Here is our plastic waste from all of January:
Some zero waste alternatives that I’ve found to avoid producing trash:
- Cancelled the Costco membership (literally everything there is wrapped in plastic, usually not recyclable, often wrapped twice!)
- Flax seed from the bulk bins (bring your own glass jar to refill, I use an empty clean honey jar)
- Spice mixes: Many spices are available in bulk at EarthFare. The bulk spices are in the soap/medicine section. They even have baking powder! The lady who works in that section said that items in that bulk section are always less expensive than the same item in packaging somewhere else in the store. Also, the first ingredient in the taco seasoning from Walmart was corn meal. I paid for something that isn’t even a spice! The basic seasonings were chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion, green peppers. All those things can be found without packaging and I bet it will taste better too!
- Vinegar comes in a glass bottle at EarthFare. Not quite zero waste, but glass can be recycled infinitely, whereas plastic only “recycles” once or twice (really, no plastic is truly “recyclable” if you define that as the green arrows going in a circle, ie, they can be used over and over again).
- The blue straw that somehow my girls found. Totally replaceable with a stainless steel straw. My 3 year old told me she wants “a straw made out of metal” for her birthday. That’s my girl!
Some problem items to ponder:
- Christmas tree lights. If you find them absolutely necessary, try to reuse the ones you have as long as possible. We played around with and replaced back and forth every light on this strand and still couldn’t get it to work. The fuse is probably dead inside the plug, and we couldn’t find a fuse that fit. Lowe’s does take Christmas lights in their recycle bin at the front of the store, so for heaven’s sake don’t throw your old ones away! But recycling is a last resort. I would say first to try to repair whatever you have. If you absolutely have to buy a new set of lights, buy LED ones that will last years, and do everything you can to repair them when they break.
- Cat litter. Apparently the “clumping” clay based cat litter is mined from the earth in a way that causes environmental havoc on the animals and plants. It isn’t really fair for your cat to have clumping cat litter for their delicate paws at the expense of the lives of their wild cousins. We still have 2 more bags we had already bought, but before they run out I will have to find a good alternative! Any suggestions? Please comment below!