10 Truths About My Zero Waste Life

What’s up lovelies. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy trying not to be overly busy while simultaneously trying to fulfill my dreams, like registering our non-profit (A.R.T. In Action)!!!

Just a side rant here.

I want a life full of meaning. I want to be patient about the things I want to accomplish and not just be in the rat race. I don’t need to blog all the time to try to get my viewership up or Facebook likes up. I’m not trying to be cool or win a popularity contest nor do I need to try to be the best “zero waste” blog with the most tips out there and get public attention for it. This is my way of recording my achievements, seeing my personal growth, writing about my failures and maybe, just maybe, spreading small ripples of change just by being myself.

I’m in business. I get all that competition and money making stuff. I know you need followers and blah fucking blah. I get bombarded by Forbes posts, what you need to do to succeed shit and how to generate more money into your business crap. I know money is a great tool but I also know that money won’t come with you when you die. When Charlie died (read post here) the truly simple things mattered to me and I can say I stopped caring so much about money. I just began caring more about just waking up in the morning. Wow. I opened my eyes up. I’m alive. Or being proud of myself for once again pulling myself out of a dark hole into one of positivity. I’m happiest when I have simple conversations with complete strangers or when I notice a kind gesture out of nowhere.

I’m also an artist. I get that the demons on my shoulder don’t want me to succeed and that everything I create will be shitty to them. I get that people out there will compare, judge and that there are haters and all that shitty nonsense. I get that those demons are sometimes why I just don’t care to post or be sharing all my ish on the internet.

But I am becoming really good at not caring about the negative things people have to say or think, and I am becoming better at accepting the positive love, support and feedback about everything I choose to do. Whatever it is I am doing, I just want it to be true to me and what I value and what makes me feel good. I want to stay on course with whatever the inner wise women in me knows and live a life full of meaning.

This Zero Waste life and this blog is just part of the journey of discovering that. It’s discovering that I actually want to be that crazy person that looks at tags from where things are made and then want to know exactly who is making it and where they got the materials from and how those workers are being taken care of. I want to know the people directly. If it says ‘Made in China’ I want to know who made it. What is his or her name? I may be crazy but it matters to me. If I can’t know this, I won’t buy it. Second hand is better than falling for that trap because when you spend your money, you’re voting for the kind of world you want.

I don’t buy a lot. And I may be saving money (seriously saving) but I want to know that when I spend my money, it’s fair trade and ethical. It’s not just a dumb meaningless item that I don’t need or that will break in a week made from a factory worker in China or the Philippines being a slave to the dollar just because all big corporations want to make money. I don’t want to spend money on something just because it’s cheap. (Watch The True Cost).

I want a life of meaning. I want fairness and equality and rights for all humans. I want the oceans to thrive and I want trees not buildings. I want a better world for my son. I know we’re so far from it but I do believe that we’re on the way there. And for me I don’t always know what I’m doing or how to do it but this is my journey to figure out what a life of meaning looks like for me. It’s about discovering my truth, what my values are and owning it. Even if I’m not perfect.

So today I put together 10 TRUTHS ABOUT MY ZERO WASTE LIFE in case you all thought being zero waste was about being perfect.

20150924_184413 a dream lived greener dream love grow copy

#1: We eat fast food, rarely, but we eat it.
I can count on one hand the amount of fast food we’ve eaten since February. One time my son wanted a cheeseburger for a bedtime snack so we went to Wendy’s and got one. They made it directly in our bowl without waste AND without a fuss or a weird look. My first job at 14, was working at Wendy’s so yes, I know what those burgers are made out of. Did I care more about the joy on his face getting a cheeseburger before bedtime and then seeing the sky turn pastel pink and blue on the way home after? Yes.

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#2: We eat really good food from time to time.
Anthony’s on Wellington is our swanky pizza place of choice. Fresh ingredients. Hot stone oven. Dope servers. Zero Waste. We don’t buy a lot of material things but we enjoy conversations, good company and good local food made right. T. Harv Eker taught me to put 10% of my money away for ‘play’ and to make sure I spend it every month. I can assure you, eating food at a restaurant is definitely play when you home cook meals 95% of the time.

