Bonjour mes amis autour du monde. I hope this finds you well.
I am celebrating two months of “Zero Waste” and plastic free today! The minimal thing is doing ok as well but it’s my art room that is giving me panic attacks. More on that later.
I was tagged by Waste-Free PHD in this little, but growing, community of Zero Waste Bloggers to answer these questions and “tag” people, but I can’t keep track of who answered at this point so I’m just hoping that you take the liberty to answer them yourselves if you are a fellow Zero Waster on the journey. Holy run on. I’ve also included another set of questions and answers that Joanna Golebiewska added elsewhere on the group.
If you want to make this more interesting or like a jeopardy game, you can have a friend read the question out loud to you and you can guess my answer. You can also just read this while enjoying a cool, night breeze and listening to The Full Time Groove, Thursday nights at 10pm on CHUO 89.1 right now, like I am.
I’ll try to make this short and sweet (failed), because I know reading can be tiring.
How/Why did you first start switching to a Zero-Waste lifestyle?
I’m going to be lame and give you this answer which is my very first post: https://adreamlivedgreener.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/the-beginning/
Since when did you start pursuing a Zero-Waste lifestyle?
Since my mind wouldn’t shut up. It’s been a slow journey towards this lifestyle and has taken many, many years to commit, but one day my mind just wouldn’t shut up. I felt like I was at war all the time and honestly, living this way just makes me feel better. And like Gandhi says, be the change you want to see in the world. How can I complain about something if I’m not doing my part? So this is me being the change and in actual dates, today is Month 2 of the serious commitment. Slow clap?
What are some of your favourite ways to avoid trash?
1) Avoid chips, rice crisps and seaweed snacks like the plague. Due to sensitivities I could only eat plain chips anyway, but man those were my go to munchies and now I don’t eat them. I guess this isn’t one of my favourite ways…
2) Bring jars with me everywhere and use my mesh and fabric bags when I shop. I love it!
3) Composting. But I bring mine to my parents home because I live in an apartment that doesn’t have compost.
4) Cooking and baking. Ah. I really love it. Like realllly love it. I actually enjoy feeling hungry and knowing that I’m going to actually enjoy my food because I made it, often with the help of my son. And most of the time I cook and bake Grandma style and don’t measure anything. I think it’s because my Mom had me cooking and baking for the family every week since I was 8 so I just kind of go by feel and look.
Why do you have so much time to make all that stuff from scratch?
Great follow up question. I don’t have time. I have multiple projects on the go, clients to meet, shoot, edit and a toddler boy I run around all day with because I’m a full-time single Mommy. But I do have time, because I rarely look at the clock unless it’s a “work” day and I make believe I have all the time in the world. Sometimes I think I have super powers because I can get so much done in an hour and I actually believe that I can make that hour extend into four or six hours instead.
Must be expensive to cook from scratch, are you rich?
No. And yes I am rich. Rich in everything non-materialistic. But no, it’s not expensive to cook from scratch. It’s expensive to eat out every day. It’s expensive to drink coffee every day. It’s expensive to smoke cigarettes every day. I do none of these, except eat out maybe once a week. I will tell you I have saved money by not buying things like my $5 Silver Hills bread, $8 block of cheese, $5 Almond milk and random weekly $5 Timmy’s breakfasts. That is $23 I save every week. Which means $92 I save every month. God I love math.
What were the hardest things to give up?
If you have been paying attention, you should know this one by now. But for those of you that don’t read properly like me sometimes: rice crisps, seaweed snacks, silver hills bread and cheese. I’m sure I’m missing others, but that’s it for now.
What are your compromise items (not zero waste but you still buy them)?
I like to go all in when I do something so I haven’t actually purchased anything that produces waste. Not even art supplies. I have so much right now I don’t need any, except for that one time in the beginning of A.R.T in Action (read HERE). Oh and that other time I ordered from Life Without Plastic and they actually sent me something with plastic. What the hell guys?? But in actuality, it’s impossible to be completely zero waste (unless you don’t drive, live off the grid, grow your own veggies, raise your own animals, don’t order anything online, make every single thing from scratch etc.) but as close to it as possible is what zero waste is, to me anyway. I am on my last plastic razor at the moment and will look into the metal ones. I’m hoping they have something local.
