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3 Little Tips for Going Zero Waste

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I’ve been doing quite a bit of research lately on going zero waste. What does that mean exactly? How do you do that? It all stemmed from the article I wrote for The Cusp. Acutally, it all stemmed from moving abroad because living here has made me realize how terrible we are with taking care of the planet—myself included. But I’m learning as I go and making small changes. Here are three little SIMPLE(!) tips I’ve picked up that I think are worth sharing:

#1 Bring Your Own Bags

Ahh, this sounds so easy! But how many times have you walked out of the house without them? Or left them in your trunk while you’re inside the grocery store? I have a system. a) Keep a bag near your front door (mine hang on our coat rack under my purse) b) Stop keeping them in the trunk! I think the only way to remember them is to keep them tucked away in your door’s pocket or in the passenger seat. I started doing this before we moved and it really increased how much I remembered them. Now (since we’re carless) I grab my stash of bags along with our soft plastics before I head out to the store. Since the grocery stores are where you recycle those materials in Sydney, you really have to get in the habit of toting them with on the way. Note: You gotta wash those bags every now and then. Don’t let them get gross, OK?

#2 Compost!

I am waaaaaaay late to the compost game. I have to admit that I really didn’t “get it” until recently. I mean it breaks down anyway so why go through the trouble of stashing it in another container in your house and then transferring it to another container for pickup. OK, I WAS SUPER WRONG. It is worth it. The food barely gets any oxygen or sunlight to break down in the dump, which means it a) takes forever to decompose b) creates a soupy pool in the bottom of the heap that’s not helping anything and can cause leakage that seeps into the soil and c) it releases methane into the atmosphere which is no bueno. This explains it way more eloquently.

#3 Shop in Bulk

This is a serious pain in Sydney and I long for the days back in Boulder where bulk bins are in every store and it was no big deal. You have to go to a special bulk bin store to do this here. WTF. Why can’t they just put bulk bins in the regular stores? Why aren’t I running the world, people? I felt intimidated to use these bins when I first started. Let me tell you there is no need to feel weird! You grab a bag (some states let you even use your own containers from home) and then you fill it up with the item you need. One bag for each product. (No mixing nuts or fruit and nuts. That will send your checkout lady into a full on tizzy.) Write the number from the bin you used on the little bag tag the store provides and confidently carry that sucker up to the cash register. Buying in bulk is cheaper because you’re not paying for packaging (or advertising) and then you can transfer everything into pretty glass jars when you get home. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?! Can’t find it in the bin aisle? You can still store it in those jars, just make sure to recycle the packaging. You can’t get everything in bulk. You just gotta do what you can.

(Feature illustration by Nicola O’Brien. She’s constantly reminding me to not buy fruits and veggies that come in plastic {even if it’s cheaper!} and pushing me to do better.)


May 22, 2018 at 3:29 am


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