i've always been environmentally conscious - recycling everything i could, using canvas bags at the grocery store. i thought i was a good eco-friendly, hybrid driving, NPR listening person - until a few months ago i came across the zero waste home blog. i became inspired (and maybe a little obsessive) to transition to zero waste. i read the entire blog. i watched movies, read other blogs and started making a book list.
i came to the realization that reducing the waste would effect not only the planet - it directly effects my health. reducing waste means buying un-packaged food, fresher fruits and vegetables, dried beans and whole grains from bulk bins. it also means i won't be buying chemical ridden cleaning and personal hygiene products. i've only just started reducing my waste a few months ago and i've already noticed a difference.
1. re-useable grocery totes - this is an essential to reduce waste, especially if you live somewhere that has banned plastic bags (LA has, although plastic bags will still be available at stores like target, and plastic produce bags will still be available. still, a step in the right direction.). try to get bags made from natural fibers. canvas is my favorite and the bags will last forever! i have some canvas ones that i inherited from my mom! also, most grocery stores have started offering a small discount if you bring your own bag!
2. muslin produce & bulk bags - use these bags for buying dried goods from the bulk bins. buying from the bulk bins not only reduces the amount of waste, but you can avoid the plastic coated cans (which contain BPA) and its actually ends up being cheaper buying dried beans over canned! make sure you get a water soluble crayon to write the bin number on the outside of the bag.
3. net produce bags - these are lightweight and great for buying loose produce. i take them to the farmers market where i can buy loose lettuce mixes, beans in the pod, apples, etc... you can also just throw the bag with the produce into the refrigerator to use as storage!
4. re-useable water bottle - there are a lot of options for water bottles out there, but i prefer the stainless steel over BPA - free plastic ones. i've been searching for a bottle completely free of plastic and finally found one from kleen kanteen.
5. kishu binchotan charcoal - the zero waste water purification system to replace your brita filter! use in a glass pitcher on the counter. i also have a few glass bottles (from french lemonade) that i fill with the purified water and then put in the fridge so i have cold water. the charcoal in a pitcher also can serve as a functional decoration on your kitchen counter!
6. re-useable insulated cup - if you love going to get coffee and take it to-go, a re-useable insulated cup is a MUST. just think of all the paper (which are lined with plastic) and plastic cups you'll save! since it is insulated you can put hot and cold drinks in it.
7. stainless steel kitchen compost bucket - i've had an outside compost (earth machine) for over a year now, but once i got a kitchen compost bucket i've started composting almost everything i produce! the obvious compostables are fruit and vegetable trimmings, you can put paper (toilet paper rolls, cut up cardboard boxes), dryer lint, even hair that falls out when you brush you hair. i've also read that you can pee in the compost, but i haven't tried that yet.
8. glass canisters - take these to the grocery store when buying wet products - meat, fish, cheese. buy it at the deli counter, rather than the pre-sliced packaged meat & cheese.
9. mason jars - use these to store dried grains and beans in when you return home from the store. i also have some old tomato sauce jars that i use to store my cooked beans in for the week. also, good for canning!
and just in case i haven't inspired you - check out some of the things that have inspired me to go zero waste:
i'm going to be sharing my experience transitioning to zero waste, and would love to hear from anyone who is/starts to do the same! while this may not be fashion related, being environmentally conscious is a big part of my personal style.