September Zero Waste Wins and Struggles

Well, school is back in session and my schedule has gone from zero to a million very quickly. Convenience and time saving hacks come into play, especially when I’m tired and don’t have a lot of energy to get it all done. Yet somehow the weeks are moving forward and I continue with my zero waste habits. Not everyday is perfect, and I have some larger goals I want to attain, but I’m showing that environmentalism and modern-day multitasking can work in tandem. You can juggle it all (or at least try!) and still care. Here are my month’s zero waste wins and struggles.

I planned ahead. I knew that time would become scarce come September, so I spent a weekend morning and got my proverbial ducks in a row. For me, that meant heading to the bulk store and stocking up on cleaning products and lunch supplies. I’ll be honest – the bill was high and kind of scared me – but now I’m set for a few months and don’t have to worry. It also means I’m relying less on plastic conveniences and that feels good. Maybe planning ahead looks different for you. Some like to meal prep on Sunday. Hannah has a whole system for doing her laundry with her outside line. Find what works for your life. You don’t have to cover every base in order to make a difference.

Gorgeous and local flowers from the Concord Farmers Market

Most of my gifts are zero-waste and/or locally bought. My friend has a birthday this weekend and I’m planning to attend her small get together. The invitation requested no gifts but I always bring a little something. Sometimes I think people say “no gifts” because they don’t want more clutter in their houses. I get it. As Hannah says, whatever comes into your home must find a way out. So I’ve been thinking of items that will get used/eaten/composted but still be enjoyed. The birthday girl will likely get a combo of flowers, jams, pickled items or soaps, all made locally via the Concord Farmers Market. I’m gifting something luxurious and fun, while sticking to my zero-waste goals. Plus no extra junk for her home.

graphic via @nocoalinbow

My zero-waste switches are sticking. In the past few months, I’ve traded up our toilet paper, cut back on plastic waste and eaten less meat. All of these swaps start conversations with my children about the Earth. My zero-waste habits get noticed by acquaintances or work colleagues, even if it’s just complimenting my lunch tins or second-hand outfit. A few years ago, a woman said “I started composting because I saw you do it. I figured if a mom of two small kids could compost, I could too.” My heart still swells five years later. Think of how much waste has been diverted from the landfill! She may have influenced others well. As I love to say, small steps add up! It’s ok if you can’t solve the whole problem by yourself. Awareness and gradual habit-changes are huge. – Rachel

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