At the beginning of 2018, I decided to start my zero waste journey. Going completely zero waste is nearly impossible and when we live in a world that is constantly rushing everything it is hard to find the time to implement certain zero waste habits. However, I did manage to make some big lifestyle changes like not using plastic grocery bags 99.9% of the time. I also managed to visit my favorite local farmers market every Sunday when it was in season. Thus eliminating a lot of packaged goods and processed foods from my diet. I really miss my local farmers market this time of year. It was an amazing feeling of being involved in the community by supporting all of my favorite local farmers. The veggies were so good that I decided to switch to a vegetarian diet, something I never thought I would be able to do. I also managed to shop more in the bulk food section at Sprouts and Whole Foods every time with my reusable bags. I refused to buy anything that was pre-packaged that I could find in bulk.
I also jumped on the millennial bandwagon of buying products that were made for re-use that were made to eliminate single-use products. I now buy biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes. I stopped using cotton balls to remove my makeup and instead use reusable organic cotton pads that I wash and reuse, I bought mine from the Wild Minimalist. They have a TON of reusable products that are great for getting started on your zero waste journey. I also bought bees wrap and glass food storage to easily store food in the refrigerator. My pantry is filled with mostly jars of food that I refill with my bulk foods. I stopped using k-cups and opted for freshly brewed coffee in a french press, which tastes so much better. And I carry a flask of water with me everywhere to stay hydrated and to eliminate the need for a plastic cup or water bottle.
If you take a look at these changes you might be overwhelmed if you are just starting out. But with a lot of discipline, I stuck to these habits and all of these little changes were rather easy to implement once I got the hang of it. If you set your mind to just doing one of these tasks over the next year, your environmental impact will drastically be reduced. These little changes have drastically changed my lifestyle for the better too. It feels unbelievably good for my well being after going an entire year with these new habits and now I am ready to take it to the next level for 2019.
Heres what I have planned. My 2019 zero waste goals are listed so I can better focus on what I need to work on so I can eliminate as much of my waste as possible in the new year.
-Stop buying canned food.
How am I going to do that? This step requires a little more time and organization. But if I make a batch of beans in the crock pot every week as a new habit and store them in the freezer that way I will be well prepared for most dinners. Same goes for tomatoes and peppers. I will have to buy these in bulk from the farmers market and freeze enough to last through winter to use in soups and other recipes.
-Carry to-go containers and utensils
This is a much-needed habit I need to pick up! I have been struggling to remember to bring a to-go mug for days spent at the coffee shop. And silverware for lunch at work or out and about. I also need to remember containers big enough for leftovers at restaurants. I feel so guilty when I get stuck having to use single-use plastic in these situations. It is hard to remember these items because these situations are often unplanned which means I need to get used to carrying these items around all the time.
-Create my own clothing from ethical and real materials.
It is my goal to reduce my consumption of fashion this year by spending my money more wisely and by producing exactly what I want my own design. I received a sewing machine for Christmas from my parents and I am anxious to get started on my first project. I plan on buying as much ethically and sustainably produced materials as possible to fully embrace the life of a slow fashion blogger and designer. After my first year of blogging, I have realized how impractical it is to buy new clothes all of the time. After following what every other fashion blogger does for the past year I have come to realize that I will have to start doing things a little differently this year. Give my bank account a rest and to set an example that I hope I can use to help teach women how to spend their money more wisely in order to build a well thought out sustainable wardrobe.
-Bake more foods, and buy kitchen gadgets that make it easier to eliminate the tougher processed foods from my diet. Like almond milk, chips, crackers, popcorn, baked goods, etc.
This is the most time-consuming part of a zero waste journey. It is really hard to eliminate all processed foods. Especially chips and baked goods. In order to eliminate these processed foods you either have to be willing to go without or make it on your own. When I have time to do some extra baking I like to whip up a more wholesome muffin or cookie with ingredients from the bulk food section. But this kind of thing only happens every once in a while when I have the extra time. Also, handy kitchen gadgets make it easier to snack on your favorite foods, which requires a little bit of a kitchen investment. I would love to purchase an air popper for popcorn (my favorite snack). And an Almond Cow machine that presses raw nuts into your very own nut or plant-based milk free of the toxic bottle and preservatives.
I hope these goals set you up to take action. These drastic lifestyle changes are something we all need to face one way or another. These global issues cannot be brushed under the rug anymore, we all need to step up, stop being lazy, and change. Our planet will not be able to sustain the amount of waste that humanity creates much longer. We all must make these changes together. If you want more expert advice for a zero waste lifestyle you must check out my go-to guru the Zero Waste Chef. Her blog is filled with a ton of information in every area of the zero-waste lifestyle. Let me know what you are doing to make a change in the New Year in the comments below. Thank you so much for reading and Happy New Year!