I know it’s cliche to say, but where did this year go? At the end of 2017 I wrote out some goals for 2018 and I’m pleasantly surprised to see that I achieved most of my zero waste goals. My goals for 2018 were:
1. No Buy January — I bought a couple of things for myself that were necessary to purchase that month, as well as things for the YWCA. Starting 2018 with no buy month helped me focus on my shopping habits in a way that lasted through the rest of the year.
2. Compost — Ok this one is still a work in progress and will carry over to my 2019 goals.
3. Cook more — I don’t necessarily cook more, but boyfriend cooks a lot and now that we live together most of our meals are homemade. I do end up getting fast food more often than I’d like when life gets busy, so that’s something to fix in 2019.
4. Zero Waste Meet-ups — I met up a couple of times with the Seattle Zero Waste group and co-hosted a Tacoma meet-up. I’d like to host more in 2019 and continue to build friendships with my zero waste friends.
5. Change banks — I didn’t establish this as a goal in January, but wrote about it later in the year when I got more passionate about personal finance. In December, I officially made the switch to a local credit union and closed my account at Big Evil Bank, a decision I’ve been very happy with.
I thought that it would be good to start another year on the right foot, with solid goals in place to keep my attention focused on healthy habits. Here are my goals for 2019:
1. No Buy 2.0
I loved starting 2018 with a no buy month and intend to do the same in 2019. After reading “The Year of Less” this year, I’d like to extend my no buy and see how long I can go without shopping. I’m not sure I’ll do a formal no buy year, but I want to continue tracking what I buy and make an effort to buy less all year long. (One exception for January, one of my favorite new artists is releasing her first album in January, I plan to purchase that when it is released because I love her music and want to support her).
2. Update my zero waste routine
Boyfriend and I moved in together at the end of 2018, which in addition to being an exciting step for our relationship is also an interesting exercise in compromise. Going from a “me” based decision-maker to “we” based decision-making means that I can’t always do everything as zero waste as I would if decisions were 100% mine. In many ways, boyfriend is more naturally zero waste oriented than I am as he hates shopping and buying things, but our grocery shopping habits are different and he is less on board with adopting a vegetarian diet. My zero waste routine needs to be adjusted to our shared life, which will require a bit of compromise on both of our parts.
3. Start a garden & compost
One of the things boyfriend and I bonded over early on in our relationship is a shared desire to get back to basic, growing more food and getting to a more self-sustained way of life. Fortunately, we now live in a house with plenty of yard space for growing food and we’re living in the Puyallup Valley, known in Washington for it’s great soil and climate for growing food. Some of our goals, like having chickens, will need to wait until we’re in a more forever home, but we can easily start urban homesteading where we live now. If all goes according to plan, we should be eating lots of vegetables from our garden this summer.
And of course, my compost goal from 2018 is rolling into the new year. For whatever reason, composting has just not clicked into place for me. When I was living by my alma mater I would take scraps to the compost bin at their community garden, but with the most that is no longer a viable option. I know I can do better, and 2019 is the year to do it.
4. Continue to focus on personal finance
Ok so this one isn’t exactly a zero waste goal, but this year I’ve become much more focused on financial independence and getting my financial life in order. I’m starting 2019 with a financial counseling session with my credit union and after that I hope to have a better understanding of how to pay down debts, increase my credit score, and build my savings.
5: Reduce food waste
When work and my personal life get busy, grocery shopping becomes the least of my priorities and as a result I end up eating a lot of fast food. This is bad for the environment, my body, and my wallet — but I still can’t quite kick the habit. I also end up wasting groceries if I end up eating out more than I planned during the week. As boyfriend and settle into this new stage of our relationship, I hope to do a better job of using all the food we purchase and packing lunch every day. And once our compost system is set up, the food I do waste can “rot” instead of getting tossed.
Thanks for joining me in 2018, I hope you’ll stick with me through 2019 as I pursue these goals. And if you have zero waste goals of your own, I’d love to hear them!