Happy 2016! I'm a week late but hey ... better late than never right? In fact, that's sorta the sentiment behind the new series I'm kicking off this week. Better something than nothing. Better to start than wait for the perfect time and place to start. Right?
So here's the plan: for the next 51 weeks, I'm going to share with you all the small changes I've made (and will make) to "trim my waste". And by "waste" I mean everything from actual trash (and recycling) to the unworn items in my closet, the energy suckers in my home and an array of other wasteful habits and behaviors. Why? Because I've been arguing for years that upcycling is my low-pressure way to change mindsets. A gentle prod in the direction of more conscious, conscientious consumption.
But the time for gentle is over. As a species, we've shoved our planet into a new geological epoch. We mechanically produce and consume at a speed (and on a scale) that defies belief. For example, we've already dumped so much plastic into our waterways and oceans that microplastic particles are now virtually ubiquitous, and plastics will likely leave identifiable fossil records for future generations to discover. Fabulous.
And we've done it so fast that we've barely paused to notice that there's no planet B. So. I'm done with gentle. Gloves off my fabulous refabbers. It's time we get our hands really dirty. And refab ourselves. I know I'm not close to walking the walk... are you?
Like many of you, I'm inspired by zero-waste mavens like Trash is for Tossers, Be Zero and Zero Waste Home. But, like some of you, I'm seeing only the end result of their years of effort. I wasn't there to watch the process. So I see a perfectly stripped down home and zero-waste behaviors already well-established. Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers) provides 2 steps to zero waste. Here's the problem: each step contains multiple steps and many involve switching out products (mostly to eliminate plastic). That's great. But few of us have the cash to just chuck half the things we own and buy (more expensive) steel, wood, glass and bamboo substitutes.
Honestly, making your home and your life more sustainable can seem daunting (and expensive). But so can starting a diet, going "dry" for January or working out after an indulgent holiday season. Many of us still commit to these thing in the new year, don't we? Instead, how about committing to a different sort of trimming? Not a crash diet or starvation. Just trimming. But in a focused way.