How 4 months of Zero Waste has affected my life

20150518_202548-a-dream-lived-greener-4-months

Hey lovelies,

How are you all doing? I hope you have all been well and happy.

I am a bit behind in posting my jar of waste, but such is life and here I am now. Last week on the 17th marked the end of the 3rd month and the start of the 4th month of my zero waste journey. Funny how time is, I feel like I’ve been doing this forever now. It was hard in the beginning but once you start you can’t stop and you can’t imagine ever going back. At least for me. I get guilty syndrome. I finally threw out one bag of garbage but it was from all of these months of downsizing and things I had before I switched to this lifestyle. I had to remind myself that it was a good thing that I had only thrown out one small bag in this whole time. Silly brain.

As I continue to minimize I find items that I wonder why I even had to begin with. The zero waste part is hard but the getting rid of things and letting go is the hardest. Perhaps my move in a few months will help me shed at least 50% of what I have now.. and seriously, I don’t have very much stuff by normal standards.

Anyway, 4 months in and I decided I’d be very optimistic and share with you some experiences:

 1) I get cool messages like this: 
a dream lived greener zero wasteSeriously, just when I am hyperventilating in restaurants and grocery stores feeling like a complete outsider and wondering if I’m making any sort of difference at all and if the Earth even cares, I get this. So, I just want to say thank you. You should check out her blog. She built her own Tiny Home. I love it!

2) It takes me 3 minutes to clean my son’s toys.
We have almost none. He loves sticks and rocks best.

3) I can get away with eating food I normally wouldn’t eat once a week at my parents house.
Sunday is our family day. We go once a week. My parents are eating healthier, thanks to my Dad, but sometimes it’s the same delicious, comfort food like Tuna Casserole. I haven’t bought canned tuna since starting and I don’t ever cook with plain, white noodles or Campbells mushroom soup (I make mushroom soup from scratch). White starches make me sleepy and bloated, so I use spelt flour most of the time. I’m actually going to teach myself how to make my own noodles soon. And I will probably start cooking every Sunday for my parents instead.

4) I have people that tell me they think of me when they see mason jars.
And then ask me if I need more or just bring me jars. Which is really sweet. But then I want to tell them they should keep them and use them themselves.

5) Not bringing my own reusable mug becomes a punishment and bringing one is like a reward. 
Humans like to be rewarded. It’s proven that if you do something and reward yourself after, you’re more likely to keep doing it. Like the “good boy/girl” praises you give when you have a child. If I don’t bring my mug and don’t have time to sit for a coffee, then I simply don’t have one. It’s easier for me than coffee addicts though because once I think I’m addicted to something I’ll slowly wean myself off it. It’s what I’ve been doing the last week because I had been going to too many meetings and drinking too much coffee and it became something I thought about all the time. More than my son. So I had to stop. Although, today I did have a cappuccino at a youth mentorship breakfast…

6) I notice trash a lot more
And it makes me want to write corporations and give them alternatives to their packaging. I want to rip straws out of people’s mouths. I want to get green bins (for compost) and spread them out around the city. I also want get some gloves and pick up all the litter I see. I will do this. Ottawa, you seem so clean at first glance, but when I look closely you have a lot of garbage everywhere.

7) People either feel bad about their own waste when I tell them or they are excited to know more
I don’t ever want to make anyone feel guilty. I explain to people it’s my lifestyle choice. But I also think it’s important to talk about so if they ask me more, I just share what I’m doing. I realize not everyone cares but I have such a strong passion for this now. I didn’t realize I would care so much.

8) I save money
I seriously save money because I’m hardly buying anything and making everything from scratch really does save money. I’ll do a comparison budget another day. I think other than food, the only purchases I made in the last two months was a new camera lens (which I saved the box), a collapsible cooler for camping and a few glassware for storing larger quantities of food.

9) I learn something new all the time
Whether it’s finding the courage to ask for cheese in a jar, finding a new way to store food, a new way to bake or cook or ferment food or finding a new store or product that offers something that is package free. I love it. I look forward to having the space to garden so I can discover and learn new ways about growing my own food. And hopefully I can grow enough food that I can give it away for free (see Food is Free Project).

Anyway, I hope that you all have an amazing week.

If you are a Zero Waster, what is the biggest experience you’ve had since beginning?

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2 thoughts on “How 4 months of Zero Waste has affected my life

  1. I have been trying hard to reduce waste for a long time. I was making my own reusable bags since the seventies. I use a lot of glass but when traveling it is hard to find good metal containers that don’t rust or take up a lot of space.

    When my children were going up they would tell me they were the only ones in there class that are dinner with there family.

    People don’t realize how easy and fast it is to make dinner every night. I would have dinner ready in under 30 mins every night Planning is what it takes.

    We don’t eat a lot of meat and that saves a lot on plastic. I live near Ottawa but don’t have the advantage of shopping at smaller stores that will let you take in your own container.

    This is definitely a journey to zero waste.

    1. It’s so sad to think that families don’t sit down and eat together. Or that children don’t know where their food comes from. One time a kid told me potatoes come from a box. I love being able to talk to my 3 year old about growing vegetables and fruits and farmers who plant them so we can eat them. The other day he told me not to use the brown bag the lady at the bakery was going to give me because it produces garbage. We had an opportunity to talk about composting. I wish that there were more people and stores that would allow you to bring in your own containers. It’s definitely hard here and in big cities as well, but I wondered what it would be like to live in a smaller town that doesn’t offer bulk options. Thanks for sharing Deb – I’m happy to have met you along the journey.

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