Zero Waste Week - Conclusions

1. Leaving the house leads to waste. I ended up with a cardboard carryout food container when I went out to breakfast with a friend, and straight carryout waste when Eric went to Steak 'N' Shake (don't ask - weak moment). And every time I bought anything anywhere, I ended up with something - at the very least, a receipt. 

2. Minimalism and reuse combined sometimes leads to conflict. If I truly want to avoid things like shopping bags, carryout containers for leftovers, etc., I need to carry more stuff with me. Right now, all I carry in my purse is my wallet, phone, small travel-size hair brush, a couple ponytail holders, lip gloss, eye drops, and some ibuprofen. It's easy enough to add a bag, but if I want to take my own leftovers containers, I either need to carry a larger bag or buy something collapsible. 

3. Frugal grocery shopping and zero waste likewise lead to conflict. At least right now they do. I've got a fairly frugal shopping routine figured out that doesn't take a lot of time, but it's not waste-free by a long shot. None of the stores near my house sell in bulk, so I haven't even checked prices on the things we buy. I'll have to do some research and see what I can come up with. 

4. Ordering over the internet leads to lots of waste. I can only reuse so much cardboard, and that's not very much, actually. 

5. Just thinking about waste can make a difference. I find I'm less likely to take something I don't need. And the more I get used to whatever I'm doing, the more I'm able to do. Small steps add up. 

Reusable sample cup! 

Reusable sample cup! 

6. Sample cups aren't necessary if you carry your own. My friend Margie gave me this little guy, which I'm carrying in my purse. She said she got it at the Dollar Store (6 for $1, maybe?). Certainly not expensive, and much more reusable than paper cups. 

7. Like many other things, it's difficult to make your spouse generate less waste. Eric did a good job for a while not bringing home plastic bags, but he returned this morning with one from Home Depot. With one thing inside the bag. 

Have you tried to reuse more? If you have, what have you learned? 

Week 2.1 Household - Zero Waste Week