People have asked, and now I’m finally doing it: a zero waste day in the life.
I don’t get it, but I suppose there’s some mystique to the idea of a zero waste life. Unfortunately, I have to break the mystique and let you know it’s really pretty similar to anyone else’s – probably just a little more planning.
My day, actually, may look different because I’ve worked for myself for the last six months. I’m very lucky to have been able to move to a low cost of living area where I have the luxury of being able to afford a freelance life. (And quit a job that was literally giving me anxiety.) This means a day like this is pretty typical – working on the computer for a few hours before completing all the weird tasks I need to do to keep things going.
Too often I worry zero waste is framed as just the plastic around produce or an occasional non-sustainable purchase. Waste is more than just the tangible waste you create on a day-to-day basis (ie. why I think the whole “year of trash in a mason jar” is bullshit).
Waste is in the energy and resources needed to create a product. It’s the emissions around transporting items around the globe. It’s… more than a plastic bag.
None of this is said to scare you, or to say that making those small habit shifts aren’t important. It’s just key to know there’s more to zero waste than the trash you see on a day-to-day basis. So these four challenges are designed to A) reduce the waste you create on the daily and B) get you thinking of zero waste beyond just a plastic wrapper.
One of my big goals for this zero waste to make zero waste a greater part of my community. The simplest way of doing that is – well – actually getting out into the community. The big way I’ve been reaching a bigger audience offline is to host a zero waste table at local events.
Hosting a zero waste table at an event can be scary. You never really know who will walk up and how they’ll interact with what’s likely a new concept for them. Luckily, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences during the times I’ve hosted a table at various events.
No matter how hard you may push to say “no gifts” or “experiences over things”, gifts still come your way. I’m sure we can all think of those lovely people in our lives who feel like not giving physical gifts is the ultimate offense.
Keep pushing for those experience gifts, but sometimes it’s just not happening.
For those of you dealing with folks who love giving stuff, I present to you some zero waste gift ideas. (Bonus points if you can convince them to source your zero waste gifts second hand! I’ve included links to second-hand online options when possible.)