May 22, 2011

A Lifestyle Less Wasted (Step 1: The Decision)

Today is the first day of my "wasteless" life. After weeks of frenzied searching inspired by examples of zero waste efforts, weeks I spent under the perceived impression that I could do nothing of the sort save for a resolution to compost here or a promise to spend less there, I finally knew I could live a waste less lifestyle, too.

During the weeks of skepticism, I told myself it must take too much time & energy to be so diligent, not only to live such a conscious lifestyle, but to BEGIN it. Besides, it would be too expensive to change everything about how I live, right? But then last night as if "let there be light" commanded, I simply woke up and realized I could do more. Of course, I could. And once I realized it, the belief took on a life of its own. My light bulb went off when I uttered "I can give up paper towels. I just won't buy them anymore" (two months ago the very idea would have been heresy.) Then within seconds, I made the same decision about plastic containers, and in less than 24-hours I wanted to start bulk shopping instead of continuing normal, (ie prepackaged ) shopping. And making my own cleaners? fun! Suddenly, I'm excited about every aspect of this new lifestyle. And I feel reborn! What could be more creative than consciously constructing my very own lifestyle, liberating me from the one I've been invisibly controlled by my entire life. And I can't help but be healthier--giving up what will surely amount to a substantial amount of processed, prepackaged junk food in favor of simple ingredients and cooking. So, I've decided to start now and dive in to 0%, or as close to it as I can get. Not everyone would decide to go all out all at once, but it's the right decision for me.

Today, I spent the afternoon clearing kitchen space for the new jars I have arriving soon. I also dedicated  space to "clean" cloths (cut up old clothing), and a space for lightly used cloths (used but clean enough to reuse before washing). I'll be using these instead of paper towels. And I chose to dedicate my simplehuman plastic bag dispenser to store used cloths, since I'll no longer be needing it for plastic!

I'll also chronicle my waste less journey on this blog, using it as a space to discuss progress, challenges and as a simple guide to how I'm doing. I'll also share the tips I find on living as close to zero waste as possible, as cheaply as possible.

Tip #1: Wholesale Jars (for the ZeroWaster jumping in all at once). 
Wholesale jars are the way to go, if you're starting 0-waste at 100-percent. The site I used is They have a site for wholesale ($150 min order) and retail pricing (less than $150). On my jars purchase, I averaged $3.75 per canning jar including shipping! A 65% savings over sites like

1 comment:

  1. The longest journey begins with the first step! Congratulations on beginning.

    Those jars look really neat. Alas, I am far to cheap to actually purchase jars, so I just get by with old mayo and spaghetti sauce jars. They generally work pretty well, although I do lose lids sometimes. Here's one tip if you do decide to re-use old jars though... remove the labels before you put them in the dishwasher. Otherwise the paper comes off in the wash and clogs the drain leaving you with a total mess!