Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label waste not. Show all posts
Showing posts with label waste not. Show all posts

Week 20 Giveaway winner!

Time to send these goodies to a new home! As always, I used a randomizer to pick the winner and it chose entry #521 - that's Cheryl F. 

Cheryl, congrats! Expect an email from me to get your shipping details. Thanks to everyone who entered for your interest.

Here's to wasting less :) 

Trimming my waste: Week 20 Giveaway!

Goals - Week 20:

  • Reduce reliance on paper towel 
  • Spread the love and help you do the same
  • Tell you about a company I really like

In January, I committed to Be Zero's #MakeLessTrash2016 challenge. I'm 20 weeks in and I find that I've joined an amazing community. People all over the planet who get up every day and try. Try to do a little better. Try to resist convenience. Try to live mindfully. People who remind me every day that "zero-waste" is not about showing off how you crammed a year's worth of trash into a mason jar. It's about living mindfully. Here's something BeZeroWasteGirl posted to Instagram this week:

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 

Waste? Not!: Week 2 - Bras, booze and burials

Bras are hard to upcycle. I've been trying to create a "bra roundup" for years... and have failed. Because really, outside of the dog ball, these upcycles are funny, but not terribly realistic right? Having said that, bras aren't really thrift-store material either. So what on earth do you do with them when they're worn out??

Waste? Not!: Week 1 - The no-waste move in 5 steps

Ok - I'm sorta cheating. Because I don't think it's that challenging to make a move "zero waste". But I'm moving in three days so I get to start with an easy one! 

When I talk about waste around moving, I'm not just talking about the packing materials. I'm talking money. A move is expensive. Especially if you're paying people to put your stuff in a van and take it out on the other side (which I am). So if you can avoid wasting money on packing materials, you should! 

1. Pack it yourself: Yes, moving companies will pack things for you. But they charge by the hour so...

2. Free Boxes: If your friends/colleagues can't help you, our online sharing culture makes this easy. Freecycle and Craigslist are good sources. I scored oodles of boxes through a local Facebook trading post. They've been used at least 3 times before and this won't be their last rodeo.

3. Pay if forward/Reuse: I already know who I'm giving them to when I'm done!

4. Recyclable/reusable padding: I've been raiding the recycling in the basement of my office building for non-plastic packaging materials (pictured above). While I will use some plastic, it's almost entirely the recyclable pillows rather than bubble wrap. Having said that, did you know you can turn bubble wrap into beads

5. Upcycle the cardboard: Finally, to give myself something to look forward to in the world-beyond-the-move, I have a great cardboard upcycling project planned. Watch this space :)

What am I forgetting? If you have advice to share on this topic, please leave a comment!

Waste? Not! - Day 1

Last week I read an article pointing out that people who live in the US produce more trash than anyone else on the planet. And, apparently, don't recycle nearly as much as we should. It got me thinking ... about a lot of things. One of them being the words we use to indicate that something is "trash": garbage, rubbish, refuse, junk, disposable-X and waste. 

I grew up with parents and grandparents who loathed "waste". And they didn't mean garbage. They meant squandering. Or neglecting instead of using. They used the word to convey lack of appreciation on some level. It was often leveled as an accusation: "What a waste!" And nothing got my grandmothers fired up quite like wasted food. 

They lived by the idiom "waste not, want not." A more streamlined version of "willful waste makes woeful want." And what exactly does that mean? It means if we don't waste what we have, we'll still have it in the future and will not lack (want) it

With that in mind, welcome to Waste? Not! Week. A week of celebrating people and organizations who looks for ways to reduce waste. People who take what might be "wasted" and use it well. To make something useful. Something beautiful. Something that reminds us that our definition of "disposable" has become dangerously distorted over time. 

To kick things off, a giveaway ... check back tomorrow :)