Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label #makelesstrash2016. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #makelesstrash2016. Show all posts

Trimming my waste: Week 8 (clean energy)



Goals - Week 8:
  1. Reduce my household carbon footprint
  2. Spend my money on renewable energy
  3. Walk the damn walk
Stretch goal: Get everyone else to switch!  :)

Trimming my waste: Week 7 (bamboo toothbrush)




Goals - Week 7:
  1. Reduce my reliance on single/limited-use plastic items
  2. Slowly replace things with non-plastic alternatives
  3. Stop bringing plastic into my home
Stretch goal: zero-waste toothpaste

About half of the nearly 600 billion pounds of plastics produced each year go into single-use products. Just think about that for a second.

Trimming my waste: Week 6 (email clean up)




Goals - Week 6:
  1. Spend less time dealing with email
  2. Avoid the message to buy
  3. Avoid the damn message to BUY

Stretch goal: ZERO promotional emails

If you use gmail, you have a partitioned inbox like I do. And it's a really a great way to filter "promotional messages", most of which we've volunteered to receive. Who knows why. Many reasons, right?

Here's the problem: they're all tempting us to buy things we don't need. So. My goal this week is to scroll down and UNSUBSCRIBE. It's a pain. But if I'm committed to reducing my "stuff" and trimming my waste, temptation to buy doesn't help.

Any of you done this?




Trimming my waste: Week 5 (DIY deodorant)



Goals - Week 5:
  1. Precycle - bring less non-recyclable plastic into my home
  2. Buy less, make more (without being stinky)
  3. Save money!
Stretch goal: make this for everyone I know so they'll try it!  (recipe after the jump)


Trimming my waste: Week 4 (zero-waste coffee)


Goals - Week 4:
  1. Look for ways to make my coffee habit more environmentally friendly
  2. Make less trash
  3. Repurpose more
Stretch goal: pay more to buy locally roasted, fair-trade coffee.

Trimming my waste: Week 3 (hairbands from tights)




Goals - Week 3:
  1. Upcycle a non-recyclable item
  2. Repair or repurpose old clothes
  3. Buy less, make less trash and create more  :)
Stretch goal (punny!): use old tights to line plant pots

Trimming my waste: Week 2 (upsizing the recycling)



Goals - Week 2:

  1. Really pay attention to how much I throw away #thereisnoaway
  2. Decrease landfill waste
  3. Notice how fast the recycling fills up
Stretch goal: Composting - achievable if I figure out a sensible solution for a single urban apartment dweller.

Trimming my waste: Week 1 (hard soap FTW)



If you missed it, here's the post explaining the whole "trimming my waste" thing.

Goals - Week 1:

  1. Precycle: reduce the amount of packaging I bring into my home, even if it's recyclable
  2. Reduce exposure to chemicals in cosmetics. Because no one seems to be regulating them or       explaining them very well. See Stink! ... you won't like what you smell hear
  3. Support small, local businesses making products using simple ingredients

Stretch goal: DIY soap or body wash.

Ok, week 1. Easing into this commitment... because it's just soap, right? And it's not hard to find beautiful, affordable, kindly-made bars of soap. So this is an easy way to start.

HURDLE: Some "hard" soaps turn my skin to chalk after one use. Ak! So, like most things, there will be some trial and error involved in this transition, especially in winter in Chicago. That's ok. I also might try soap making again. But I really need to read up on making a genuinely moisturizing version because a plain glycerine base won't cut it.

Do any of you have a favorite bar that's kind to really dry skin? Or a recipe for such a thing? Perhaps the winter solution is a homemade body wash like this?




2016 challenge: 51 weeks of Trimming my Waste



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.




If you'd like to do a little waste-trimming yourself, check out Be Zero's "Make Less Trash" challenge and share what you're doing! If you play on Instagram, use the challenge hashtag:  #makelesstrash2016