Wondering how you can create a zero waste lifestyle with kids? Have you considered going zero waste but are worried because you have kids? Or are you overwhelmed at the idea of being green?
Zero waste is a new way of living, one which over 100 years ago would have been mostly common place but today has become lost in the tides of garbage, plastic and waste. Check out this article we wrote about the impact of plastic on our world to learn more. What is means to live zero waste is to live as best you can by reducing the amount of waste in your life.
Is zero waste really achievable?
Zero? Not in Western cultures and not in most cultures around the world. It is almost impossible in todays modern world to produce zero waste. I am certain there are tribes throughout the world who have achieve this goal but for the remainder of us living in small towns, cities, and large metropolis' it is just not possible to be 100% zero waste.
Does that mean we should stop trying?
Of course not! We should continue to do our best to eliminate as much waste as we can in our lives so that our planet can survive and so that all people can live peacefully and safely.
How do we do this?
By starting with small, actionable changes one at a time. If you try to do anything cold turkey in one fowl swoop it is always more challenging. By starting small and working away at your goals you will achieve them more easily. Tackling one green goal at a time will bring your closer to your ultimate goal of a greener, healthier and safer living.
How do we start?
This year our family has taken on a Green Goals project whereby each month we remove one item from our lifestyle that either we feel we use too much or we don't pay enough attention to. While our family is fairly green, we still have much room to improve! Everyone does.
Most of these goals will involve finding ways to rid your life of plastic. Plastic is a huge contributor to garbage and waste on our planet. The manufacturing, distribution, use of and finally disposal of plastic puts a massive burden on our planet. Which is why you will see various forms of plastic on our list.
During our own Green Goal journey we may exclude goals that perhaps you deem important - it may be because we already don't use those products or have found alternatives but we will have discussions along with way and throughout the year about these topics and ways in which you can reduce your load. For instance, reducing our usage of paper towels is incredibly important. While paper towels are not plastic, they are wrapped in plastic and come from trees - which are slowly disappearing on our planet. Luckily our family has been paper towel free for close to 10 years now so this is not a goal we are working on, but we will discuss ways to eliminate your use of paper towels if this is a goal for your family. This may be a goal you want to work on though so feel free to switch it with a goal that perhaps you are not ready to tackle yet or have already tackled.
Each month I will post a new Green Goal to share and I hope you will join us in creating a more sustainable and plastic free planet. Together we can share tips, ideas and thoughts about how to be successful with each particular goal.
You can either choose your own green goals to share or you can follow along with our green goals! Perhaps you have already solved one of our goals or it is not a problem for your family, what changes can you make instead?
For the month of January we have chosen Zero Plastic Straws. While we don't use plastic straws in our home, we do eat out frequently enough that I worry about all the straws we use in take out and dining out. We will be working our way towards finding solutions for plastic straws when we are out and about.
Perhaps you still use plastic straws at home. If that is the case, no problem! Start finding ways to reduce your usage of straws altogether. Consider reusable stainless steel or silicon straws for home and for out and about (keep a straw in your purse). Can you just avoid using a straw all together? Does your smoothie or drink really need a straw?
Our strategy for conquering straws in take out and restaurants will be to ask the waiter/server/preparer to not include a straw with our order. "Keep the straw please". "No straws please". "We don't need a straw with our drink". This will be challenging at first because I have rarely done this; therefore, my brain is not yet conditioned. However, I know that after I do this several times it will become easier for me and more natural. By the end of the month it will be habitual and hopefully I will be able to continue this practice into the future!
What if I make a mistake? What if I forget?
Don't worry about it! We are human and we are bound to make mistakes (many along the way). Move on and move forward. Next time start fresh and do your best to move forward on your path.
If you are the type of person that likes to keep track of things because it motivates you. How about making a checklist of all the times you save a straw! At the end of the month you can add up all your checkmarks and give yourself a big pat on the back for your accomplishments. How many straws did you save this month?
What if your partner or other family members don't want to participate?
No biggie! You can't force other people to change their behavior. All you can do is do your part. You can't keep using others as your excuse for change. Change yourself and hopefully others will follow your lead. If are you are the sole purchaser for your family, you can stop buying straws and if your partner wants straws they will now have to go out of their way to buy them. That may be enough of a deterrent to change their patterns too.
Will other people think I am weird?
Maybe, but who cares? The more of us that ask for these changes, the more likely we will see larger change as a community. Change happens one person at a time and you can't be afraid to make change for fear of what others think.
What happens after the month is finished?
Hopefully the change you have made during that month has become habitual and you can continue using your strategies to avoid those items. There will be times where it may be unavoidable, but the goal is to eliminate all these items from your life so that you can have a bigger impact on your life, your community and the planet at large.
Use hashtag #gogreen2018 to post your photos of your family going zerowaste!