I try to opt for paper or glass packaging when I think about making purchases.
I also keep in mind to first reduce what I purchase, then reuse what I already own. This week, I had to buy face wash and toothpaste. Instead of going to Target and restocking like I normally would, I found an old glass bottle, went to The Refill Shoppe, and filled it up with face wash. As for my toothpaste, I decided to switch it up and order toothpowder in bulk from The Refill Revolution. They ship their products in paper packaging and the toothpowder I ordered came in compostable packaging. I had a couple of the small 4-oz mason jars at home and used that to put my toothpowder in. I also made hummus for the first time and that turned out better than I expected!
But I’m not perfect. Sometimes I just can’t avoid plastic entirely. When I want something important like Asian snacks and cheese, I’ll get them. No need to beat yourself over it; we all need to live a little.
Have you noticed a significant reduction in the waste you’ve produced?
Not so much my food waste, but in other aspects of my life, yes! It can be hard at time to stay disciplined and avoid food packaged in plastic, but I’m trying! Thankfully, I have The Refill Shoppe and other “zero waste” websites to turn to for household, bath, and beauty products. I wish there were more brick-and-mortar stores that focus on zero waste or a grocery store that is package free. One day!
How has this transition help shaped your idea of what it means to live with zero waste?
It’s all about balance and rejecting the ‘throwaway’ mindset. It’s creating a circular cycle (think the chasing arrows symbol) instead of a linear system where, after disposal, things just end up in the landfill. It’s taking the next step after the disposal process and bringing it back into the cycle (e.g. recycling, composting, repurposing). Living with zero waste is also not about perfection and creating absolutely zero trash. For many of us, that’s unattainable. As long as you’re trying your best and constantly learning and looking for ways to reduce your waste, that’s already making a big impact. Living with zero waste doesn’t mean giving up things you love; it’s looking for better alternatives.
What ended up in my 32oz. jar?