I’m at a place in my my life where I am fully aware that living simply and slowly heading towards zero waste is pertinent to my own personal growth. I feel that it is important to have a small carbon footprint on the planet, and both minimalist living and zero waste are just that. With that said, I am not going to say that either lifestyle is necessarily easy, especially in the beginning. It is easier to go along with the norm than to go in the opposite direction.
We live in a disposable society of plastic convienence. Sadly this convienence recks havoc on our health and the planet.
In terms of our zero waste journey, I have been taking tons of notes on all of the packaged products and foods that are consumed in our household by myself, my husband, and my dog. Discovering simple zero waste solutions that we can all enjoy is where the serious work comes in. Even with many solutions shared in the book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, finding solutions that fit who we are, where we live, and our lifestyle requirements is crucial. Instead of rushing the process to achieve a zero waste household as soon as possible, I’m remembering how long my journey to minimalist living has taken. I am also aware that this transition must be comfortable for everyone involved.
Each small step in the right eco-friendly direction deserves acknowledgement.
I now purchase almost all of our produce package-free, and other food items in the bulk section of the grocery store. I have become very accustomed to using organic cotton produce bags for grocery and bulk items, and I actually prefer them. I look for other items packaged in glass, and items packaged in recyclable plastic as a last option.
This is where living simply becomes so valuable. When you learn to differentiate the items that you actually need and love to what is unnecessary, there are less items overall to transition to zero waste. This process began with decluttering my home, learning to create my own beauty products (you can find a list of recipes in the sidebar as well as in the footer), and downsizing my wardrobe. Now it is a matter of minimizing my DIY projects and maximizing what I already have.
We have easily eliminated our consumption of paper products such as paper towels (we use reusuable microfiber towels for cleaning instead), and we use fabric napkins that I also launder weekly. We now always purchase individually wrapped rolls of toilet paper so that it is completely plastic-free. We seldom print anything from our computer printer anymore, and haven’t needed to purchase computer paper or printer ink in ages.
Zero waste encourages creativity in ways that I have never experienced with everyday living.
We have been using soap nuts aka aritha for laundry, which is also an amazing natural shampoo alternative. Finding products that can serve for dual purposes makes life so much easier. In this case washing my clothes and my hair has never been easier. You can find other zero waste bath and beauty products that I have transitioned too as well.
After my trip to Portland, Oregon, I am clearly aware that zero waste can be much easier in some cities than others. In Portland they pick up food compost in the same way they do trash and recycling, so there is little need for an at home composting bin unless you are gardening. I also have heard about farmer’s markets and other locations where you can drop off your food compost, but I have yet to find a similar set up in Los Angeles. I also saw an abundance of items sold in bulk in some of the Portland grocery stores and coops including henna which blew my mind. I’m hoping that more and more stores will follow suit.
Zero waste is also about refusing items that are not environmentally friendly. This is one area where I need to become more conscious with even if I do plan to give these things to someone else. On a random note…
Empty yourself and let the universe fill you. ~Yogi Tea. Who knew that drinking tea could be so profound.
(Image by Dawn Michelle)