A zero-waste lifestyle has been something that has been on the back of my mind for years, but has come more to the forefront of my attention in the past few months. While social media can definitely be soul-sucking at times, it also really has its benefits— like showing me that living a zero-waste lifestyle is actually attainable and can be fun, creative, and bring me to a state of higher-conscious living, of which I find myself constantly seeking.
Now is probably the time to preface that I do not, by any means, live a zero-waste life. Holy cow, I wish I did, and I plan to in my future, but I also think I need to take baby steps in order for it to be sustainable for myself. Ok, phew, glad I got that statement over with. I felt like I really needed to address that so I don't take any credit away from the bad asses that are actually living zero-waste lives. Anyway, let's carry on.
My first step on my zero-waste journey began when I was a junior in high school. I remember it vividly. I was so struck by what I was learning in AP Environmental Science class— from the toxic gasses in the atmosphere, to severe natural disasters and polar bears dying due to their homes melting. It was so heartbreaking for me. So I made the vow to never use plastic water bottles.
Looking back now, I shouldn't have said *never*. I wasn't perfect, but damn, was I good for a 15 year old. In 2011, being vegan AND a plastic water bottle hater in a family of meat eating American immigrants basically meant I was adopted. And we definitely toyed with the idea.
Fast forward 8 years later, and I do occasionally use a plastic water bottle when I'm in a pinch. This isn't my problem (although, this would be a VERY easy thing to fix, and it generally is, because I probably buy like 3 plastic water bottles a year). My problem is... groceries. I've noticed a commonality among myself and all my millennial friends who live in a fast-paced lifestyle: we buy a lot of pre-packed foods & snacks. This means, our grocery cart basically looks like a bunch of microwavable dinners, cartons, snacks in plastic bags and soup in aluminum cans.
The old Isa would honestly not know a way around it. But god bless social media for...
Teaching me about the god damn bulk section. You can legit bring a reusable bag to the grocery store and get everything you need from the bulk section (including soup ingredients) and from the vegetables and fruit bins.
Making things from scratch is much more rewarding + it's something fun to do with people you love.
You can get SO creative! You can make homemade kale chips with an at home dehydrator, you can make lentil soup in a crock pot, you can make almond milk with a blender... and you can do it all ZERO-WASTE! Save the carton, the plastic bag, the aluminum can, and make it from scratch with your own twist.
So, my point is, this will be the new Isa. This is the Isa that I am striving to be. But, for me, it starts with baby steps. No more plastic water bottles. Next? No more plastic straws. Next? Anything I can buy in bulk (nuts, soup ingredients, leafy greens) I'll bring my own reusable bag and store them in glass jars when I get home. After that? I'll make my own damn kale chips. And almond milk. And sprouted bread. And 5 story mansion with a marble stair case and panoramic views. Ok, maybe too far.
The good thing is, I do have faith that the world is moving in the same zero-waste direction. You just have to do your research. Spend some time Googling "zero-waste potato chips" or whatever your favorite item is that you can't imagine giving up, growing, and making yourself. Maybe coffee? Coffee is a good start.
My family and I have been addicted to this coffee called Biodynamic Coffee, which is this premium small-batch coffee packed in 100% compostable packaging. Like what?! How amazing is it to be alive in 2019?! Although, I don't see why we didn't create compostable packaging for all products to begin with. Where the heck did big manufacturing go wrong? Ok, sorry, tangent. Back to it.
Biodynamic Coffee is awesome because of the 100% compostable packaging, but also because they use sustainable & regenerative (biodynamic) farming methods when growing their coffee beans by supporting the soil's microbiology and making sure they improve the natural environment by putting more into the land than is taken out of it. Basically, find you a Biodynamic Coffee the way I found me a Biodynamic Coffee ;)
As always, feel free to email or direct message me with questions, recommendations or comments.
Love & light,