ZERO WASTE HEROES
During this month's challenge, Our Plastic Problem, I've realised that I create an obscene amount of rubbish.
I kicked off this challenge thinking that if I just made some easy swaps for some plastic items, I'd make a huge difference in the amount of plastic waste I create. I'd already stopped using plastic bags ages ago, I'd stopped using plastic straws, I always carried around a water bottle... I mean, this was going to be dead simple, right?!
Well, no. This straightforward attempt to reduce my plastic usage morphed into a revelation about all the unnecessary packaging, plastic or otherwise, that we toss out to just go molder in landfill. (Did you know that if the recycling centre can't make money on recycling an item, it just gets tossed out anyway?!)
Cutting back on plastic requires a lot more than just buying a reusable tote bag (yes, I was hoping that it would just be that easy...) There's cling film, there's plastic wrapped around fruit, there's plastic sealing the tops of glass jars, there's plastic lining our bins, there's plastic capping our coffee cups, there are plastic stirrers for said coffee, there are disposable plastic knives and forks, there's even a tiny stupid mini-table of plastic inside our pizza box propping up the lid because God forbid it touch our pizza and we lose some of that precious greasy cheese off the top... Plastic is just EVERYWHERE.
Clearly, making a dent in the amount of plastic waste we all create is going to take more than carrying a cute tote bag around. We'll be moving on to a new challenge in September but there is still SO FAR TO GO with Our Plastic Problem. So, with that in mind, here are some true heroes in the war on waste. These ladies (step it up, gents) have blogs and Instagram feeds that are chock full of inspiration and ideas as to how you can cut back on plastic waste, and waste in general. If you'd like to give any of them a follow or check out their sites, here they are:
"I have been living a Zero Waste lifestyle for four years now and all of the trash that I have produced fits in one 16oz mason jar."
"When I started zero waste, I lived in a small town with no farmer's markets or bulk stores, so it's completely possible if you don't live in a city! I just went to the supermarket (there was only one) and asked them to put everything in my own containers. They were intrigued and ended up carrying unpackaged soap, bulk options, etc. I'm living proof that the more people are scared of you, the more bulk bins you get."
(She also has a great post on her site for parents attempting to go zero waste.)
"If everyone simply banned bottled water from their homes—not if you live in Flint of course—we would eliminate huge amounts of plastic waste. Because remember, even if plastic gets recycled (which is often doesn’t), it can be recycled only so many times before it winds up in landfill. As a happy side-effect of boycotting bottled water, profits at Nestlé, the much-despised corporation that pumped water out of California during our historic drought, would drop."
Katelin LeBlond and Tara Smith-Arnsdorf
"Too often we let ourselves off the hook believing that only massive solutions, enforced by governments, will fix the problem. Instead, we need to look inward, hold ourselves accountable for how we choose to move through the world and lead by example. The results will be greater happiness, health and future."
"I have learnt that it is all just so easy. All it takes is making time to care. And then you realise that close friends and family also really care about saying #notoplastic."
"My kitchen cupboards, fridge, bathroom shelves and pretty much everywhere else in my house was filled with plastic. And I’d never even noticed. Now I had noticed, I was determined to do something about it. I couldn’t just ignore what I knew, and I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. I decided that I wasn’t going to give up plastic for a month. I was going to give up plastic (or reduce as much as I could)… forever."
"After moving to California, I was shocked to see all of the litter and plastic in the ocean. I knew I had to do something; so, I decided to be the change I wanted to see. I stopped buying plastic and wanted to create a sustainable life. It felt like a really natural progression."
"I believe that the simple, sustainable life and the good life are one and the same - living my environmental values makes my life more beautiful and more joyful."
"My whole brand is all about producing less waste. Maybe that means getting a reusable coffee cup to you, or maybe that means keeping your entire year’s worth of trash in a jar… either way I’m happy for you, and thank you for doing your part to reduce the trash in your life!"
"I feel that our lives have gotten so disposable. The throw away culture has been ingrained into our every day lives. The average American throws away 4.4 lbs. of garbage a day! We've learned to value things more than experiences and relationships. Well, I've had it! I deserve better, you deserve better, future generations deserve better!"
"The zero waste lifestyle goes beyond trash. It’s a story about what we truly value."
"It makes sense to live a life that is not dependent on consumerism and focuses on quality over quantity and on ethics over profit. It makes sense to reduce the amount of trash I produce since it has such a negative impact on the earth and I don’t want to be part of feeding into that ( quite literally)."