The Four Explore: ZERO WASTE

 

60 Days Waste Free Living

I’m an environmental enthusiast, always have been. When I was in first grade I wrote a letter to former president bill Clinton explaining my outrage for clear cutting in the rain forest. Before that I was a self proclaimed vegetarian. There has always been a big part of me that wants to break out and make meaningful change that directly benefits the environment.

I just can’t stand the excessive waste issues that plague the USofA. Approximately 4.3lbs of waste is accumulated per American per day. What makes up all of this household waste? Plastic, packaging and food waste are the culprits here, and there isn’t much we have done in the past 40 years to change the embarrassingly low recycle rates when it comes to plastic (~7-8% of plastic is a actually recycled).

Gregg and I decided to do something crazy. Inspired by a BuzzFeed video where an employee went 30 days of waste free living.

I decided we should do the same.

Waste free living or zero waste means you aren’t contributing to the purchase or disposal of one time use plastic and/or municipal waste. Instead of throwing away our food waste we are composting. Instead of using plastic bags for bulk items we bring our own jars. Instead of buying packaged goods we seek out sticker-less produce and fruit from farmers markets and seek out local shops who are cool with us bringing our own containers for bread, cheese, chips, etc. instead of using disposable wipes and diapers for Griffin we opted for cloth and reusable fleece wipes.

Is it easy? Initially, no.

We had some real kickbacks early on. I almost sliced off my middle finger while food prepping on a mandolin right before our challenge started. Even though we had started G in cloth it was incredibly hard for me to snap the diaper shut with only my left, non-dominant hand available. We also are pretty much doing everything trial by error. We went to Whole Foods and used a compostable container to buy pre-made tamales from the deli and after patting ourselves on the back realized it had a big fat non recyclable/ non compostable sticker smack dab in the center.

With that said, we have had more triumphs and victories than fall backs. Waste free living isn’t easier, but it is challenging in a way that keeps me on my toes and genuinely makes me feel GOOD about how we are living as stewards to the environment and as a family of four!

At just over a week in we have had some major triumphs! Here are just a few:

1. Trash and recycling day is Wednesday and we have barely anything in our trash can.

I can’t tell you adequately how great it felt to see so little in the bin. We decided to go 60 days waste free instead of 30 because we are still accumulating waste from before the challenge. It didn’t seem right to simply throw out our food and containers because they were plastic or non-recyclable. We hope by day 30 we can truly see 0 waste in our trash can!

2. We found the Market on the Move and Produce On Wheels Without Waste (M.O.M. & P.O.W.W.O.W) where you can buy up to 60 POUNDS of fruits and vegetables for only $10!

Almost all were sticker-less and some even organic. It is a great organization where food that the grocery store turns away due to shelf life is turned around and given to us for a deep discount. Bring a bag or snag a box and get there early! Times and schedules change so you have to be on top of it. Once you are in the groove start prepping, freezing, jarring, whatever!!

 

Here is the link to the Phoenix and Tucson P.O.W.W.O.W produce schedule and the M.O.M produce schedule.

Remember: These are rotating markets with specific days they distribute, so sign up for notifications and join their pages on Facebook to get all the info in real time

  • Produce On Wheels Without Waste (POWWOW) schedule HERE
  • Market on the Move (MOM) website HERE

3. We used our Simple Ecology reusable bags for trail mix and other bulk items.

The bags are super cool because they include the tare weight right on the tag making it easy to check out for us and the cashier. These 100% organic cotton muslin bags are GREAT for fine grained materials like flour, sugar, yeast, pea protein, etc.

If jars are more your style, no problem! Go right to customer service at Whole Foods or another health food market, have the employee weigh the jar, record the tare weight on the lid with sharpie or chalk, fill up and when you check out the casheir reduces the cost by the recorded tare.

Badda bing, badda boom! Simple!

 

Buy them here!

4. We started composting and found our first earth worm!

Now we aren’t gardening YET , BUT I am planning on doing an entire blog post or maybe even a Vlog on how we are composting to give you all tips and info. Composting is really a fool proof way to get rid of the majority of your kitchen waste!

Sooo….

Last but not least, I’ve set up a Vlog so I can share our triumphs and tribulations along the way. Above all else I hope to inspire you to make changes in your lives to become better environmental stewards! I am so excited to keep you all updated on this journey! Come with us!

Have questions? Want to see us cover something specific? Leave a comment and follow us on Instagram @thefourexplore, on Snapchat as ( thefourexplore ) and now on YouTube!

Also, here is Griff in an incredibly cute sweater milking a pretend cow at the zoo

#dead

 

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11 Comments

  1. I love this, it’s really made me think about how we shop and the small changes that could make a difference… thinking about where sells things loose these days at all, the amount of plastic and packaging in our lives is crazy. Thank you

    Reply
  2. We are good at recycling but NOT reusing. Our recycling bin is always overflowing each week….Thanks for sharing these tips!

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  3. This is so fascinating! I can’t wait to read more about how it goes!

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  4. Excellent stuff – how do you buy products that tend to come in containers already? We have an “unpackaged” supermarket in town, but its very far away and I just can’t get there for my weekly shop, since we have no car. How do you manage things like soaps and shampoo etc that come in bottles?

    Reply
    • Some jars come without the plastic wrap around the top, in which case we use and reuse the glass bottle! more often than not you can simply peel off the label (paper) and compost (for non veggies) and / or recycle. Lucky you for having an unpackaged store !! Even if it is far away. My suggestion would be to go once a month and buy large quantities of things you can use your own jars and bags for (oil, bulk items, etc) and then get the other items you cook with (produce, bread, fruit, meat) locally or at a farmers market. Smaller mom and pop shops are more considerate when it comes to zero waste / bringing your own containers! We will do a segment on soap and shampoo soon because we are running low, so stay tuned! We make our own or buy unpackaged soap (GOOD brand) from Whole Foods

      Reply
  5. This is so impressive!! I am tempted to try it!

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  6. This is so cool and impressive. I really want to try this! I seriously applaud you for doing this!

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  7. SO so cool! I really want to start composting too.

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  8. This is my dream! I remember how awesome it felt to have like no trash every week when we lived in WA State. We’d drive all our beautiful recycling to the facility instead. The bulk fruit buy you have is incredible!

    Reply

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