This week, I returned to my hometown of Sacramento, California for the Thanksgiving holiday and a much-needed break from work. I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to walk outside without a jacket (I forgot places could be sunny and warm in November) and catch up with friends and family members. I also saw Lady Bird, an incredible film made by a Sacramentan, filmed in Sacramento, about growing up in Sacramento that I would highly recommend.
This was my first trip since starting to live zero waste. In addition to the typical clothes and electronics, I packed some zero waste essentials (cloth napkin, cutlery, water bottle, thermos, and Baggu) so that I could minimize my waste on the trip. All of these supplies have been extremely helpful at keeping my waste down, particularly the coffee mug since my mom and I like to go on walks in the morning that usually involve swinging by a coffee shop.
As much as I love Tacoma, my time in Sacramento has made me realize how much easier it would be to live zero waste in California. My drink of choice is a gin and tonic, and every single time I have ordered a drink from a bar in Sacramento it has come sans straw. I don’t know if the bartenders in California are more used to people requesting drinks without a straw or if I just got lucky, but hopefully, more bars will be as good about going strawless in the future.
One of the highlights of my zero waste trip was visiting the new Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op. I stopped by to see what their zero waste offerings are and (if you watched my Instagram stories) you already know that I found everything a zero waster would need, from the usuals (bulk grains, glass straws, and Bee’s Wrap) to some of the harder to find goods like bulk shampoo and conditioner, olive oil, laundry detergent, and dish soap. I didn’t have any jars on hand, but luckily they had plenty for sale so I jumped at the opportunity to buy bulk conditioner. The Tacoma Co-op shut down last year, but I already submitted a suggestion urging them to stock a similar selection of bulk goods when they re-open in 2018.
I did a bit of second-hand shopping in town. First I went to Article Consignment Boutique and picked up some practically new J. Crew shirts that will be great for work (and successfully avoided purchasing another Dooney & Bourke bag). I also visited the Thrift Town featured in Lady Bird and purchased a sweater for $1.07 (including tax). I liked the Thrift Town, but it also made me excited to get back to Tacoma so I can visit some of my favorite places on 6th Ave.
One of my main topic of conversations with many of my friends and family members was zero waste living. I’ve received mostly positive support, though one family member did accuse me of being a Scrooge when I told everyone that I would prefer any Christmas presents be wrapped in reusable bags, paper grocery bags, or newspaper instead of Christmas wrapping paper. I don’t think that any of my friends or family members are considering embracing a zero waste life, but it has been encouraging to hear that people are making small changes in their life because of what I write about here. It’s why I think the Zero Waste movement is so powerful, not only are we reducing our trash by embracing a more extreme lifestyle, but every time we influence people to forgo a straw or bring their own bag, we are helping to make the world a more sustainable place.
It has been great being back in Sacramento. Much like Lady Bird, in my adulthood, I am realizing what a special place Sacramento is and that it really is a great town to grow up in. I have a couple of trips I would like to make in 2018, and I look forward to seeing what the world of zero waste looks like outside of the Pacific Northwest.