Like most people, as the year draws to a close I am reflecting on 2017 and thinking of the things I’d like to change and accomplish in the coming year. Some of my goals for 2018 are personal, others are professional, but most of them are geared specifically towards my zero waste lifestyle. I want to delve even deeper into the zero waste lifestyle next year, here’s how I plan to do so:
1: No Buy January
I started 2017 off with dry January, not because I was concerned about my drinking, I just wanted to see what it was like. (It wasn’t that remarkable and was actually pretty easy). In 2018, I’m going to kick off the year by putting all unnecessary shopping on hold for a month. I plan to only buy groceries, replacements for any personal care items (like toothpaste) I may use up, and experiences (like drinks out with friends). While I’ve greatly reduced my consumerist tendencies since starting this blog, I can definitely do better. I hope that by giving up shopping for a month it will be easier to give it up more regularly throughout the year.
2: Get My Act Together and Compost
At this point, food waste is probably my largest source of trash. I feel particularly guilty when I throw out food because in addition to the waste of money and resources to buy food I throw out, I also work for a nonprofit related to food security. I’ve been hesitant to dive into composting because I’m still not certain I’ve found the best method for apartment composting. I’m not great at DIY projects so making my own worm bin is not a great idea, but I hate the idea of paying for a worm bin if it isn’t going to work for me. Tacoma offers curbside food/yard waste pick-up, but I’m not certain that this is even available to me since I live in an apartment. In the new year, I plan to call my apartment manager to see if this is something that can be made available to everyone in my building.
3: Cook More
The neighborhood I live in has great restaurants but no grocery store, so I end up eating out way more often than I should. This is a habit that is bad for my health, my wallet, and the environment. In the new year, I want to go grocery shopping more regularly, use the food I buy before it goes bad, and compost the scraps. Since I eat a (mostly) vegetarian diet, composting and cooking more are easy ways to reduce my waste. I got a nice knife set for Christmas, so I’m hoping that this will be the catalyst I need to cook meals for myself like a responsible adult.
I think the reason people like Lauren Singer and Bea Johnson have made such waves in the zero waste community and beyond is that they have visual representations of how little trash they produce. Going down to a mason jar of trash isn’t necessarily a goal of mine, but I think doing a trash inventory is a great way for me to see just how wasteful I am (and where I can make changes). Because I throw things away at work, home, and out and about in my daily life, it is easy to lose track of just how much I am throwing away. Once I get my compost situation figured out I want to do some trash inventories where I hold onto everything I need to throw away over the course of a week and see where I can make improvements.
5: Zero Waste Meet-Ups
One of my favorite things about going zero waste has been connecting with the zero waste community online. I haven’t met any current zero waste people in Tacoma, but there is a group up in Seattle that I would very much like to meet up with. I am fortunate to have very supportive friends and family that don’t question my zero waste lifestyle, but I would love to connect with other people that are as committed (if not more committed) than I am to the zero waste lifestyle.
Of course, as I work on all of these goals I will be sure to write about how they go. 2018 will be my first full calendar year in the zero waste community. I am excited to take my zero waste lifestyle further and to continue to document my experience here. Do you have any goals for reducing your waste in 2018? If so, please comment below.