Why It Matters

Zero Waste Is The Goal, Not The Rule

We’ll be the first to admit that we’re not perfect. It’s hard to be “Zero Waste” in a world that prioritizes convenience over conservation.  But what we do think is that reducing our plastic use does more than simply save a bottle. It changes a mindset.

So, what do we do?

What humans need more of in the age of climate change is a mindset that is driven by ecological decisions. To think consciously and intentionally about the way resources are used and seeing the entire life cycle of an object.

Take a shampoo bottle.  Does it make sense for it to be shipped across the country to be used once?  Its end of use is important as well because once it’s made, it’ll be around for hundreds of years.  It’ll break down into microplastic. A fish might eat it.  And you might eat the fish.

How To Reduce Your Waste

The zero in “zero waste” makes it sound scary and hard to achieve. It’s best to start small like with a visit to our shop.  We can help with ideas to “de-waste” your life.  We’re also a believer in the Five R’s:

Refuse

We’re given a lot of “free junk”.  Turn down utensils and bags for take-out. Turn down freebies from conferences, fairs, and parties.

Reduce

Buy less stuff! (Or buy second hand) Craigslist and Nextdoor are prime spots to find some steals of barely used items.  Then sell it when you don’t need it anymore.  Shop at farmers markets where single use plastic is less common.

Reuse

Swap disposables for reusables.  Start using refillable bottles, reusing glass food jars, carrying shopping totes, and buying items in reusable containers — even reuse your plastic containers.  Shop at places that have bulk bins.  Your financial support of these shops is akin of voting.

Recycle

Have you refused, reduced, or reused first? Recycling is a last resort.  Know what’s easily recyclable and what’s not. There are many different kinds of plastic and recycling centers don’t accept certain types.  Aluminum and glass are preferred as plastic is difficult and expensive to recycle.

Rot

Learn how to compost.  It’ll help your garden, reduce CO2, and you might be able to sell the soil. You’d be surprised what’s compostable in addition to food; finger nails, eggshells, cardboard boxes, saw dust, dryer lint, even hair!

Recycling is Broken

Why is recycling not ideal?

Aluminum and other metals are easy to recycle and the demand for recycled metals is high.  But most materials cannot be recycled indefinitely. Paper can be recycled about 7 times, and plastic even less than that.

The demand for used plastic is low, so it’s not always cost-effective to recycle the stuff you throw in the recycle bin.  America once exported its recycling to developing countries that were incentivized to take our recyclable materials — making their pollution numbers go up.  Now, they are no longer interested, leaving us with a problem.  Plastic is especially difficult to recycle, does not decompose, and is made from non-renewable fossil fuels.

It may end up in a landfill instead of recycled. For these reasons, it is a much safer bet to reduce and reuse as much as possible before relying on the recycling industry.