Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Working on Zero-Waste

I recently finished reading The Zero-Waste Lifestyle by 

The Zero-Waste Lifestyle

This book is described on Goodreads as:
"A practical guide to generating less waste, featuring meaningful and achievable strategies from the blogger behind The Green Garbage Project, a yearlong experiment in living garbage-free.
Trash is a big, dirty problem. The average American tosses out nearly 2,000 pounds of garbage every year that piles up in landfills and threatens our air and water quality. You do your part to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but is it enough? 
In The Zero-Waste Lifestyle, Amy Korst shows you how to lead a healthier, happier, and more sustainable life by generating less garbage. Drawing from lessons she learned during a yearlong experiment in zero-waste living, Amy outlines hundreds of easy ideas—from the simple to the radical—for consuming and throwing away less, with low-impact tips on the best ways to:
•  Buy eggs from a local farm instead of the grocery store•  Start a worm bin for composting•  Grow your own loofah sponges and mix up eco-friendly cleaning solutions•  Purchase gently used items and donate them when you’re finished•  Shop the bulk aisle and keep reusable bags in your purse or car•  Bring your own containers for take-out or restaurant leftovers 
By eliminating unnecessary items in every aspect of your life, these meaningful and achievable strategies will help you save time and money, support local businesses, decrease litter, reduce your toxic exposure, eat well, become more self-sufficient, and preserve the planet for future generations."

The book is broken down into 3 parts: Getting Started, Trash-Free Challenges, and Next Steps. It also includes an An A-to-Z Guide to Recycling (Just About) Anything, Further Reading, and a Bibliography. In the first part you get the context for why this book is needed (A Trashed Planet), and then you are helped to develop a plan to go waste free, reduce and reuse, recycle, and deal with organic waste.

Part 2 walks you though your home as you find ways to apply a more "zero-waste" lifestyle in each area. It covers the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, cleaning, kids, travel, the workplace, and holidays and special occasions. My favourite part at the end of each chapter is the list of Easy, Moderate, and Advanced things we can do to work towards a zero-waste lifestyle.

Looking through the lists I found many ideas that I could apply right away:- already in progress is wild-flowering our front lawn
- added an organics bag in a basket in the laundry room (for dryer lint) and in the bathroom (for hair, nail clippings, and Q-tips that don't have plastic)
- added a recycling bin to basement (previously we only had the one upstairs
- removed garbage cans from bedrooms so that all waste will be diverted and sorted correctly
- created a reusable kit for my car and work - these contain a travel mug for hot drinks, a stainless steel water bottle, a cloth napkin, reuseable utensils, and a reusable container. Now I can use my travel mug when buying coffee and I can request no paper napkin or utensils if I buy take out. I can use my reuseable container to package any leftovers when I eat at a restaurant.
- reused some prescription bottles to create little sewing kits for work, the car, and the van
Kids Konserve - Stainless Steel Drinking Straws- bought two stainless steel straws. I had already started ordering my water "no ice, no straw" (the ice hurts my teeth if I don't use a straw) and now I can just say "no straw" and enjoy the cold water with my own straw. Glass ones were very difficult to find and I couldn't find anything in my area. I'm going to be adding one of these beautiful inspirational ones to my Christmas wish list.
- bought mesh bags to use for produce instead of using the plastic bags at the store
- bought a DivaCup! And I love it! I may even create a separate post about it because it's so fantastic! I have been using cloth panty liners and pads for about 12 years but this DivaCup is a whole new level up! More importantly, consider this: If the average woman menstruates for forty years and uses approximately 20 tampons per cycle (240 tampons each year) she uses 9,600 of these items during her entire menstrual life cycle. [http://divacup.com/eco-divas/] That's a lot of garbage we're producing.

and some that I've added to my "to do" list:
- get a rain barrel - this has been on the list for a while, but now I have the date and time on my calendar to purchase one from my region
- take reusable containers when shopping at Bulk Barn
- switch from dryer sheets to liquid fabric softener since the dryer sheets go to the landfill
- use coloured pencils where possible instead of pens since pens generate landfill, pencil shavings can go in the organics bin
- get a staple-free stapler
- save comics & maps work to use as gift wrap since they can be recycled and most gift wrap can't
- when buying clothes choose woool, leather, silk, cotton, hemp, or linen since they break down and synthetic materials don't

What about you? What can you do to reduce your footprint on the earth?