NEW THING #50:
Yep, I've reached New Thing #50 and for some reason, I feel like it should be something bigger.
a. is fun,
b. we can all do together,
c. has an impact on the world.
So here's the thing:
every time I look at the beautiful Canadian outdoors: clean lakes, glaciers, the wildlife sanctuary that I share so often in my Stories... I'm scared shitless that future generations won't be able to enjoy them too.
I want my family to be able to breathe clean air (which became a lot to wish for in many cities) & not worry about the freaking health issues caused by all the crap that lands in our waters.
Anyways, for the 7 days, my goal was to produce LESS WASTE. As little as possible. But I'll be honest, I'm always looking for quick wins (because we're all busy people). And I'm inviting you to join me!
This New Thing it's not about perfection. It's about more people doing a tiny bit better every day. You in?
What Zero Waste is NOT about
I'll be honest with you. When I first heard about Zero Waste, I thought that it's too difficult because I'd have to change everything. But then I learned that it's not about throwing away all the plastic boxes I have at home & replacing them with glass jars. That would actually be the exact opposite of what the whole thing is about.
The rule is: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
In that order.
So if you don't need it, don't buy it. But when you have it, keep it as long as it's good. Only when you can't use it anymore, think about how to get rid of it in the best way possible.
So here I am, still using those old plastic containers I bought months ago, and I don't feel bad about it. And neither should you. (I talked about it in my Stories too - you can see the whole thing in my Instagram Story Highlights)
Also, everyone's LESS WASTE approach is different. What works for someone else may not work for me. And what works for me may not work for you. And it's better to do a tiny bit than to do nothing at all. So let's not judge, but encourage each other by sharing our Less Waste tips!
Less Waste: Where do I start?
The easiest way to tell what is your LESS WASTE weak point is to take a look into your garbage bin.
Well, I know it seems gross. But I also don't know anyone who didn't have throwing-keys-with-your-trash accident kind of thing at least once in their life. So it's like that, only this time we're searching for the key to saving our freaking planet. How about that?
Yeah, I knew I had you at "look into your garbage bin" part. But how awesome is my key metaphor?
Anyways. Here's what I found in my trash:
- PLASTIC WRAPS. The freaking thing that food is wrapped in. Tofu wraps, frozen veggies bags & pouches, foil on cucumbers (why do they even do it?), etc. I got a lot of ideas from my Instagram community about public drop-off location for recycling this stuff. It's a bit of a pain, but I'll try to incorporate this into running errands. Wish there was an easier way to recycle materials that are so common, though.
- CANS. Chickpeas, coconut milk, tomatoes. We cook a lot. Mostly from scratch. But I use these 3 canned items a lot. I don't think I have it in me to cook chickpeas (it takes a couple of hours) & can tomatoes. I learned that aluminium cans can be recycled times and times again at a fraction of the energy needed to produce new ones. So I feel a little better about this part, but proper recycling of aluminium seems to be a key.
- FOOD WASTE. I save most scraps, don't buy too much, but with all the homemade meals & vegan diet, I still end up with food waste. I wasn't too concerned about it in Toronto, as there was a separate "organic waste" bin. But here in Kelowna, they don't recycle food waste. And I live in a condo, so no garden to compost it in either. After a bit of research I learned that my municipality is reconsidering recycling organic waste, so there's hope.
These are my big 3 that I work on.
What did you find in your trash that you struggle with?
TOP 5 Easy Ways to Produce Less Waste
I got quite an impressive collection of tips & hints from my Instagram community (check my Instagram Stories Highlights) of things a busy (have you noticed how it rhymes with "lazy" ) person can do to save this planet (and money too)!
Here are my TOP 5 LESS WASTE easy changes. How many of those are you doing already?
- 1SAYING NO. This one is kinda big. Being mindful about NOT taking junk we don't need. Coffee cup lids, freebies, leaflets, plastic bags at stores. Because mother nature gave us these superpowers called hands & arms. Also, most clothes have pockets. You don't need a bag for a pair of socks.
- 2PRODUCE BAGS. This is a game-changer! Suddenly I realized how many of those thin veggie bags I've been hiding under the sink. Also, if you use plastic ones (i.e., for bulk spices), save them & bring them back to the store for a refill. My black pepper & nutritional yeasts bags made a couple of those refill trips already. And surprise! Unless I'm the only one, who didn't get the memo. We don't need to bag all the fruits & veggies. Cashiers can weight the oranges just fine without the bag.
- 3TEA TOWELS instead of paper towels. So easy to swap. Buy 10 of them & wash with dark clothes or towels every week. No need for paper towels anymore.
- 4SAVING SCRAPS. Keep veggie scraps in the freezer, when you have enough cook veggie bullion out of them, then use it for soups & sauces.
- 5THE MINIMALIST APPROACH. That's something we're doing since we had to declutter our old place before moving to Canada. The rule is: buy things only when you need to replace something (one in = one out), or you have a proof that you need it. No buying stuff because it looks cute or it's such a great deal. Plus, regularly donate all items that you didn't use for a year or so.
Other Things You Can Do
Less Waste Ideas
Here are some of the things that work for me as well as some awesome tips come from my amazing social media community. Some of them are pure genius!
Was it worth it?
I mean, you can't really go wrong about it. Anything is better than nothing. But most of the things I listed here are so easy to do and very often require just one-time effort (like buying tea towels or produce bags) that the effort is really minimal. So totally wort it if you ask me!