Posts Tagged 'zero waste ideas'

Zero Waste New Year’s Resolutions

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Today’s blog post was written by Education Manager, Emily!

The new year gives us a chance to set intentions for our lives. At the close of every December, I set goals for the coming year, write them on an index card (or recycled piece of paper!), and post them somewhere visible. Unlike more general New Year’s resolutions, I typically have success meeting my goals because I make them specific and review them regularly to keep focus.

As you’re looking ahead to 2017, consider setting goals to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. By doing so, you will reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill, become more sustainable, and minimize your carbon footprint. We’ve gathered a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Buy local. Find your local farmer’s market and shop there once a month. Shopping locally reduces fossil fuel-based transportation costs.

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  • Conduct a waste audit to see what you’re currently throwing away. Spend a week collecting your trash to understand what you’re throwing away. Then, select one disposable item you can replace with a reusable alternative. Some ideas: reusable produce bags, safety razors, handkerchiefs, chopsticks, stainless steel straws, beeswax wraps, and sandwich bags.
  • Be mindful of energy use. Start by selecting one appliance to unplug when not in use. Toasters, cell phone chargers, and fans are a great place to start. Or look into more sustainable energy options, like the SDG&E EcoChoice Program.
  • Reduce food waste. Learn how to properly store fresh produce to slow rotting.
  • Buy secondhand. Shop at a thrift store 3 times throughout the year.
  • Learn a new skill. Canning, gardening, and sewing are great skills for your zero waste journey. Or learn to do your own car maintenance or bicycle repair.
  • Shave two minutes off your shower time. Most shower heads have a flow of 2 gallons per minute. This minor adjustment will save four gallons per shower. If we make a very modest assumption that you shower once a week, that equates to 208 gallons saved over the course of the year. If you shower daily, that’s 1,460 gallons saved. For more ideas, check out The Hidden Water We Use by National Geographic.
  • Try one recipe a week using bulk items. Soups, grains, granola bars, and baked goods are great dishes for bulk success!
  • Plant an herb garden. You’ll only need to pick the amount you need per recipe instead of letting half a bunch of mint wilt in the back of the fridge. If you’re short on space, try a vertical garden.
  • Learn! Read an article a week about zero waste and sustainability, listen to podcasts, watch videos, find books, and get inspired by others.
  • Rethink your main mode of transportation. Research electric vehicles on the market. Even if you’re not currently in the market for a new vehicle, it’s useful to stay abreast of the current offerings so you can be a more informed consumer when the time comes.
  • Carpool. Carpool to one event or outing per month.
  • Plant native. Native plants require less water and maintenance. They also provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and other native wildlife.
  • Go vegetarian 3 days a week. Learn more about why with this YouTube video.

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  • Start composting. Check out our Classroom Composting lesson plan for basics about starting a vermicompost.
  • Reduce paper use. Assess any print publication subscriptions (or junk mail), and find one to eliminate. Once you’ve read past copies of the periodical, contact your local library, elementary school, or scouting group to see if they’re interested in using your old copies.
  • Attend a community cleanup. Not only will you be removing debris from our environment, but dedicating time to collect litter from the street will spur your motivation to reduce your reliance on single-use items. Subscribe to our Facebook events to stay up-to-date on our public cleanups!
  • Get outside. Hike, stargaze, bike, swim, camp and explore. The more you connect with the natural world, the more dedicated you will be to preserving it for generations to come.

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Staff Picks: Zero Waste Holiday Gifts

There’s no greater test to a zero waste lifestyle than holiday time! A zero waster strives to keep items they use out of the landfill but it can feel challenging to stick to your values with many holiday activities like gift giving. Though it can be tough, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to get creative, have a little fun and share with others how simple it is to incorporate zero waste practices any time of the year.

Need some ideas? Check out a few go-to zero waste and eco-friendly gifts from
I Love A Clean San Diego staff members:

Ex Libris Anonymous

Repurposed Book Journals – Emily
Our Education Manager, Emily, loves the handmade journals from Ex Libris Anonymous. She loves them so much, she gave me no choice but to include the Portland company in this post. If you’re a literary fan, you’ll fall in love with these interesting journals made from vintage books.

 

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Reusable Makeup Cotton Pads – Natalie
Reusable makeup pads are a great alternative to disposable cotton balls and cotton pads because they help eliminate the trash you produce on a daily basis with your beauty routine. More and more companies are selling them and they are quite durable (some boasting to last more than 1,000 washes!). Natalie, our Senior Director of Operations, likes the reusable cosmetic pads from Makeup Eraser. If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own like above. Check out this DIY Reusable Makeup Remover Pad.

 

Locally Roasted Coffee – Pia
I’m all about supporting local coffee roasters. You get better quality coffee AND support the local economy. Win-win! Many local roasters are willing to work with you to fill your own containers. I love Common Good Coffee in La Mesa. You can also get bulk local coffee from the OB People’s Market.

 

Sustainable Wood Earrings – Becca
Many jewelry companies use repurposed or sustainable items for their materials. Becca, our Education Specialist, couldn’t stop raving about her favorite earrings from Green Tree Jewelry. They are made in the US from sustainably harvested trees and utilize 90% recycled ear cards. Plus, they’re stylish too!

Need more zero waste gift inspiration? Check out our Zero Waste Gift Guide.


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