Day 1: My Zero Waste Game Plan

Alright so yesterday I talked a lot about communication and miscommunication. In that same light of transparency, I’d like to outline what my parameters are in my journey and how I plan to achieve them (I’m doing this mainly for me but since you’re here, join me. Could get interesting).

I am an engineer’s daughter. I am the daughter of a man who built a leaf gathering machine out of gift wrapping crates and bungee cords. I am the daughter of a woman who stockpiled those weird styrofoam crocheted nets that went on pears because, and I quote, “I dunno! They can be used for something!” She was right, I wore them as sassy rocker gloves for a costume one year. This is in my blood. My grandfather was an inventor. My grandmother wrote stories and documented our family and friend’s histories. They found meaning not only in changing the world, but in our shared understanding of what those changes mean to us and the people we love. To be present is not to be complacent, to be present is to see all things for what they were, what they are and what they can be. And with that sappy aside, I give you: my plan.

How am I defining waste?

Single use items that cannot be reused or re-purposed and ultimately end up either in a trash bin or recycling bin. That’s right people… recycling is not a zero waste industry and I intend to abide by that rule. Whatever things I have left will either be put in my zero waste jar for the month or used again. Those are really the only 2 options I will be working with.

What will not constitute as waste?

Compostable food items. That is not to say that i can just throw apple cores into the trash and feel good that eventually a landfill will break it down. I will collect my food waste in an air-tight container throughout the day and dispose of it in our compost bin by the end of the day.

What about toilet paper and lady things?…

I don’t know guys. I really don’t know. The toilet paper thing has stumped me. There are options out there that are wrapped in paper packaging and are made from 100% recycled and unbleached materials. All the cool zero waste kids in Europe are all like “use a bidet, ya yankee” and I’m all like “did I spell that right?” Look, bidets were fun and all to play with on our chorus trip to Europe but I’m just not there yet. And I do realize how disgusting it is to say “play with” in reference to a bidet, but I’m confident enough to share that I essentially played in a toilet at the age of 16. I’ll uh, keep you all posted on what I decide here…

Now lady things. If this doesn’t pertain to you, then skip it. But for all my eco mamas out there… you can do it, it is possible, and you will feel like a green queen by the end of your cycle. I’m totally freaked about the idea of putting a rubber cup up there and I’m lucky enough to have fairly light periods these days. So I opted to make my own pads. It’s easy. It’s not disgusting. And they’re durable. I won’t lie, I did consider just doing a week of zero waste for this very reason, but I’m not shy about pretty much anything so why not push myself, right? Right. I’ll write a separate blog post about this later on, but for now, you know that I’ll be implementing a green period as well.

How will I accomplish this?

In preparation for this month I have purchased everything I need to make toothpaste, deodorant, make up, bug spray, sun screen, laundry detergent, etc.

It also helps that I went to sewing camp when I was 13 and 14 (it was all the rage, seriously… best summers of my life). I’ll be able to create what I need by using what I already have. I’ll be able to repair clothing instead of just throwing it away.

For food, I’m lucky to live crazy close to an amazing farmers market and half a mile from the nearest Whole Foods. They have helped me so much as I prepare for 30 days of waste-free living.

My number one rule for the next 30 days is: buy nothing. use everything.

RIP potato chips. RIP skittles. (skittles and potato chip would be good names for pets. I’m hungry.)


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