Although San Francisco has been heralded as the “greenest city” on earth, we still have not reached anywhere near the goal of being zero waste by 2020. According to the San Francisco Department of Environmental Conservation, San Francisco still produces 1,463 tons of household waste on a daily basis. It is considerably less than ever before, however, that’s still a lot of garbage.
In an effort to cleanse both physically and spiritually, part of that goal is to cleanse my home and how I live. A while ago I saw a video about a girl who compiled all of her trash inside of a mason jar for a full year. The thought sounded crazy! I mean how could that actually be possible? After doing some research and a vehement desire to stick my middle finger up to Trump, I decided to look into becoming as close to 100% zero waste as possible, without being crazy about it.
I know this might not be for all of you, and some of you out there might not believe in climate change or even care in the slightest about the environment. If that is you, don’t think of this article as some hippie-liberal-mumbo jumbo. I’m not sitting here trying to shove my beliefs down your throat and explain how wrong you are about everything, I just would like to enjoy nature and have clean parks and oceans and skies. I mean I’m by no means a “tree hugger”, but I do love this planet, what’s so wrong with trying to take care of it?
We should strive for progress, not perfection!
1. Look At Your Trash
Take a minute the day before your trash day and get down and dirty and look at your trash. Is everything in there actually trash? Can most of it be recycled by simply rinsing it? Can some of this be compostable?
2. Take In Some Knowledge
Do your research. It will take a decent amount of effort to try and begin a somewhat if not full zero waste lifestyle. However, there are tons of amazing people taking on the tasks and trying things out online. Don’t hesitate to reach out, ask questions, and search. Take everything one day at a time and one task at a time.
· Bea Johnson · Jennifer Nini · Lauren Singer ·
3. Bye, Bye Disposables
Get rid of the disposables in your life, or the things that are single use. This can often be a simple transition but does not go without its challenges. Below is a starter list that can help make the process a little easier.
· Mable Toothbrush, a bamboo self-standing toothbrush that supports kids education across the United States.
· Tote bags for grocery shopping (you can find them almost anywhere!).
· Bye bye, plastic water bottles. Get a Swell, you’ll love the fact that it stays cold for 12 hours and stays warm for 24 hours.
· Instead of paper towels or sponges, use cotton towels or linen towels or even hemp towels.
– For soap, I buy naturally made, unpackaged bar soap from Soaps of 7 Flowers. You can also buy unpackaged bar soap at your local health food store, or even Lush, just make sure to not accept their packaging!
4. Bulk is Bae
Buying in bulk can sound like a scary thing for some. I mean, when I first heard about it, I kind of thought this is going to cost me a fortune. There are Food Co-op’s everywhere, hell you can even buy bulk at Safeway, Whole Foods, and Sprouts. Shop local and try a farmers market, or consider planting some fresh produce yourself. Bea Johnson makes it super easy for you on her website where you can view local co-ops and bulk locations on her website.
Mason jars are officially your new best friend but don’t run out of your house and buy a bunch of brand new mason jars, use jars you already have, ask your neighbors if they have extra jars they are willing to give you, shop at antique stores and thrift store for some old jars.
5. Hi, I’m the DIY Guy
Ok, you can literally find DIY recipes for practically everything online. From almond milk to hair conditioner, you just have to be ballsy and try them out. Start with your basics, like toothpaste or lip scrubs and then evolve from there. The more you practice and try out the more you will find just how much you love. Hell, you can even start your own apothecary!
6. Second Hand or Borrow
Ever heard of a thing called fast fashion? Well, it is the SECOND BIGGEST POLLUTER IN THE WORLD, next to OIL. If you can find what you need at a thrift store or second hand, why buy new? The less we consume, the less waste we make, and the fewer media and corporations have subliminal control over our behavior. I know, I know, I probably sound like a weird hippie, but I am not. I just enjoy going to the park and seeing flowers and bees and hearing the sound of seagulls by the beach, don’t you?
7. Patience and Persistence
Don’t kill yourself over trying to go zero waste. Start small, like with tote bags and stainless steel water bottles, then go from there. Be patient, but be persistent. Remind yourself why you’re doing it. What made you click on the article? Why did you decide to read? Every time it gets a little difficult, remind yourself of your motivation and move forward, and feel free to reach out for a pep-talk, I’m in this with you.