So as to not waste your time, I’ll tell ya this post is about the following:
I’ve recently taken my first baby steps into a zero waste lifestyle and I want to tell everyone that it really isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. This post is about my background with the earth, why I care, and things you can do if you’re interested in starting this journey too.
A lot of you know my major was “global studies,” but I’m sure I never mentioned my concentration on health and environment. It was likely never relevant to this blog. Anyway, my college major was International Health and Environment. For two years, after changing majors, I studied human behavior and how it impacts growth, physical and mental health, the physical world and the impact our impact on the physical world has on us. Cool.
I grew up outside city limits where curbside recycling is just not a thing. My dad has always recycled aluminum, but we never did anything else. The closest place to recycle was a 10 minute drive to the grocery store parking lot where a large bin sits. There you can put cardboard, paper and plastic bottles. Nothing else.
I learned about recycling in college and made efforts to make it happen. I learned about other things that I didn’t put into action until now. Honestly, I studied these things at such a large scale that it felt overwhelming for me to take individual action. I was pounded with so much information, so it was easier to just take it all in without actually doing anything.
Why I Care
Then we moved to New York, where I quickly realized how much I LOVED nature. I love being in nature. I hate bugs and birds, but it’s whatever. Because I need grass and trees and forests and gardens and nature. I need it. This is where it really hit me that I could protect and preserve the world. We really need to do that.
I have just over a month left in New York before I get to retreat to the nature in the North Carolina foothills, and I’m so ready for my skin to feel the sun and for my nose to be filled with all the pollen it can stand and to scream for my dad to kill the bugs again. (Sorry, bugs. I can’t handle you yet.)
Anyway, I care because I have to. Because I know the impact our trash has on the planet, I can no longer turn a blind eye. I can’t blame my parents for not recycling because I have my own place now. I can’t blame my city because it takes recycling AND compost curbside and I have access to bulk stores. (My next post will be about NYC specific steps you can take to zero waste! The post after that will probably be how I’m adjusting to zero wasting in the south again.)
I love learning and, other than baseball and music biographies, I tend to gravitate toward books about human behavior regarding, you guessed it, health and environment. I know too much to continue producing all the trash I produce. I know too much to keep wasting food and water. Honestly, I have no excuses to NOT zero waste, so I’m gonna do it.
Steps You Can Take
I’ve decided to blog about this because I have a nice community of friends who are also on this journey. And that’s exactly what it is: a journey. Don’t think I’ll never eat another bag of chips or use a piece of plastic. I JUST started this, so building habits will take a little while. That’s okay. I also don’t want to spend a lot of money on “zero waste” products all at once. I’m taking big steps in some areas and baby steps in others. That’s also okay.
If you wanna make an impact, I’ll say the first thing you should do is LEARN. If you don’t know why you’re doing something, it may not seem as important. Read about the impact trash, especially plastic, has on the environment and animals. Read about renewable resources and clean energy and the opposites. Read about local, state, and federal environmental policies. Just figure out why it’s important to you.
Going Zero Waste blog has great resources for beginners. There are tons of bloggers out there and I was overwhelmed, so I’m almost solely reading her stuff.
Almost solely because my friend Emily also keeps a blog about living a vegan and low waste lifestyle. Read it here!
Lastly, a friend recommended this NC-based blogger to me. It’s always really helpful to be able to put things into a local context.
You can also follow along with me as I sort through this stuff.
P.S. My parents recycle now because I make them and mama’s gonna sport a reusable straw upon my return home. 🙂