A few years ago I had read Plastic Free: How I Kicked The Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry. As a part of my personal plastic consumption study, I collected my plastic trash for a month. I was astonished at how many paper grocery bags of one time use plastic I collected. I made a few changes which I shared here on Minimalist Beauty, then as time went on I only maintained some of my plastic-free improvements.
Now after picking up a copy of Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste by Bea Johnson this summer, I am inspired to begin a journey of creating a zero waste household. I’ve already made a lot of changes with personal care products and tools as well as with how I purchase food in general. But there are still so many more changes to continually work through.
My family is quite familiar to my unique lifestyle choices because I often take the road less traveled. The only one who is directly affected by these choices is my husband. This amazing man is filled with a lot of patience and although often benefits from these changes, he is still human so also gets annoyed during the transition. My main goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible for the both of us.
Transitioning to a new way of living is usually the most challenging simply because change takes thought and preparation, plus can intially feel uncomfortable.
You are also questioning everything that you have ever done previously and why. You wonder why everything that you have been taught is no longer important as you are now going in a completely different direction. In the beginning these changes will often feel like a great effort until they become normal. This was true when we started only buying organic produce and food. Now it’s not anything we even think twice about.
We always hear to be the change we want to see in the world, and I’d love to see less trash and more positive changes to heal the planet.
If Beth Terry and Bea Johnson didn’t embody the lifestyle that they wanted to see in the world, then there would be no one to guide the journey for others possibly seeking the same thing. The truth is that trash is one of the most prominent environmental issues. It affects our planet and those on it in so many ways.
It’s crazy that we actually live on a planet that many somehow feel so disconnected to. This is apparent when seeing litter on the street. Someone just didn’t make an effort to find the trash can in the first place. Now with developing a zero waste lifestyle, my goal is to refuse creating trash in the first place.
I’m deciding to work towards a zero waste household for more than a few reasons.
1. Recycling isn’t the solution to environmental issues. Only 5% of plastics produced in the United States is recycled out of the 100 billion tons of plastics produced each year. Much of the plastics that don’t get recycled end up on the ocean floors, litter our planet with waste, and pile over in landfills.
2. Shipping our trash to other countries is not taking responsibility for it. How much more of the trash produced in the U.S. can be shipped to India and China without degrading their home? With all of the beautiful sunset, beach, mountain, lakes, and desert shots shared and loved on social media, I wonder how beautiful they would all be with trash in the background. When we throw something away, there really is no “away” to begin with. We are just completely naive to exactly where it all goes.
3. I enjoy voting with my consumer dollar for what I want to see more of. When I buy products that are free of packaging, I am directly asking for more of that. Products are produced based on demand. Consumers create the demand. We have more power than we think despite what we are told.
4. I desire to minimize wastefulness and save money. Sometimes there is more money spent upfront on environmental and long lasting products. For example purchasing a safety razor with five razor blades does cost more than buying five disposable razors. Yet you will actually save money because you are spending less overtime and only purchasing razor blades years later. A single blade used in a safely razor can last up to six months at a time plus it shaves so much closer than disposable razors. I was nervous to use a safety razor in the beginning, but I love it and my husband loves his too!
5. I care so much for our planet and everyone on it. So many of the choices we make today actually affect our own lives, the lives of others, and future generations. My everyday choices can either create a positive impact or add to the problem. Creating a new lifestyle that will help save money, live healthier, and create a smaller carbon footprint are all encouraging and inspiring.
There is a lot to question, even more to refuse and reduce, and so many environmental lifestyle improvements to be made. So I will start with how I live and share my findings with you. When you have a better understanding of how trash affects the planet and those in it, making new lifestyle choices to “vote” for something else seems to be the best direction to go in. After taking the time to minimize my overall possessions and consumption as well as creating a simple organic beauty regimen, going zero waste isn’t far off. Let the journey begin!
Is anyone else starting a zero waste journey?
(Image by Dawn Michelle captured from the documentary Addicted To Plastic)