Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The beginning of my Zero Waste 2017

One of my goals for 2017 is to limit the waste that I produce by using less plastic, being mindful about my choices and trying to avoid making trash that will end up in a landfill at every opportunity. This isn't as easy as it may sound...

If you know me personally, then you know that I have always been a passionate advocate for the environment. I've always been intentional about recycling and I used to think that doing this was enough.

Well here's the thing, it's NOT enough... Recycling is actually the least you can do to help the Earth. Don't get me wrong, I think recycling is great and it's important to continue doing so, but the process uses up a lot of energy, there are so many different materials that are simply not recyclable, and even some recyclable materials get turned into these kinds of materials in their second season of life.

Obviously, I do recycle, and I believe that recycling is a good way to keep materials out of landfills and give them another lease on life.

- SIDENOTE - the apartment that I live in at the moment does NOT have a recycling bin because apparently my landlord does not believe in recycling (???) even though we have tried to talk to him about it. So, my roommate and I cart our mounting pile of recyclables to a super secret bin (could be illegal) which happens to use single stream recycling. We've been doing this for almost two years now, and for a lady who hates clutter in her living space, it's easy for me to say that finding an apartment that has recycling facilities is a big priority for me in the next few months.

Though I've still been recycling and using my own tools and containers when possible, my 2017 hasn't started as well as I thought it would. It's the second week of 2017 and already, I know I have not been the best at working at my zero waste goal. But here's the best thing about goals and resolutions: you can keep working towards them. Reducing my waste and impact on the Earth is a glorious goal, and it will be a whole long process of abandoning bad habits I've learned from 23 years, like blindly accepting straws at restaurants without a second thought, for example.

Here's what I'm going to focus on for this first month of my #zerowaste2017:
  • Keep track of the waste I make daily by actually writing it down in the Notes section of my phone
  • Use the tools I already have to limit the trash, disposables and plastic I accumulate 
  • Make a list of other tools that I may need to help reduce the waste I create (these, for example)
  • Become more confident in working towards my goal, even if it sometimes goes against societal norms
  • Do my own research
I'm absolutely nowhere near my goal right now, and I get self conscious about bringing my own utensils around to restaurants sometimes, but hopefully by the end of 2017, I will have learned some new habits and gained a lot more knowledge and confidence when it comes to zero waste living!

So here's a challenge which may seem easier to you than it really is:
Use the Notes section in your phone to write down everything you throw out in a day, and do this for a whole week. This includes everything you throw in a bin: paper towels, plastic wrapping, organic kitchen scraps if you don't compost... etc. At the end of the week, evaluate your list and see what you can do to reduce the amount of waste you create - especially with things you throw out every day, like coffee grounds and coffee filters.

Let me know how your week of waste goes and what steps you will take to limit it in the future!

- Angela


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