Today I took the recycling and trash to the bins in our parking lot and was depressed as usual by the amount of paper and plastic waste we generate. I do try to avoid over-packaged items, and we do recycle quite religiously, but we still seem to create tons of waste. And now that we’ve brought another waste-generating human* onto the planet, we really need to clean up our act. Which might be easier if we moved to Berlin or Denver, two lucky cities getting Zero Waste grocery stores in the near future. But since we’re going to be in Edmonton for a while, and I don’t see us getting our own Zero Waste store anytime soon, these are my newly-committed-to cut back on waste rules:
1. Bake more. Less packaging and processed stuff, and it just tastes better. I’ve been trying to get up the nerve to bake bread from Flour Water Salt Yeast…
2. Garden more. Pictured above are of some zucchinis I grew with my neighbor in a front yard near us in Ottawa. The yard belonged to man who couldn’t be bothered to landscape, but he was happy for us to grow vegetables and herbs there. Front yard gardening is a fabulous new trend which eliminates the waste of water and other resources used to maintain a lawn. We have a very small yard and all I managed this year was to stick some cherry tomato plants in the front flower bed. I’m hoping to put in a raised bed this spring so that I can plant something in the backyard (pug territory).
3. Buy bulk. I truly admire the family behind Zero Waste Home, even if I really can’t entirely figure out how they do it. But I know bulk plays big part in their system; their collection of photos of bulk products in colourful piles in markets in Turkey is just gorgeous. Now I know the Bulk Barn is not exotic, but it does have quite a few organic products, as well as hard to find ingredients like nutritional yeast. And who doesn’t need an excuse to shop at David’s Tea more often? Those little foil bags are super easy to reuse.
I know there a gazillion more I could add, but the sleep deprivation is getting to me. Feel free to add your zero waste tips in the comments!
*I know, it’s dreadful to call my sweet little baby a “waste-generating human”. Admittedly, babies are not the most eco-friendly things in the world, and unless we set a good example, it’ll only get worse. But right now, all the waste she creates is entirely intrinsic to her survival. We cannot say the same, as much of the waste we create has to do with laziness (hello, frozen pizza for those I-don’t-feel-like-cooking-nights). Hating the thought of her drowning in all our trash someday is my biggest motivator to be better at this.