Back to the Basics

How happy I was two days ago to touch back down on North American soil after spending two weeks in my hometown in Germany; though the trip was a whirlwind of wedding responsibilities and it felt like we were there for only a couple of days, it is always pleasant and comfortable to return home and return to the basics.

Throughout the trip I could point out and now list a hundred things that irked my zero-waste mindset, and I could probably rant on about how these things need to change, and how angry I am with myself for not pre-planning certain things to avoid waste, but I am not going to do that right now, for I am still in post-wedding bliss, and am going to, instead, focus on something positive.

Theme today: return to the basics.  Meaning…always remember where your initial inspiration for a lifestyle change came from.  We will hit highs and lows on this journey, and sometimes need a little motivation to remind ourselves why we’re doing this, and that it’s not about perfection.  Inge’s Facebook question popped up the other day: a poll on our ZW Bloggers Network page asking about our inspiration: what sparked the change?  A self-realization?  A documentary?  Bea Johnson or Lauren Singer?  A friend or family member?

What sparked my change?  My shout-out today goes to Wildsight and the Clean-Bin Project:

Though their blog hasn’t been updated in a while, it still holds great meaning to me.  In 2013 I was asked by a dear friend to join in a project with Wildsight BC (a non-profit environmental organization); the focus was waste reduction.  Through this great opportunity I was introduced to Jen and Grant, a couple from Vancouver, who took it upon themselves to reduce their household waste after realizing how much they accumulated on a bike trip down the Pacific coast.  They challenged themselves to not produce garbage for one whole year (Jen vs. Grant), and documented their challenges along the way.  Behold: The Clean-Bin Project!

The Clean-Bin Project Documentary
The Clean-Bin Project Documentary

Certain points of the documentary still resonate in my head; I still see the images and shocking facts of our wasteful world.  For example, the food waste industry, or the amount of waste produced by airlines every single day (or every hour), highlighted by Chris Jordan in his artwork.

This also introduced me to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and Midway island, where species of Albatross are dying because they think the micro-plastics that land there are food.  Chris Jordan created a short film, highlighting his observations.

It opened my eyes to the copious amounts of garbage that we produce, and that it can be very difficult to avoid, especially as our consumer-driven nature.  Jen and Grant also provided many resources to those who want to start on a similar path; recipes to DIY products, like laundry soap, or zero-waste friendly stores (these are all posted on their blog).  This, and other resources, especially posts from our Network, have been incredibly helpful on this journey.

There are many other things that inspired me for this journey, but Wildsight and the Clean-Bin Project really were the driving forces behind the spark.  So, thank you, Wildsight, for the opportunity and education, and thank you, Jen and Grant, for highlighting our wasteful society.  Make sure to check out their second documentary “Just Eat It: A food waste story”, which highlights our massive food waste industry.

What was your inspiration?  Share it here, share it on FB, just make sure you share it, and remind yourself of it from time to time.  We aren’t doing this to do it perfectly; we are doing this for the journey and for learning that there isn’t just one way of doing things.  Let’s get back to the basics!



  1. Thanks so much for writing this post. I think it is important for us to understand why each one of us started their Zero Waste Journey so that we can help others get on the same track!


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