So, what is zero waste? We aim to send nothing to a landfill. We reduce what we need, reuse as much as we can, send little to be recycled, and compost what we cannot.
What's wrong with landfills? The average american sends 4lbs of trash to a landfill a day. Each day we could fill 63,000 garbage trucks with what we produce. We live in a disposable society, and landfills are toxic. They produce tons of greenhouse gasses, are not aerated for proper decomposition of natural materials which then release high levels of methane, unnatural chemicals leach into the soil which can run off into the ocean, ground water, and soil. A lot of trash doesn't even make it to the landfill. Instead it clutters the sides of roads and swirls in the ocean. Plastic is especially dangerous to the ocean, marine life, and our health. It will never disappear, but only get smaller. Each micro plankton in the ocean has 36 microscopic pieces of plastic to match.
What's better about reducing and reusing? You don't need everything you think you "need." So many products are sold to us for a specific use. But, you don't need a separate cleaner for the floor, the windows, and the bathroom. You don't need eight blue sweaters. By reducing what we need, we're reducing what we'll throw out. Instead of using disposables focus on reusables (i.e. hankies instead of tissues.) which will intern also reduce what you need.
What's wrong with recycling? Nothing is wrong with recycling. But, most things aren't really recyclable. It's a very long process where they have to separate raw materials, and a lot winds up being discarded. Exceptions are glass and aluminum. Both are renewable. You can read about which items have the best and worst recycle rates here.
But, what can I do? You should check out my getting started page. It's all about little changes. With just one small step at a time, you can greatly reduce your footprint. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you'll notice an improvement in your quality of life. Side effects include eating better, feeling better, not having to take out the trash, saving money, and an aesthetically pleasing pantry and shower.
This has been a liberating process for me. I want to focus on delicious zero waste recipes, practical tips, and inspiration for anyone starting the journey. With just one step in the right direction, you can help change the world.
We live in a state of instant gratification. This process is not conducive to that attitude. It takes time and patience. I tend to beat myself up for not being perfect, but in the beginning you're not going to be perfect. It's about the effort. It's knowing that you want to change; It's knowing you're trying.
And, seriously - thank you for trying! Together we can make a difference, and maybe in our lifetime we can see the Great Pacific Garbage Patch disappear, significantly reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, and become healthier and more fulfilled as people.
We can do this together! Join the zero waste community and receive actionable tips straight to your inbox!
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
— Dr. Seuss, The Lorax