What is your favourite zero waste blog?
I don’t have one, but Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home (inspiration for a family) and Beth Terry of My Plastic Free Life are my main go to’s. My favourite network however is the Zero Waste Bloggers Network. 😉
What’s one random fun fact about you?
One of my bucket list dreams is to record a song, film a music video for it and then plan an event where I can perform it.
More serious q’s:
What do you consider ‘waste’? Only garbage that will end up in the landfills? Or also the things that you recycle? How about food waste?
I personally classify anything that is waste that will end up in the landfill and not go back into the earth at some point. Which is a lot of things but I do my best. I’m still in the process as well so I know this will take time. Recycling is not the best answer but it goes somewhere better than the landfill. Like Bea says: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot.
How about using gasoline? Is it waste for you?
Yes, it is the biggest waste of all. I can’t avoid it because I work on location, sometimes in multiple parts of the city in a day and I have equipment I lug with me everywhere I go. Bussing to the babysitter with 7 bags and my son and bussing to multiple locations in a day is not efficient. And would be super crappy in -40 degree weather. I try not to drive every day though.
Even if you buy in bulk – the bulk shops/markets produce waste. Do you feel responsible?
I’ve thought about this and it makes me sad a little, especially when I see these bulk shops providing plastic bags to people. I do know of others around the world that are much more conscious and hope to see it here in good ol’ Ottawa soon. I don’t feel responsible because I am doing a greater service living my lifestyle, but I hope to see improvements.
Even if you refuse products that were prepared in advance for you (e.g. food on the plane) they end up in the landfill. How do you deal with that?
I cry a little too. I think about these things but like I mentioned before, me saying no is one less person. And I really try to talk about what I’m doing with everyone I see in the hopes that maybe it will plant the seed in them too. It’s no way to live being sad about all these things that can’t be changed overnight, but we are the future. My son is the future and I hope by instilling these values in him, things will change.
What do you do/how do you deal with the receipts?
I used to refuse receipts, but if they have printed them already, I take them. I watched them throw them in the garbage too many times and wondered why they didn’t recycle. I take mine home now to recycle, but get overjoyed when people ask me before printing if I want one or tell me they’ll send me an e-receipt.
Do you repair things even when the cost of new products is lower than the cost of repairing?
Haven’t had to repair anything yet. Knock on wood. But I’m a DIYer so I’d want to try to repair it first and ask myself if I really need it to begin with.
That’s it for now. Hope your brain is exploding now. If you have any more questions for me, PLEASE ASK!! I’d love to answer them. Maybe I’ll do a vlog. Yay!
Aaaaannnd here’s my garbage since the first month:
9 thoughts on “Month 2! Questions from you and Answers from me”
Thank you, Mailyne! Really enjoyed reading your answers – so much thought-through. “How can I complain about something if I’m not doing my part? ” – I love this sentence, planning to steal it and use it… To cheer you up: I have found some new munchies for me sold in bulk – dried fruits (so much healthier), I am sure you will also find an alternative for yourself:)
Joanna!! I love dried fruits, but just discovered I could make a new snack I love from bulk: Roasted Chickpeas!!!
just wanted to let you know that because of you, starting today i’m going to commit to a year without paper cups and lids from starbucks. and i drink A LOT of starbucks coffee! reuseable mug all the way!
i’ll report back! thanks SO much.
Omg!! I’m so happy 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share this with me!!! I wish you all the luck. Be strong ❤
i shared the challenge on my personal and business fb pages. let’s see if more people join in!
you’re incredible! please let me know if anyone joins 😀
Definitely a fast clap and a standing ovation from me. I love the Ghandi mantra and it’s one I use myself often. And I love that you cook and bake by feel. I do this too; it allows the creative juices to flow. Happy 2 month Zero Waste birthday!
Thank you!! And thank you for taking the time to comment. Being a part of this network with women like you. it’s so inspiring.