How Our Zero Waste Week Went
By: Rebecca Alwine
You were all prepped and ready to go for Zero-Waste Week, right? We talked a bit about how to get ready for this week in this blog post and we also offered up some additional suggestions on how to go through life plastic-free. So, how did it go? Here’s our recap.
What Went Well
A suggestion to store things in glass containers that you empty during normal food preparation really stuck with me. I was able to do this several times. One example was when I emptied a large jam jar, washed it and then filled it with red beans I bought in bulk. I had these red beans already, but as I was filling the jar, I realized that I could bring this jar – and my other containers – to stores that sell items like this in bulk. Places like grocery stores or local co-ops. Then I can eliminate any single-use storage or packaging products!
Keeping paper out of my kitchen was the easiest part of zero-waste week for our family. We had already made the transition, so it feels like second nature. Cloth napkins, rags for cleaning countertops, and no plastic or paper products went in the trash for us this week!
I did, however, have to pack one “completely disposable” lunch for a kid going on a field trip. This was really hard for me! One of my tricks for this one, was to skip the drink and have them bring their regular water bottle with them. I also save brown paper bags from hardware store trips (because sometimes I forget my reusable tote) and use them for field trip lunches.
What We Need to Do Better Next Time
I knew this was going to be a challenge, mostly because of what little shopping I do, I have someone else do for me. But I was able to avoid a big shopping trip this week – thanks to buying in bulk where I don’t need bags and meal prepping in advance. There were a few plastic bags that came into the house, but they did not go in the trash can. We store them in the pantry and use them as trash bags. Although we’re looking at some other alternatives too.
I’m going to go ahead and say we failed at this step. As much as I wanted to buy a large container of goldfish crackers and divvy them up for school lunches and snacks. But I ran into two problems with that. One was that I didn’t have the time and the second was what was I going to put the new snack-sized servings in to? I don’t have enough reusable snack bags to pre-pack a week’s worth of lunches, and I didn’t want to buy plastic bags. So, I opted for a mix of single-serving snacks like granola bars and bulk buys like applesauce, which I could put in reusable containers.
Overall, we did really well with zero-waste week. It’s nearly impossible to have absolutely zero-waste in a family of five, but we have drastically cut back on the number of trips to the trash can this week. We’ll keep a lot of these practices in our regular routine and continue to find new ways to reduce our footprint as a family. How did your zero-waste week go? Tell us about it!
Rebecca Alwine is an army wife, mother of three, and lover of her adorable pirate dog. Over the past 12 years, she’s discovered she enjoys coffee, lifting weights, and most of the menial tasks of motherhood. Her days consist of CrossFit workouts, listening to audiobooks, and pretending to cook while her Instant Pot does all the work. Her motto: work smarter, not harder.