Zero-Waste: self-interpretation

The internet is a beautiful tool that helps connect people from all over the globe with similar goals and interests.  Through Pinterest and Blog sites I have been able to gain so much knowledge from other individuals who are following this movement of Zero-Waste.  What I have also come to notice is that there is a certain self-interpretation that comes along with this topic.  If you Google “Zero-Waste”, it reads: Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused (Wikipedia).  There is space for people to make what they want of this redesign with their own creativity and their own goals.

Zero-Waste to me has been refusing what I don’t need, taking steps to reduce the amount of household garbage I produce, reusing household items to prolong their life (if not for their original purpose), and to find alternatives to packaged goods.

Waste, however, can mean plenty of different things, which has also led me to looking at my food and water waste.

Food waste is a global problem.  The Vancouver couple who created “The Clean Bin Project”, released their second documentary last year entitled, “Just Eat It – A food waste story”, which gives viewers a taste of the wasteful food industry, especially in North America.  It takes you through the cycles of farm to supermarket, and a bit undercover to see just how much food is being wasted.  This was a real eye opener because our system seems like it condones this kind of waste.  It hurts me to think how many individuals aren’t getting adequate food or nutrition and meanwhile our industry wastes 40% of all grown food just because a banana doesn’t have the correct curvature to be “attractive” to the consumer.  Think of all the resources (water, soil, energy) that go into growing our food… and then think of just throwing it away.

What I can control is the food that I waste in my home.  Some people have created a space/drawer in their refrigerator labeled “EAT ME FIRST”; I’m sure this visual can help a lot of people keep track.  It is important to take an inventory of your fridge just to see what you even have, and when certain items will spoil.  What I have also done is take care when I am AT the store to make sure I don’t purchase more than I need: this is surely going to lead to waste.

Let’s talk about water waste, too.  Most people have witnessed or been made aware of the horrible drought that is occurring in California.  Here in Canada there are droughts affecting many farmers across the country, and many individuals in wildfire-prone provinces, like our Beautiful British Columbia.  Currently we have over 200 wildfires burning across the province that has decimated over 200 000 hectares since the beginning of the year.  It is dry, it is hot, and any drop of water I can save can help; after all, my plants need to eat too.  Lawn watering is overrated, so I have never really done that anyway, which is more than I can say for my neighbours who seem to water the street and driveway more than their actual lawn.  Other steps I have taken to save water, which have not affected my comfort in any way: shorter showers, less hair washing, a bin in the sink to collect water from rinsing to use for indoor plants and rinsing dishes, and setting up big buckets outside to catch the rainwater.  Unfortunately, the toilet in this house is not a water-saving toilet.  What’s that wonderful saying though, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”

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