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#3: Food waste sucks and I care.
I care so much I pick the sad lonely bananas that are not in bunches. I pick them because they will get thrown out. I pick fruits that look shitty. I find the things that are probably going to go bad soon. It’s another step in my zero waste life. It sucks knowing that the majority of what farmers produce won’t get sold because they look ‘ugly’ or don’t fit the standard requirements. If you don’t know the deal, watch Just Eat It or if you want some hope, check out this campaign: The Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign.

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#4: I still paint but not as often. 
I don’t buy separate canvases that are wrapped in plastic anymore. I also don’t buy Dollar Store canvases or paints. I really try hard to avoid that place for anything except I did buy work gloves there for my 3 year old son so we could pick up garbage together. Instead I buy loose canvas and build the frames. I also have so much paint supplies from being a hoarder that I don’t need to buy any. But if a client wants to commission me and use something specific, I do charge them for the supplies and remind myself that these supplies will get used, if not by me, but during the free art workshops we will do for youth. I also remind myself that I am in the process of learning and making changes. I’ve been painting for more than half of my life, do you know how hard that is to just let go of? I will, however, guarantee you that in 3 years time I will have used up every single last drop of my supplies and that I will be sourcing and making my own eco-friendly paints – if and only if, I am still choosing to paint by then.

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#5: Friends are the best
I live in an apartment with east facing windows that don’t receive much light because of the trees, so I can’t really grow anything except for maybe herbs and some plants I have now. That’s why friends are the best. I receive bounties from friends gardens which often consist of vegetables and herbs which I can then make my own oils and teas out of.

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#6: I freecycle and donate but it often sits there for a long time.
I keep adding to this pile of stuff. I’ve literally had so many piles of stuff I’ve lost count and don’t feel like I made a dent in my things. I have 3 rooms in my apartment. It’s not that big but why do I feel like I have so much stuff that won’t go away? I try to Freecycle it and no one ever comes. Then I contemplate selling some stuff off and then don’t want to bother posting it because by the end of the day I hate computer screens. Then I end up just bringing it to the thrift store, but that always takes a while because I keep wanting to add to it because I still haven’t gone through everything a million times. A vicious cycle.

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#7: I want more play dates that involve cleaning up garbage.
I went garbage picking with my son, two friends and their children. I loved it. My son and I often go out while we ride or walk and bring our garbage gloves with us. We talk about it a lot because I feel like it’s important. I also get saddened by the amount of littering that happens in Ottawa, but when I see a group of us getting together like this, it gives me hope.

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#8: I finally composted my first compostable toothbrush.
I got mine from Senzacare back in April (my friend and I split on a 12 pack) and the bristles are not biodegradable so you have to pull them out. I thought I would be too lazy to do that, but I did do it and found it to be therapeutic. I don’t know what to do with the bristles. They may find their way into art work.

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#9: I’m still using my first blade from my razor.
I ordered this back in June (post HERE) and I take really good care of it. I haven’t had to switch my blade yet, although it may be getting there soon. Can you believe that in 5 months I am still using the same blade? I think back on how much money I wasted on razors and throwing out cheap pink plastic things that lasted only a couple of shaves. I’ll never go back.

20150924_104950 a dream lived greener zero waste ottawa#10: I threw out a plastic bag of garbage from 8 months of downsizing. 
So about a week ago I threw out my first bag of garbage from all the downsizing I was doing. It wasn’t very big as you can see up top, but I still felt weird. Do you know how weird it is to go to the garbage bin when you never have to? I contemplated holding on to it but then I felt weird doing that. What would I do? Keep it in storage and waste space? I fought the demons in me saying, “you could do better than this'” or “you didn’t go through it enough, look at that waste,” and “you’re a total fake. People will see you’re not a zero waster.” See? This is why I don’t care what anyone else has to say, I got enough demons in my own head to deal with. But the truth is I’m just going to be super proud of myself for having this one bag be the only bag I’ve thrown out in months.

