You know how it goes, you start looking up something online which leads to a whole host of links, which leads to other links and before you know it, you find yourself down a rabbit hole of information that you wonder, how did I get here? Many times I groan because the rabbit hole has nothing useful nor is it informative. However the other day I found myself in a place and was interested and excited to be there.
I had found the websites about zero waste living.
"Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature." (wikipedia) The concept was named in the mid-1970's through a company that was collecting and reusing chemicals that were excessed by the electronics industry. It has gone on through the years in government policy of reduce, reuse, recycle. It has morphed into two slightly ideologies: recycling of the product or the reuse of all the product in a high level function. For example, recycle the glass bottle (recovering broken glass) or refill the glass bottle (recovering the entire function of the container).
I found 2 websites that discuss the practicality of living a zero waste lifestyle. This is more than recycling. It is living in such a way that one doesn't produce or contribute to the landfills. Click here for zero waste home. Click here for zero waste girl.
My husband and I have always been interested in living an environmentally focused and friendly lifestyle. For me it began with my grandmother who was an environmentalist before it was a word or philosophy. She was just living frugally, practically and as a good steward of the earth.
While I applaud the efforts of the zero trash movement I really wonder what I can do? Could I go to zero trash? Our family does pretty well with trash or so I thought until I saw the Johnson family's mason jar of a year's worth of trash.
When our boys were living home we generally set out a small trash can each week for trash pick up. We felt pretty good about that. We recycle most of what we bring in. We do most of our cooking from scratch using fresh ingredients from the market and so the can isn't stuffed with plastic packaging. In comparison, we have a dear elderly couple living on our street. On Wednesday night they set out all four of their 33 pound sized trash cans for pick up the next morning. We have always said what possibly could they be throwing out? It is just the two of them. Each week those cans are lined up on the curb. I have never looked under the lids even though I have been tempted. (If I ever did, it would take the fun out of the conjecture!)
So, to read about a family with two teenage boys and one small jar of trash, I wonder how much time and effort they spend in thinking of being zero trash? Has it become second nature without becoming obsessive?
It has given me pause in how we life our lives. I do know that for any change or tweaks to our lifestyle, I have to find ways that this philosophy can work with what I am currently doing. I need to find small steps to integrate into my daily life. In reading over various blogs dedicated to this topic I see some actions we are already taking and am inspired to try some other ones. Click here to be inspired to practice small steps towards zero waste.
For me, it comes to being practical and realistic of our lifestyle, what we need to achieve and how committed we are to the future and to our world. I don't know if I will be collecting our trash in mason jars in the near future but I am definitely more aware of the plastics in my life and will choose to avoid them.
What about you? Have you heard of zero waste? Do you recycle? Do you practice elements of an environmentally friendly lifestyle? What does that look like? How does that impact you and your family? Has living environmentally sensitive impeded you in any way? Does your city or town have stores that practice or are open to practicing zero waste, e.g. buying in bulk, using your own containers?
Are you interested in moving towards zero waste?