Well here we are! March marks our 3 year anniversary in the Green Cottage and the beginning of our transition to a zero waste lifestyle. And I’m happy to say, we’re still married!
No but really, no one warns you about the realities of a zero waste lifestyle, the fights over recycling, so I’m going to give it to you straight. I’m going to lay out what works and what we’ve stuck with after all these years, what we tried and abandoned, and what we haven’t been able to conquer.
Are we still zero waste?
Yes and no. We’re no longer able to invest as much time and resources reducing our waste as obsessively as before, but we are still committed to the cause.
When we started going zero waste we were making a lot more money. Not that you need a lot of money to go zero waste, but it certainly gave us more options. We could afford to buy from the bulk bins at Whole Foods or invest in long-lasting durables, for example.
Zero waste forced us to consume less and that gave us a lot of time. Maybe too much time. We started asking the big questions, like what am I doing with my life? Yea.
Hence the job changes. We found that the habits that we learned and investments that we made brought down our cost of living BIG TIME so we could afford to do more of what we wanted. We could make a living doing things we enjoy and creating sustainable products with minimal waste. We could give back to our community more and help people directly.
Our approach is now more holistic. Yes, we still try to create less waste, but we also don’t let the fear of producing waste deter us from making a bigger impact. I think of how much plastic body wash bottles I personally have avoided using by switching to bar soap. Then I think of how many bottles helped other people avoid because of all the soap I produce. A whole lot more!
What are we still doing?
Zero waste is like eating healthy. Sometimes we’re really good and sometimes, it’s pizza for a couple days straight. It’s called balance. But we always get back on the wagon.
The habits that have stuck around the longest are the ones that don’t take up too much time, which means they are easy to stick with even when things get really busy.
- Composting – we turn our pile maybe once a month
- Buying Less – You know how much time you save not shopping? I wrote a whole blog post about it.
Other things require an initial investment but don’t require hardly any ongoing maintenance.
- Using a bidet – can I just say, I’ll never go back to not having one. After installing it, you’ll cut your TP use by half
- Diva Cup – because you should be allowed to sleep in and not have to get out of bed when you’re on your period
- Switching to Renewable Energy – just sign up once and auto pay takes care of the rest
There’s also some habits I do, even though they more time because they’re cheaper and I now prefer the results.
- Canning – once a year in September, we have canning weekend where I can enough tomatoes and salsa to last us the year. We’re talking 50 effing pounds at least. I effing hate canning weekend, but I love my pretty pantry and not having to worry about canned goods all year, so I do it.
- Buying in Bulk – Seriously we save so much money buying in bulk. We buy spices, tea, grains, beans, nuts. Winco is bulk heaven, but it’s not close to our house so when we go, we stock up big time. Then I refill my huge jars, because pretty pantry is life.
- Line drying our clothes – in SoCal, this is an easy one because our weather is amazing year round. And it’s true what they say, your clothes last longer, look better and my husband doesn’t wear crop tops anymore since his shirts don’t shrink.
If you’re interested in more stories from the beginning of our zero waste journey, here’s some old blog posts I dug up and updated for you. We can roll our eyes together at how young and naive I was 🙂