And hopefully… by the end of this election it won’t be the only thing being thrown out.

Wah. Wah.

Remember to vote kids!

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4 thoughts on “10 Truths About My Zero Waste Life

  1. I saw on the About page on this blog that you’re Filipino. How does your immediate family and relatives handle this? I’m also Filipino (but mestizo on both sides of the family, whatever) and the thought of explaining this lifestyle would seem crazy to those close to me, even if I had a Filipino husband and in-laws, although I’ve noticed them use plastic and other disposable stuff, which is typical in parties and gatherings. Oh and by the way have you recycled Filipino food scraps before? Or even buy Filipino food items that have no plastic, styrofoam, or any harmful packaging at all? Have employers in Filipino markets think you’re weird for bringing cloth bags or jars whenever you shop there? Have you tried shopping for natural Filipino food items in glass jars you could reuse versus plastic ones? And when you go to parties or gatherings do you bring reusable glass or stainless steel containers that are eco friendly for leftovers? Considering that Filipinos often tend to serve a lot of food, for example. There’s this French expatriate blogger living in California, USA that goes zero waste along with two other Americans who also go zero waste and plastic free that often do these practices everywhere they go.

    http://www.zerowastehome.com/
    http://www.trashisfortossers.com/
    http://myplasticfreelife.com/

    Not all of these bloggers would be White but I think I’ve seen a blog or so about a Hispanic family, probably Cubans in Miami, Florida, USA who’ve been cutting down on waste. I forgot the address to their blog or something. I don’t remember.

    But how does your immediate family, close friends, relatives, or even Filipino exes (if there are any) respond to this?

    1. Hey,
      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I can tell you one thing for sure, you will never get everyone to approve of the lifestyle whether they are your family or not. Yes definitely people find me weird, and my family here don’t really take much notice of my lifestyle, as in, they forget or try to ignore it. I don’t shop at many filipino stores partially because a lot of what is there is sold in plastic and the ingredients aren’t the healthiest. I think when I do shop there, it’s for the plantain or some of the produce. Some of my filipino friends are open and accepting about it and are starting to expect it.. If I’m at an event they know I’ll be bringing my own containers and drinking out of my own water bottle or cup. People I don’t know tend to trash talk or gossip but I really don’t care and don’t have time for it. My true friends love me and support me and that’s all that matters. My decision to do this without faltering has given me a much stronger back bone and confidence to be who I am because I know in the end I’m a much better person and a happier person just being myself. I would be incredibly miserable if I had to pretend or go against my values. When I go back to the Philippines, I’m not sure how it will all go, but I feel like I won’t be any different there than I am here.

  2. Having a hard time giving up paper towels in the kitchen. Any advice or tips. A friend gave me a box full of cotton diapers she no longer needed to help me along in ZW, and I discovered they make great rags so I started using those. I know it’s just a mindset change, but having wet rags around is still unappealing as hell. But I started putting them out every evening to dry a bit in my mudroom, then toss in the laundry hamper. I do laundry once a week and have more than enough diapers here to do use one each day, so I guess it’s not too bad. 🙂

    1. Hi Katherine,
      I understand how difficult it can be. Definitely the mindset is what is holding you back. There are clothes that dry quicker and often I take a hanger and hang them to dry. I have more than a few kicking around but ask yourself – what are you using them for? Do they need to be tossed in the hamper that quickly? If you rinse off the rag and hang it to dry, wouldn’t you be able to reuse them? I haven’t used paper towels in years even before zero waste because I just found it to be another unnecessary expense. I think mentally preparing yourself should be your focus. If you really want to ditch them, you will regardless of whether or not the wet rags are annoying. Remember, we are more adaptable than we think we are. Eventually it will be second nature. And another thing – you can compost the paper towels if you are using them just to wipe food spills. Or if you’re just using vinegar to clean. At one point when I was using paper towel, I would still just wait for it to dry if it was something as small as a wiping vinegar off my mirror. Mentally prepare yourself and give yourself time to adjust. I promise you, you’ll be proud of yourself for at the very least, trying to step out of your comfort zone.

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