I’ve recently started following a bunch of zero waste bloggers in the hope that I might get some tips on how not to throw so much stuff out. I wanted to go beyond the obvious information of ‘don’t use plastic bags and bottles, as these will end up in landfill’. As it turns out, there is a vast and helpful online community of zero wasters, and it seems that their ultimate queen is the New Yorker, Lauren Singer (http://www.trashisfortossers.com/), who can fit two years worth of trash into a 16 oz mason jar.
When you think about it it's crazy, we use things so thoughtlessly nowadays. As we tuck into our Chinese take away with disposable plastic utensils, we don't think about how for those thirty minutes of eating, those utensils will sit in landfill for a few hundred years. It is this short sightedness that zero wasters see past. They think more about sustainable and durable products, those that will last you a lifetime. In doing so, I feel that they come to value you their things much more, treating them with greater care. After reading Lauren’s blog and others, I have put together a collection of what I thought were some of their easiest and most useful tips or replacement options for plastic products.
From Lauren's blog:
From Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home blog (http://www.zerowastehome.com/p/about.html):
- Use refillable pens, piston fountain pens, mechanical pencils, refillable white board markers and donate extra office material (paper, pencils) to your public school's art program.
- Start your personal junk mail war, cancel your phone directories, and sign up for electronic bills and statements
- Refill your bottles with bulk shampoo and conditioner. If your hair is short, you also have the “no-poo” option: rinse your hair, massage baking soda in, then rinse, with vinegar for shine. Or use a shampoo bar. Instead of hairspray, switch to lemon water in a spray bottle (see Recipes). To go longer between washes, substitute dry shampoo for cornstarch (in bulk).
- Buy in bulk or at the counter (see Zero Waste Grocery Shopping), bring reusable bags (dry goods), jars (wet items such as meat, deli, fish, cheese, oil, peanut butter) and bottles (liquids: oil, soy sauce, shampoo, conditioner).
From Kathryn's Going Zero Waste blog (http://www.goingzerowaste.com/):