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Zero Waste Month: Week 4 (Vivian)

Cover Photo of cashews, water, and honey to make cashew milk

It’s a little late but we’ve made it to our last week of the zero waste transition. Before you read on, catch up on Zero Waste Month: Week 1, Zero Waste Month: Week 2, and Zero Waste Month: Week 3.

What are your thoughts on the transition to a zero waste lifestyle so far?
With any new change to a lifestyle, at first, it’s going to feel exciting, different, and out of the norm. For me, the hardest part of the transition was planning ahead of time and feeling “guilty” from time to time. Overall, it was a positive experience because this transition gave me an opportunity to think outside of the box, find better alternatives, and gain a new outlook on waste.

What did you find most surprising about the zero waste transition? About yourself?
It was surprising to find how much plastic we use in our everyday lives. Even when we’re conscious about it, it’s hidden in places you wouldn’t even think about. You can’t escape it! We all know plastic waste is a big problem for our environment, but visually seeing the amount we consume makes the thought a reality.

What I’ve learned is to take the big picture and scale it down to what you can do so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. I’ve learned to let go of “perfection” and create a balance between my zero waste lifestyle and my happiness. I enjoy making my food from scratch and finding new ways to cut down my waste. We live in a world that isn’t created to be “zero waste”, but knowing that I’m doing the best I can is all anyone can ever ask for.

What habits do you think you’ll be more flexible about?
I’ll be more flexible about my frozen Asian food, especially since I don’t live in an area that has much at all. I won’t be eating them as much, but I also won’t stop buying them completely. I do hope more Asian companies will consider the environment when making their products and packaging. It’s important to voice your thoughts to businesses and bring it to their attention. Email, write, or call them on why they should be eco-minded; speak up and question their process.

Any tips for someone who’d like to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle?
First and foremost, write down your “why”. Understanding why you want to live a zero waste lifestyle will determine your mindset and your action. When it comes to these changes, take it slow, and set yourself up with small, attainable goals. Remember, you can’t change your habits overnight (if only!). I recommend reading this book called Life Without Plastic: The Practical Guide to Avoiding Plastic to keep Your Family and the Planet Healthy.

Most importantly, have fun and be creative! No one is perfect so don’t be so hard on yourself if you bought something with plastic or produced XYZ waste. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and when all else is lost, remember your “why.” I want to emphasize again that this lifestyle isn’t about giving everything up; it’s about finding better alternatives for yourself and the planet.

Day 21

Photo of Day 21

Day 25

Photo of Day 25

Day 28

Photo of Day 28

What ended up in my jar?

Photo of waste from week 4
From left to right, top to bottom: snow cone cup (given to me at a tabling event), candy wrapper, plastic spoon (given with the snow cone cup), twist tie from lettuce, plastic wrappers from tabling event, plastic packaging of an Asian snack.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in San Francisco for work. I brought my food waste and compostable items up with me and dumped them in a compost bin. It felt so satisfying knowing that these won’t go to the landfill. People living in San Francisco, you’re so lucky to have a great compost system. Take advantage of it!

Photo of Vivian with food waste in plastic bag
Standing next to a compost bin with my food waste in a plastic bag.
Photo of Vivian dumping food waste in compost bin
Dumping my food waste and compostable items in the compost bin!
Photo of Jenn and our friend, Juliane.
Reunited and it feels so good! Yes, it was very windy. Left to right: our friend Juliane, Jenn, me!

Thank you for following me on this journey. If you have any questions, comments, or tips please leave them in the comments section below. Feel free to email Tinycaravan at as well!


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