• michellepugle

So I Heard About This 'Zero Waste' Thing...

To be fair, I heard about zero waste living several years ago, but it didn't click back then. I was a vegan without a car who recycled and made her own soaps and gardened bee-friendly flowers. Yeah...I figured I was pretty much good on the ecoprint scale. But times have changed and I'm not the same and neither are the circumstances.

So when I came across a professionally Instafiltered zero waste blog, I fell for the clean aesthetic of living a lowerprint lifestyle. I scrolled. I paused. I read. I then realized everything was for sale and bounced. While it's convenient to offer ecosolutions, reducing waste shouldn't immediately mean buying new things (although sometimes you need to purchase something upfront to help reduce future waste).

But the idea stuck. Zero waste. Or like, lower waste living. No, having a lowerprint lifestyle. It sounds more practical and realistic.

What I like about the current zero waste living lifestyle is that it encourages its community to do as they can. It's not an all or nothing thing. It's practical switches that end up saving money and being better for the planet. Sometimes, it's genius solutions to stupidly wasteful habits: like wool balls in the dryer instead of both antistatic sheets and softener. Now, I'm obviously not an expert on this and I'm probably honestly never going to be one of those vloggers who shows you a jar of immaculate waste she's been accumulating for the last five years...but...I am intrigued. And winter is coming. And that means being a little more cooped up and fired up for new feel-good projects. Here are the first few things I'm doing to kickstart my lowerprint lifestyle:

1. Buying those wool dryer ball things I didn't even know existed

Apparently they can cut your drying time by 30 percent and you needn't buy dryer sheets or softener again. I'm going to give some a try and report back in a future post.

2. Saving my glass jars I don't come across a whole ton of glass jars, but when I do, I've decided to do my best to upcycle instead of recycle. Glass jars are great for storing food, spices, dry goods, and bath salts. They're also pretty pricey to buy new. Common sources of glass jars: pasta sauces, pickles, oils, vinaigrettes, jams.

What I'm using them for: storing spices and leftover soups, infusing olive oil with herbs and spices, making my own sauces and pickles with crops after starting a garden this spring (maybe 😊).

3. Starting a food garden

I definitely understand how rare it is these days to have your own garden. My experience is limited to a townhouse back plot where I grew mint, basil, lavender, tomatoes, peppers, lemon cucumbers, and sweet potatoes. It was good soil. I've just moved into a clay zone with new rules and much more room to roam. This year, I'll be trying my hand at tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, all the herbs, potatoes, sweet peas, and a host of flowers. I'll be getting rain barrel to help offset water usage and costs.

What does gardening have to do with cutting down on waste? Food from the garden comes in its own packaging—no plastic wraps, styrofoams, or bags. It also doesn't waste the gas necessary to get you and your produce to the store.

4. Using reusable cloths for cleaning

These days, there are actually super cute ecofriendly options for reusable paper towels—and they're better than doing double-duty on your dishcloths. You can also get linen napkins and further cut down on paper waste.

5. Making a conscious effort to move away from plastics I'll admit, I'm starting from the bottom here. I have plastic plates, plastic food containers, plastic cooking utensils...there's a way to go. Anyone will tell you though that it's more efficient to replace as needed rather than drop a bunch of bucks upfront and toss all that plastic. I plan to phase it out over the coming months.

I don't know how much of any of this will stick at my house, but it's certainly worth a shot. I mean, if something saves money and helps the planet, it's a no-brainer in my books.


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