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Going Zero Waste in America

Going Zero Waste in America

Humanity is destroying the environment.  If we want to turn things around, it’s going to take all of us, and it needs to start with the little things.  If you stop and think about it, it’s shocking how much waste you alone buy (and of which you therefore cause the production).  Plastic specifically is found in the packaging of most toiletries and food — items you need every day.  The creation of plastic is often for a single use; plastics such as water bottles, a plastic bag, and yoghurt containers are not often re-used, and are typically thrown out after fulfilling its destiny.  Plastic requires non-renewable resources as well as immense amounts of energy for its manufacturing.  It doesn’t bio-degrade in landfills, and instead releases more dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere.  One way to combat this is to attempt to go zero waste: avoiding the purchasing of new products and creating new waste that will be thrown out on a daily basis.  While it appears to be a daunting task, here are a few links to help you ease in:

 

A basic overview of going Zero Waste:

http://www.tedxteen.com/talks/why-i-live-a-zero-waste-life-lauren-singer

 

Toiletries:

Lotion: http://trashisfortossers.com/diy-organic-whipped-body-lotion-bye-bye/

Toothpaste: http://trashisfortossers.com/zero-waste-toothpaste-on-youtube/

Period: use a menstrual cup

Razor: use a safety razor

Toothbrush: https://www.brushmable.com/pages/the-brush

Sunscreen: https://packagefreeshop.com/collections/beauty/products/eco-formula-30-lotion

Laundry detergent: https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-recipe

Also, there are cardboard bottles of detergent at some grocery stores (like Whole Foods)

Dryer sheets: wool balls

Paper towels: reuse/cut up old clothes

Waxing: https://gippslandunwrapped.com/2016/04/25/sugaring-the-waste-free-alternative-to-waxing/

Toilet paper: https://us.whogivesacrap.org/

 

Stationary:

pens: secondhand at thrift stores

pencils: graphite only

 

Clothing: second hand

Denim: https://www.everlane.com/collections/womens-jeans (their denim supplier wastes almost no water, has a low carbon footprint, and the sludge from manufacturing is used to make bricks to keep it out of nature): https://www.everlane.com/denim-factory

Gifts: DIY

Other resources:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjefferson/eco-friendly-gifts-to-give-this-year?utm_term=.zqKjnWz1P1#.zqKjnWz1P1

https://www.terrapass.com/

https://www.litterless.com/

https://gippslandunwrapped.com/

And if nothing else:

https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/

 

Fun facts:

    •       Aluminum foil has to be able to be crumpled into a ball the size of a golf ball to be recycled, so save small pieces until they make a ball big enough

    •       Avoiding the selection of 2-day shipping when purchasing items online allows the postal service to figure out the most economical way to get your package to you, reducing the carbon footprint

    •       Buying local is always better than buying from the internet or big business corporate stores, because it reduces the carbon footprint from shipping, and supports the local economy

    •       Allowing soap to sit unwrapped for 6-8 weeks before use will harden it, and hardened soap lasts longer

It also helps to look locally, as small shops support smaller businesses and minimize transportation pollution.  Additionally, there are plenty of other unique places to buy repurposed products.  For instance, not far from my hometown in the Bay Area, there is the Treasure Island Flea Market and the Oakland Center for Creative Reuse. Going zero-waste is a long process, but every step counts!

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