I Fell Off the Bandwagon

Friends, I fell off the zero waste bandwagon at the end of February. I managed to get through two months of zero waste, which I’m pretty proud of, but between the stress of the Flower Show and my pre-existing struggles with finding good zero waste food supplies, I abandoned my quest this month in order to rethink how I’m going to go about this. This is where I’m at now:

Personal Care Routine

I’m pretty proud to say that my personal care routine has almost entirely transitioned to being zero waste and I hope to have it stay that way. The exception: I’m still working through my old mascara which I will have to chuck when I’m done. I also tried the no poo thing, and at this point in time, I’m not sure if I’m ready to face the transition period of being a greaseball while my hair’s oil production rights itself. I’m also excited that as we transition out of winter, dry skin will be less of a problem that I have to worry about and I can have time to figure out a better solution to store-bought moisturizers. I need to find a good, unscented soap to switch to once I’m done with the soap that I currently have. I’ve been using Dove’s Sensitive Skin soap, which gets a good rating on EWG’s website, but it would be nice to support a local company or experiment with making my own.

Household Cleaning and Laundry

Two words: Soap. Nuts. I have been using soap nuts for laundry and hand washing to good results. Woohoo! I will continue using them. I’ve been pretty good about using cloth to wipe up spills. I need to figure out how to make my own dish soap. My roommates may not use it, but I will, at least. My last batch of dish detergent was also vetoed by them, so I will have to wait until I’m living alone again to experiment with that recipe. In terms of surface cleaners, I am using a Meyer’s Lemon Verbena All Purpose cleaner, a company I feel pretty good about supporting, but need to do a little bit more research into. I think I’d prefer to switch to Dr. Bronner’s once I use that up, though.

Food

This is where I’m really struggling in terms of balancing health, convenience and environmentalism. Though I’m having trouble implementing it, I do think that a high-fat/low-carb/paleo/Whole30 diet is the healthiest diet with an emphasis on organic, grass-fed meats and ghee derived from cows raised in this manner, organic, free-range eggs and lots of veggies. I have not been able to find local, organic, humanely-raised meats that are not packaged in plastic or wax paper, so I am going to make a concession and accept that I will be producing these kinds of waste when I eat meat. In addition to my quest for zero waste, I was aiming to go plastic-free, as well. Over the winter, I was not able to find leafy greens that weren’t packaged or wrapped at least partially in plastic, which means I ended up forgoing spinach and some other greens, as well. As I freaking love spinach and most kinds of lettuce and kale, this was a problem. Instead of accepting these things into my weekly waste totals, I avoided them. I don’t think that’s the healthiest past, so I’m going to be buying recyclable plastic clamshells of spinach and other greens. I think this will change once a lot of the farmer’s markets start opening up for spring, but until I find a better alternative, I will be buying plastic. Obviously, an even better solution here would be to grow my own, but I’m not in the position to be doing that right now, so it will have to be a goal for the future.

So, to summarize, how’s this going to work moving forward:

  • Keep working towards all-zero waste and homemade personal care products
  • Use up existing home cleaning products while experimenting with zero waste alternatives
  • Stick to zero waste with all foods that aren’t grass-fed, organic meats or leafy greens. Paleo snacks might also have to play into this as I am a snacker, but I’m going to try and be good about this once I’ve finished up the Lara Bars that I have hiding in my desk. I just purchased a replacement bowl for my food processor, so I will be making my own nut butters and energy bars soon!

Starting tomorrow, March 17th, we’re back to zero waste. Stay tuned for more fun photos.

Trash: Week 5

Sometimes I have arguments with my brain that go like:

zerowaste Ayse: Oh boy, look at me go. I’ve got a nice, healthy lunch packed in a mason jar. I’m saving money AND creating less waste. Woohoo!

hedonisticAyse: UGH. Chicken with sweet potatoes and kale again? I can’t even. Let’s go to Whole Foods and get sushi.

zerowasteAyse: No, but this is a healthy lunch and is way more delicious than sushi…sort of.

hedonisticAyse: Psh. Sushi is healthy. Plus, Whole Foods has chocolate.

zerowasteAyse: Oooooh. Chocolate.

hedonisticAyse: Exactly.

To conclude: there are quite a few sushi and chocolate remnants in this week’s trash. Take a look:

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Month 1 Mop-Up

So how did I do during my first month? Well, I haven’t quit, so in that sense, I was widly successful. On the other hand, I have gone through significant periods of time over the past few weeks questioning my judgement and asking myself, ‘Am I insane? I’m totally insane, aren’t I?’ as tucked leftovers, straws and paper napkins into my backpack, carted off my possessions to thrift stores, forced my housemates to endure my (failed) experimentation with homemade dish detergent, and rubbed coconut oil in my hair, turning it into a greasy catastrophe. Despite the bumps and hiccups, however, I am feeling optimistic and I have definitely made progress. Let’s check out my January goals:

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