Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Showing posts with label zero-waste home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zero-waste home. Show all posts

Trimming my waste: Week 28 (recycling cork)


Goals - Week 28: 
  1. Find a way to keep meaningful things around and functioning
  2. Find resources for recycling cork
  3. Keep it simple

Trimming my waste: Week 27 (clock rehab)



Goals - Week 27: 
  1. Repurpose
  2. Upcycle
  3. Draw!

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 21 (bottle borders)



Goals - Week 21:
  • Never stop being inspired by what I see around me 
  • Pause. Notice. Share.
  • But be real about upcycling. Most ideas have their pros and cons.

This past weekend was a long, sunny one. Four days off work... and Chicago was celebrating the beginning of summer and Memorial Day. On Saturday afternoon, I still had no idea what this week's post would be about. I really didn't want to be inside making, or photographing, something. I certainly didn't want to be staring at a screen doing research. And then, wondering down an alley behind a residential condo building, I happened upon this vegetable garden. And because I was with a pro photographer, I have beautiful pictures to share with you! 

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:

Trimming my waste: Week 19 (declutter)



Goals - Week 19:
  • Declutter
  • Turn unwanted stuff into money
  • Get creative with how to rid myself of the stuff

Trimming my waste: Week 12 (bamboo untensils)



Goals - Week 12:
  1. Reduce my reliance on plastic in the kitchen
  2. Slowly replace things with non-plastic alternatives
Stretch goal: plastic-free kitchen

Trimming my waste: Week 10 (reusable snack bags)


Goals - Week 10:
  • Reduce my reliance on single/limited-use plastic items
  • Slowly replace things with non-plastic alternatives
  • Stop bringing plastic into my home

Stretch goal: no single-use plastic in my life

Trimming my waste: Week 9 (reducing packaging)


Goals - Week 9:
  1. Reduce packaging waste
  2. Shift my shopping habits to incorporate more bulk
  3. Retrain myself and local stores: reusable bags/containers need to be "allowed"
Stretch goal: A pantry full of glass jars by the end of the year!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know that my first step into shopping the bulk section of my local Whole Foods was fraught. And I'm so glad I shared the experience because the response was fabulous! 

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.

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! - Day 5 Trimming my waste ...

Enter the Trashy Crafter giveaway! Closes midnight 1/24



I'm moving next weekend. Not country, or city... just apartment. And I'm looking forward to it! I've moved a lot in my life and have found that it's always a good opportunity not only to purge and organize, but also change habits. This recent NY Times article by Prof Wendy Wood backs me up! 

"To create or change a habit, you have to think much more about altering your environment and patterns of living than work on steeling your mind, because behavior is very much a product of environment. That’s why it’s sometimes easiest to start or break a habit during a major transition. This may sound counterintuitive, but a new house, job or relationship breaks old patterns...” 

And what habits do I want to change? Well, I want to get a little closer to walking the walk of this blog. I love turning trash into fun or useful stuff. But I still produce too much of it. My recycling fills up too fast. I still buy too much prepackaged food. I have not yet tried to compost.  

As part of the Trashy Crafter giveaway, I've asked people to share their go-to ways of keeping stuff out of landfills. What I'm hearing is inspiring; so ... I'm going to try to take the next step. "Waste? Not!" will now be the title of a weekly post (possibly more often, but baby steps!). I'll share with you the steps I'm taking, the lessons I learn and the obstacles I face along the way. 

I'm going to draw on the wisdom of Bea Johnson (Zero Waste Home) and Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers)Bea Johnson's blog and book chronicle her family's transition to living a zero-waste life. For a quick overview of her 10 Tips for a Zero-Waste Household, read this! Lauren Singer, inspired by Bea, took on the challenge herself and the resulting blog is beautiful! Lauren has condensed her advice into two steps (read them here). She's also condensed her waste. Two years worth fit into a jar: 




Bea has a husband and children, is self-employed and lives in CA. Lauren is single in NYC and is launching her own company. I'm employed full-time, live in an apartment in Chicago and am responsible for one little girl who will start Kindergarten in the fall. Ro (my 4.5-yr old) recently made the following comment during an episode of Pocoyo: "instead of throwing all that stuff away, they could make something. Or they could take it apart to see how it works like I did with my clock!"

Truth be told, that little outburst from her is what is really driving me to try this. She's old enough to participate fully. She gets a huge kick out of making things herself. And she's just as delighted as I am by the transformation of junk into usable "items".

So here we go ... :)