Living, Natural living

Large Family Journey to Zero Waste

“Be a good steward.” I’ve heard that saying several times over the course of my life and it always seemed to be related to money. You should be careful of how much you are spending, where or what you are spending it on, etc. Through my managing our household finances and looking to do well by them, my vision of good stewardship has changed. I now feel that I should also be conscious about everything that I come into contact with. My body, my family, my environment, my world. I should be responsible with what I do in this life, so that is why I am starting the journey towards a zero waste lifestyle. I don’t feel that I have to be overbearing about it, in fact, I don’t believe a completely non-wasteful lifestyle is possible. (Not as of right now. It would require global change.) I just want to make a conscious effort and bring some awareness to it and make some accountability for myself. To guide me in my efforts I have been reading Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. She embarked on this journey in 2008 and has been making headlines ever since. She, her husband, and two boys produce one jar of waste per year! Her advice has been great and these are a few simple steps that I am taking right now:

  1. Reusable shopping bags. I have had some for years, but I want to make more of an effort to use them everywhere and not JUST at the grocers. (My most common place.) I need to remember them even when shopping for clothing, home goods, and so forth. So I try to keep at least one bag in my purse or my diaper bag. Here is the set of produce bags that I purchased recently. They are easy to use and I simply throw them into the wash.
  2. Cloth alternatives. Okay, so I have a post about my confession of using disposable diapers at night and while travelling, but my daughter is one year now and will possibly be potty training soon. So…no excuse. I know. I’m working on it though, I promise! We do have cloth diapers, tablecloths, napkins, dryer balls and feminine products. Yes, I use cloth pads. And yes, they are comfortable, cute, and no I don’t smell odor. I actually feel that they keep the odor down and I know that there aren’t any of the chemicals that are in most of the mainstream disposables. For tampon wearers there is a menstrual cup, but that’s not my thing. Funny story as to why, but I just can’t with the tampons.
  3. Bulk purchases have been one of my purchasing habits for a while, but it’s the kind where I purchase things wholesale. I now purchase from bulk bins. I take my own jar(s), fill, and voila! No packaging wasted. I can keep them in the jars and place them on my shelf at home.
  4. Composting. I had tried to compost a little while back, but hadn’t been too diligent about it until lately. I’m still learning some of the do’s and don’ts but I truly am making an effort. I may be switching the method of composting to one that allows for all foods to be rotted and not just produce or egg shells. This way there isn’t any food that is thrown into the landfill from my address. There is a company in my area that will compost the foods for you, but that wouldn’t be feasible for me.
  5. DIY beauty and cleaning products. I have been doing this for years, so this came easy to me to implement. I make my own lotion bars, deodorant, all-purpose cleaner, lip scrub and more.

Now here are some of the things that I want to learn more about or strive for:

  1. Recycling. It’s more complicated than sorting plastics from paper. You also need to know what items that your community collects. None of the cities around me accept glass anymore. There isn’t a company that will collect it from them because it isn’t profitable. So I try to limit my glass purchases to items I will reuse, but I still haven’t implemented a recycling system in my home.
  2. Decluttering. Getting rid of unnecessary things like clothes that I will never wear that could be donated and used by someone who needs it. Yes, I could gain weight tomorrow, but someone else needed it yesterday. Getting rid of stuff that I didn’t remember even existed in my house, or things that are multiplied unnecessarily is being raised on my priority list.
  3. Saying no! Saying it to consumerism, to marketing strategist, even to friends and family that are all trying to give me things that my home doesn’t need or want. I’m not being ungrateful or anything, just conscious of how I make an impact. If I don’t accept the plastic fork at the diner, it’s one less person to drill more oil for. Saving a resource and keeping it from potentially breaking down into our oceans and affecting our ecology.

So these are my current efforts and goals to change my lifestyle, be less wasteful and help to not contaminate more of my home, our land, our world. Have you thought about where your waste goes after it leaves the curb? Ever heard of zero waste? Let me know your thoughts and until next time…


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