A big part of going zero waste for me has been learning to make more of our food from scratch. I’ve been interested in health foods for a long time and have been making homemade plant-based meals for many years. Yet, until recently, I was still relying on the grocery store for many snack foods, condiments, and kitchen ‘staples’. To add to that, my family switched from a vegetarian diet to a vegan one last summer – which gave me a new situation to figure out.
When I decided to adopt my version of minimalism, one of the biggest things I became keenly aware of was the insane number of “unitaskers” in my possession. These are items that only perform one specific task and spend the rest of their life-cycle taking up an inordinate amount of space. In my kitchen, especially, the unitaskers were the first items I purged! (Like, do I really need an egg slicer when using a knife works just as well, and just as quickly? Confession: I had two of them! Yikes.)
I have come to love multitasking products for their adherence to the principles of minimalism, zero waste, and sheer practicality. And, of course, the space that they free up in my house.
So in honor of the super-multifunctional bandana, I’ve compiled a list of other awesome zero waste multitaskers that helped me, and may help you, along this journey to zero waste (and maybe minimalist) living!
At Zeroish, we believe there are many ways to live sustainably. That’s why our Real Life interview series is one of our favorite parts of the blog. This week we talked to vegan and animal rights advocate Lauren Hambrick.
People choose veganism for different reasons, including the toll meat consumption has on the environment, concerns about animal welfare, and improved personal health. But what’s veganism all about? Do you have to eat Tofurky? Plus, isn’t that stuff super-processed and and wrapped in plastic? Can you be zero waste and vegan at the same time?
If you’ve ever been curious about veganism, vegetarianism, or how to add more plant-based meals to your diet, read on!
Imagine this conversation:
Sorry, honey. I know you wanted to give out Star Wars cards on Valentine’s Day, but we’re going zero waste this year. That glow stick lightsaber taped to the card is “totally epic,” but it’s also totally wasteful. Your friends will play with that for a day, tops, and then it’s headed straight for the landfill. How about making some seed paper hearts instead?
Whose kid is going to sign up for that deal?
(Not mine, at least.)
It’s a lot easier to go zero waste when you’re the only one making the decisions. Add a partner and some kids with spending money to the equation, and it gets more complicated.
Zero waste living doesn’t have to be anti-fun. Have your Star Wars Valentines! You don’t need to craft biodegradable Valentines cards for the whole second grade — just look for something that’s recyclable and plastic-free.
When our clothing begins to show signs of wear, we can work to repair it rather than replace it. Many of us our at a generational disadvantage in this regard. A few generations ago, most people learned basic garment care at home as children. But with the emergence of fast fashion, these skills were often set aside and many people who grew up from the 1960s onwards didn’t learn how to mend clothing. Clothing became cheap, and, well, replaceable.
But, if we want to move away from fast fashion, we need to learn these skills we may be missing. Fortunately, basic mending is not difficult. Even more fortunately, it’s 2018. We have YouTube.
As humans, we are extremely influenced by those around us.
It’s in our nature.
When you surround yourself with people who live a healthy lifestyle, or live in a community with a strong focus on being green, it can really rub off on you, whether you’re conscious of it or not.
Conversely, it can be difficult to be successful with endeavors like going zero waste, when people around you aren’t as into it.
At times, you might feel like you’re the only one out there who is trying. Or quite honestly, like no one else gives a crap about the Earth, pollution, chemicals in our food, excessive waste, etc.
We did it. January is over.
Curious about our first month going zero waste? We made it through the flu and one flooded basement, and we’re all still standing. Kate, Meredith, and I report back to you on what worked, what was difficult, and what’s next for our zero waste goals in February.
It’s a Monday night. I’m cutting up bell peppers while the black beans are simmering on the stovetop. My son walks into the kitchen to report that the almond milk jar is now empty. I decide I better make up a quick batch of soy milk so we have something to mix with our oatmeal in the morning.
Then I remember that I haven’t started making the tortillas yet. I get out the mixing bowl and start mixing ingredients for wheat tortillas. My younger son is now in the kitchen crying because he wants me to a play board game with him. My daughter comes in and shouts that she wants a snack. But now it’s time to put the soybeans in the blender before they get too cool. I kinda want to scream.
Every weekend we bring you a list of links that inspire, inform, and encourage. This week: It’s all about community.
Our individual zero waste goals won’t change the world. That’s why at Zeroish we’re determined to turn our zero waste aspirations into community action.
Tomorrow the Zeroish team will be at the Nokomis Green Fair talking about easy steps you can make toward zero waste. We’re also launching two zero waste projects this spring to make sustainable living more accessible to everyone.
Nobody wants to be that creepy lady at the park, but I couldn’t stop staring at the family sitting at the picnic table next to me. What were they eating?
I had just started zero waste grocery shopping, and I was absolutely stumped on what to buy for my kids’ snacks and lunches. No more plastic bags of Goldfish crackers? No more applesauce pouches? There had to be something easier than homemade organic fruit leather that I could feed my kids, but I had no idea what it was.
And then there was that family. The kids were happily eating from strange stainless steel containers with lots of little compartments. There were no plastic baggies in sight. And it wasn’t just raisins and carrot sticks, either. They had variety! It looked pretty good!
Don’t be like me, stalking strangers’ food in public places.
Talk zero waste lunches with us.