10 Questions You’ve Always Wanted to Ask Zero-Waste Bloggers

Moments after transitioning my blog (mixedmediamusings) into a space where I document our journey living more waste-consciously, I was scooped up by the lovely Inge @ Gruenish.com to join the rapidly growing Zero-Waste Blogger’s Network. In just the short week since I’ve joined we have reached a membership of 30+ bloggers from all around the world.

A little game of sorts has been circulating amongst the group and this post is dedicated to this chain of inquiry/play. I will be answering 10 questions about my experiences transitioning to a life lived more waste-consciously. Bloggers will then answer and tag 3 other ZWBloggers to answer and share with their community of followers.

Shall we begin?!

First things first, I’m tagging the following bloggers from our network to complete the challenge (sorry if you have already been tagged):

How/Why did you first start switching to a Zero-Waste lifestyle?

Honestly, I think it really started sometime in my undergraduate. When I was living in Boulder, Colorado I was exposed to so many lifestyles that were completely different from my own. Slowly, as my awareness was heightened around environmental issues, waste and toxin proliferation and exposure, and our consumption driven culture, I started making small changes.

Documentaries have also played an important role providing information about things that exist outside of my daily thoughts and experiences, while also compelling me to make meaningful changes in my life and examine the choices I make as a consumer. Some important documentaries that have helped energize me for the task at hand:

Plastic Paradise 

Wasteland 

Food Inc.

Finally, I think we as humans need to come to terms (and quick) with the way our individual actions and collective choices dramatically effect both the environment and OUR sustainable future. There are dire consequences for our refusal to evolve into more a sustainable species. It may not feel like a few people across the planet choosing to live waste-free can make a difference in our larger global process of extermination/extinction; however, if 30 people have come together to support waste-conscious and waste-free living, that is 1,569.5 lbs p/p less trash going into landfills (roughly 47,085lbs. or 23.5 tons) annually.

23.5 TONS LESS WASTE EACH YEAR FROM JUST 30 PEOPLE MAKING A LIFESTYLE CHANGE!!!!!

This, for me, is reason enough.

When did you start pursuing a Zero-Waste lifestyle?

I’ve been pursuing more sustainable lifestyle options on and off, and in different ways, for several years. However, it has only been a few weeks since renewing our commitment and really trying to stick with it. I really wanted to take it slow and to blog about the process as a way of inspiring others and setting up some accountability for myself. Fingers crossed!

What are some of your favorite ways to avoid trash?

1. I LOVE that Glendale has banned plastic bags in the time since we’ve moved here. It makes it easy to either bring our own bags or purchase paper ones without feeling guilty. That being said, I think the easiest way to start avoiding trash is to avoid plastic bags like the plague (and plastic things in general).

2. COMPOSTING! This is so easy to do, even if you live some where without a backyard (like us). Your city may even offer community composting sites, free composting classes, or free composting bins (like Glendale, CA).  I compost on my patio and have been meaning to publish a blog on the how-tos and some tips I have found helpful for apartment composting. Stay tuned!

3. Saving jars, and buying in bulk.

4. Finally, bringing my own containers everywhere felt a little awkward and daunting at first, but now I bring my own water bottle and coffee mugs to campus and coffee shops (most places are happy to refill both). I keep a foldable tote in my purse (for spontaneous purchases, or library trips), and when we go out to eat I try to slip a glass container in my purse for any leftovers we might have.

Why do you have so much time to make all that stuff from scratch?

Hahaha! No time. Ever.

No time to be had in academia!

But truthfully, even though I have only been working towards waste-free living for a month (and taking it really slow), I have been finding that once the clutter is gone– “living” is starting to feel more seamless. Because I am taking things slowly, there is no pressure to turn my condo into a “homemade products” or DIY factory. I have always done a lot of cooking– it is my  therapy at the end of the day, or early in the mornings. But aside from the usual routine, the only things I have made from scratch in the last month are  a quick carpet cleaner, which then doubled as shower spray cleaner, pasta sauce (blog coming soon), and I used to coffee grounds from yesterday’s coffee to wash my face this morning…fancy huh!?

I am actually looking forward to making ricotta cheese and toothpaste!

Must be expensive to cook from scratch, are you rich?

HAHAHAHA! No money. Ever!

No money to be had as a graduate student!

I hope to start writing more blogs about how we manage our finances on such a tight budget, but for now, here is a recent blog about how shopping in bulk can be a HUGE money saver. Also, I have found from experience that COOKING (or preparing your own meals) is actually WAY LESS EXPENSIVE (not to mention, healthier) than…EVERY other option!

What were the hardest things to give up?

Because we have been taking it slowly, it does not feel like I have had to “give anything up,” rather its been like a game to find substitutes or more thoughtful alternatives. That being said, I am not looking forward to learning how to use a safety razor, or giving up Oil of Olay (once I am out). Corey has grumbled and has expressed resistance to the toothpaste I plan to make once we are out of our last tube. BUT he was supportive of me purchasing compostable bamboo toothbrushes online, sooooo baby steps!

What are your compromise items (not zero waste but you still buy them)?

We still purchase a lot of dairy products that are hard to find completely waste-free. I am planning to get cheese cloth and purchase cheese directly from deli sans packaging. But again, since we are just starting (and slowly), our compromises are still just areas of growth.

What is your favorite zero waste blog?

I watched Bea Johnson’s story a few years ago and was really inspired; however, it wasn’t until I stumbled across Trash is For Tossers and Lauren Singer that the transition actually felt possible.

What’s one random fun fact about you?

I don’t know how “fun” this is, maybe more sad, ha! But if I had the resources, I would quit everything to become a professional show-jumper and equine trainer. My whole life I have dreamed of going to the Olympics and training incredible horses– its a dream that refuses to die.

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