Waking up to waste... A couple of weeks or so ago I shared a tiny bit about our making some small changes here at home in wanting to live a more sustainable and simple life. In our quest toward living less-plastic, less-paper, etc. and moving toward zero waste (if that is even possible?! I hope so!) I took this photo lately while gathering up some of our recycling. This is just part of our mixed waste over a two week period (that green plastic bag at the top of the pic holds a little more plastic--couldn't get it all in one, easy picture). Stopping and seeing one's trash is pretty humbling...
A good deal of our weekly waste comes from food shopping--mostly plastic. So much is in a plastic container, bottle, wrapped in plastic or in a light plastic film. Thankfully we are able to recycle all of this. But recycling will not be the most sustainable solution in the future. Using less has to be part of the waste equation. There is not much food or other stuff found in bulk here in Norway. And not where we live now in a small town. Bulk has yet to really come to Norway. Although bulk is not entirely plastic-free/zero waste shopping either, as stores often receive wares in big plastic containers, or things wrapped in plastic, etc. that need to find ways to be recycled.
Something BIG is happening to my heart... During the summer it just seemed like everywhere I turned, there was plastic. Too much of it in our kitchen. We're just TWO people and a cat in this house, and the amount of plastic and waste astonishes me sometimes! Plastic--it's on the sidewalks, stuck among trees & shrubs along roadways, single-use plastic containers/items just blowing in the wind...
I've begun educating myself more about waste, and about plastic. What it is, why it's used, the harmful chemicals the leach out of it, that HUGE amounts of it end up in waterways and the oceans and it's ending up in the bellies of birds and sea creatures. What I learned broke my heart... Trying to live eco-friendly already, I thought I was doing enough, and was even making a positive difference. But no... No, not enough, definitely not doing enough, and there's always room for improvement!
These are being weeded out from our kitchen--plastic food containers. Slowly we are replacing these with glass containers. (Slowly, as it can be expensive to change things up in one go.) Did you know how toxic chemicals from plastic leach into food from being stored and/or heated in plastic containers? Also weeding out microfiber cleaning cloths, and just using old, cut up t-shirts. Lately I've been reading about microplastics and how they escape into waterways. And microfiber cloths are made of microfiber, which is... PLASTIC.
Last week I mentioned that I'm currently reading Plastic-Free by Beth Terry... This book is a great guidance on the terrible waste that is plastic, which is everywhere--a very big global society problem. But it also is a great help for what we can do to curb our consumer lifestyle that leads to a lot of waste, and to being more thoughtful about the environment and considering the life and end life of the things we use all the time, changing our habits every day.
Even my favorite drink sometimes contains plastic... a cup of tea. Most tea bags contain the plastic polypropylene, which does not completely biodegrade. Plastic fibers often meshed with papery fibers, is what their construction is like. It is hard to find tea bags or tea that does not involve plastic in some way. Whether its boxes of tea wrapped in thin plastic, individual "freshness" plastic-lined bags, etc.--plastic seems to be involved one way or another for a lot of teas being produced. I have several loose leaf teas--which is often less plastic, the tea itself is completely biodegradable, and loose leaf tea simply tastes better than bagged. (Although, some loose teas are in a paper bag that is, unfortunately, lined with plastic, or in a polypropylene bag in a paper box... oh, my! How to choose?!) But I do have a stash of tea in bags. And so... phasing that as much as I can. :(
For a while now I've been re-evaluating what I do, what I use, and why? What changes could I make for taking care of the Earth better? What do I need? What do I not need? How can I consume less? Lots of questions filling my heart and mind at the moment...
When waking up to waste, over-consumerism, planned obsolescence of products and corporate greed... It's hard to be a consumer these days. And it's a bitter taste to swallow, knowing I'm part of that picture, part of the machinery that keeps all that rolling. It tastes bad, so I'm spitting it out! haha... Slowly making some positive changes to make this a better place. One less piece of plastic (and other trash!) at a time... And I've found a good place to start:
Zero Waste Rules to live by:
Refuse * Reduce * Reuse * Recycle * Rot
God gave us this beautiful Earth. I want to help take care of it better.
But don't worry now, I won't be sharing photos of our trash/recycling every week... Unless you want me to?! ;)