December 11, 2013

Zero Waste Fails

Right after reading Zero Waste Home, I was wildly gung-ho about eliminating trash. "Waste none of the things!" was my motto. And then, real life settled in, and I found an equilibrium between my pre-zero-waste and post-zero-waste lifestyles. Some trash-eliminating measures I've been surprising good at, like my skin routine, reusable water bottles and bags, and coconut oil deodorant. Other things? Ehh...not so good. Here's some of my attempts at eliminating waste that failed miserably:

Online shopping - I was determined to buy as little as humanly possible online because think of the carbon footprint! But then I realized that I like online shopping, it's easier, and frequently cheaper. Hence, my revolve to abstain from online shopping dissipated, but luckily for me, the guilt still remains. "Do you know how many baby trees and bunnies and fishies and all things darling you are killing by ordering that skirt online?" my conscious likes to remind me. I went ahead and got a Birch Box subscription anyway. And I feel bad about it.

Paper at work - I have to print a lot of things at work; it's unavoidable. However, I could definitely cut down on the extraneous printing that ends up in the trash (because there is no recycling bin. I KNOW). And I tried!!! I'd print something off, realized I didn't need it, and save it for scrap paper. Or, I'd write information down on the scrap paper (taking forever) instead of printing off a page that I didn't really need. Finally, with a messy desk full of paper and time wasted on writing crap down, I said screw it - back to printing stuff off. BUT! Only when writing it down would be a lot of work. I still try to reuse scrap paper as much as possible, but I'm not killing myself over it.

Utensils at work - Want to talk about wasteful? I use paper plates and plastic utensils for breakfast and lunch every day because I eat at work. Sure, I take my lunch, but I frequently put it on a plate, and I definitely use utensils to eat. Our kitchen has a set of silverware, and I attempted to switch to that. One morning, as I grabbed my cereal in a cup, I got a reusable spoon and told myself that I'd return it to the kitchen and wash it. After finishing said cereal, doing what I've done for 4 years, I threw the cup o' cereal out in the garbage can behind my desk. It wasn't until the following day that I realized that I also threw out the spoon. FAIL. I haven't tried to use the real spoons since then.

Food in general - Bulk bins in NYC? ABSURDLY EXPENSIVE. I do buy at Costco, and I do buy bulk bags, but yes! Much of my food comes wrapped or bagged or carton-ed! I don't make homemade bread or almond milk (well, not regularly) and homemade yogurt? No gracias! Just another zero waste fail. 

Oh, Bea Johnson, please never read this.

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  1. This is such a great aim, even if you feel you could still do better, trying is a good start.

  2. I really love this idea,but there are some parts of a zero-waste philosophy that I just can't tackle, and I'm okay with that. I try and use reusable bags at the grocery whenever I can, but not for meaty things, because, ew. My beauty products have been minimized to the nth degree, and I'm content with that reduction. I can't stop online shopping, I rarely buy anything other than groceries in a store because the trade-off of time, parking fees, and whatever else is just not worth the hassle. I am content with my baby steps, and hopefully I'll continue to find new ways to reduce my carbon footprint...but quitting my long-term relationship with Amazon Prime isn't ever going to be one of those things....





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