Trash #1

Faced_products_on_a_supermarket_shelfIt’s been nearly three weeks since I started trying to live zero-waste, so it’s about time to take stock of how things are going.

“Mediocre” would be the best adjective, I believe. In some areas I’m having success, but in other areas very little has changed.

Food Packaging

The biggest source of waste at present is food packaging. Not food waste itself, but food packaging waste. All the plastic and cardboard and steel that means a can of baked beans can have a Best Before date of April 2019. (I’m really not sure how I feel about that…)

I’ve done some things to cut back on the packaging waste. Produce bags are useful, and I’ve been frequenting Bulk Barn with my reusable jars. I make bread regularly, and so haven’t had to buy any bread from the store. I’m avoiding frozen foods, since those often have a lot of packaging.

But there are still so many sources of waste I can’t figure out how to avoid. Eggs come in cardboard cartons. Milk comes in plastic bags. Meat comes in plastic and cardboard. Baked beans and tomato sauce and soup come in tin cans. I honestly don’t know how to eliminate some of these sources.

A butcher store might be able to eliminate some of the meat packaging waste, but the store itself will create a lot of waste. Baked beans and tomato sauce can be made at home, but it takes time and effort.

I can see no way to avoid milk and egg waste. That’s one of the problems with living in a city; you don’t have options that might be available if you were closer to food producers.

Food Waste

Most food waste is composted, myself and my roommates are fairly diligent about that. I would prefer having a home compost pile rather than sending it to the city, (counter-intuitively, it would be less messy) but I haven’t had the time yet. It’s one of my goals, though.

Other Waste

I finished my bottle of Listerine on Friday, and decided to buy a new one. I could probably have found a recipe online for mouthwash, but I’m a bit hesitant to rely on the Internet to clean my mouth properly. I’ve also found no way to avoid floss or find eco-friendly floss, and I really don’t want to stop using it, so that’s some waste every night. There have also been some surprising ways that waste has entered my life. I bought a used ironing board on Kijiji, only to receive it wrapped in several layers of plastic.

Looking back after nearly three weeks, I could have done much better, but I could have done much worse. And I’m still getting the hang of the whole zero-waste thing, so I think things will get better as I go along. This is important enough that I’m willing to put in effort to make less trash. After all, it’s my own planet that I’m saving.

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