Embarking On A New Adventure: Zero Waste Living

i think, i think, once the salvation army comes by and picks up my donation, i'll be done with my decluttter.  while i'll have plenty to do when john's things start appearing (we close on a house in march), my own things are totally decluttered.  there's nothing else i want to or need to get rid of right now.  i have a spreadsheet of what's left, aka everything i own, right here in case you're curious.  i mean, no, i don't tally my makeup or my toothbrush, but you'll see what i mean.  anyway.

is it weird that i didn't feel 'done'?  in marie kondo's book, she said you'd keep going until you hit that sweet spot of stuff, and that the number would be different for everyone.  and i do think, in terms of possessions, that i did hit that point where i don't really need to do more.  besides my 22 lipsticks, i use them all okay.  but still, i kind of felt like going a step farther.  and in my mind, embracing zero waste living was a natural progression from decluttering.  because it's what popped up next on youtube after i watched every declutter video ever put on the internet, duh.


and it's exactly what it sounds like.  living as minimally as possible in terms of the trash you send to a landfill.  ideally, zero waste - you'd reduce, reuse, recycle and compost to the point of there being nothing going to a landfill on your watch.  and there's a lot of good reasons behind zero waste living.  far more morally superior than my reasoning.  which is that i loathe taking the trash out.  no, seriously.  that was the entire basis of my researching the zero waste movement.  taking the trash out is my biggest struggle when it comes to cleaning the house.  i'll do every other task but the whole putting on shoes and dragging the bags outside?  can't do it.  and it's not even about the shoes and outdoors - i was just as bad at it when i lived in a high rise and just had to take the bags to the trash chute down the hall.  there's obviously some sort of mental block but i don't know what it is.  and rather than figure it out and just learn to take the trash out more often, i decided it would be far easier to just make less trash.  that's how my mind works, folks.

as ridiculous as that reasoning is, making less waste is actually a really good thing.  my laziness regarding taking the trash out is actually helping the environment.  so there.  statistics state that each person produces about 4 pounds of garbage a day.  times 300 million americans, that's quite a lot, guys.  can't really deny that.  now, i can't personally say anything about the rest of the environmental claims, like the toxic sludge in the dumps or how things don't actually biodegrade there like you think they will, or about the trash in the oceans killing whales - i read about those things from a basically liberal left wing propaganda book and while they may be true, i don't adopt anything just because a bleeding heart greenpeace volunteer told me to.  i like to research the same stats from an equally conservative republican standpoint and, if possible, a neutral scientific one from a study with no political agenda (unicorn, i know.)  since i haven't had time to do that, just know that i'm starting on this adventure under the simple beliefs that (a) americans put out too many bags of trash and (b) i'm too lazy to keep doing it.  that's it.  no agenda.

it's not just about recycling, if that's what you're thinking.  that's the last step, really.  it's about not bringing in the trash in the first place.  the simple things you already know - use a refillable water bottle, bring reusable bags to the grocery store, etc.  but also some that take it a step farther - bring tupperware too, so the meat and deli counters can put your food in those.  and bring your own cloth bags to the bulk bins.  don't buy foods that come in packaging (which let's be honest, is also better for your wallet and waistline too.)  just don't bring in anything that will be trash in the first place.  easier said than done, of course.  but easy to start with a few baby steps, and if you think about it, it's just more minimalism and frugality - don't buy it.  i can get on board with that.

let's just call a spade a spade here - there is absolutely no way i'll get down to zero waste.  i won't even get close, okay?  the author of the book i read got her and her husband's trash down to 1 shoebox full a year.  what?!  i can't match that.  but currently, i do think my trash is less than 3 pounds a day.  actually i know it is, because my trash is always paper towels, k-cups, and makeup remover wipes.  (people always talk about food scraps too, but i assume they don't have a doggie garbage disposal like i do.)  but when you think about the times you clear out jars, cans, and bottles, which aren't daily, it starts to add up.  add in the stuff you buy and toss when you're out, like disposable coffee cups and gum wrappers, and you really start to notice how much you're putting out there.

baby steps i'm considering:
- switching to shampoo bars.  no more plastic bottles, just the bars at lush.  i can get a tin to keep them in and then go buy a new one in store and not even need plastic wrap or a bag or anything.
- cloth napkins and no more paper towels.  i really use too many paper towels guys, it's bad.  i think i'll start here.
- re-fillable k-cup.  i have it, i just don't always use it.  there's no way i'm giving up my keurig, but i do recognize the boon that those little suckers are.
- remembering my reusable cups when i'm out.  i always use the travel mug when i make coffee at home, but forget to bring it if i stop for coffee on the weekends with my mom.  and i don't have one at all for iced beverages, which i tend to get even in the dead of winter.
- no more makeup wipes.  going to get a set of washcloths and reuse them with good old coconut oil. or some other makeup solution i find.

i'm not going totally crazy with it.  i'm not going to stop buying toilet paper guys, don't worry.  (you can recycle the tube and the outer paper anyway.  though i imagine i'll hate dragging recycling out as much as trash, so i do plan on minimizing this somehow.)  baby steps.  and don't ask me what i'm going to do about my beloved bath and body works 3 wick candles, because i'm not crossing that bridge yet.

where do you think you are on the scale?  more or less than 4 pounds of trash a day?  or do you just not care at all and think i'm totally crazy for even doing this?

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