Mar 24, 2017

8 Things They Don't Tell You About Going Zero Waste


After your aha moment you are very motivated to do a trash audit and work toward reducing the amount of trash you create. Like all things it's shiny and new and great, but here are eight things that aren't usually advertised.

1. You will have plastic guilt.

I try to make good decisions and get the most environmentally friendly thing, but sometimes you just want to buy the hummus in the plastic container rather than make it. Hopefully you experience less guilt than I do, but it's there when I buy it and dispose of it.

2. People will look at you strangely.

You are doing something that most people don't so whether it is simply asking not to be served a straw or are bringing your own containers to the deli to have them filled, someone will give you a weird look or maybe even say a snarky comment.

3. There will be days you want to throw it all in.

We can't be perfect, so I say embrace those days or moments and then start over again the next day.

4. You will question everything.

I mean everything. I have stood looking at the dairy case trying to figure out the best way to buy milk. The tetrapak is paper, but we don't have recycling facilities around here so it will go to the landfill. Is that better than the plastic container? Cause the plastic container can be downcycled.

5. You will be disgusted by things that used to be normal.

All of a sudden you will start to see the amount of waste you used to create and it will make you sick to think about what you did and to see that people are still doing that today.

6. Your eating habits may change. 

To prevent packaging waste you will likely be seeking out other food options like buying from bulk food containers or farmer's markets. You will likely be eating less processed food because the more processed something is generally the more packaging it has.

7. You will realize that recycling is a help, but not the solution.

Recycling an item still uses resources and virgin materials, albeit maybe not as much as non-recycled products. However buying package free items will help to eliminate that altogether.

8. You will have an impact/influence on others.

That person standing next you in the grocery store may not have know that you can bring your own containers. Your co-workers may not have ever thought about not getting straws with their happy hour drinks. But you doing things and talking about them will help introduce people to the zero waste lifestyle.

What have you found out about going zero waste that you were surprised by?

Affiliate link, please see disclosures and privacy.
Pin for later

Mar 22, 2017

Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop 3/22/16

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable

A blog party focused on environmentally friendly practices: zero waste, recycling, gardening, homesteading, sustainability, living plastic free and upcycling.  It is live Wednesday at 12:00 am CST through Friday at 11:55 pm CST. 

The Host:

Katy writes at SkipTheBag about her experiences trying to minimize waste, avoiding plastic and homesteading with her garden and chickens. If you love her posts you can follow her here:





Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

Not sure what a blog hop is? Click here

The Rules:

  • Link up to 3 original blog posts relating to environmentally friendly practices. Posts can be zero waste, living plastic free, sustainability, less waste recipes, homesteading, upcycling or anything else to do with helping out the environment.
  • No links to stores or link parties. Giveaways are OK as long as they are accompanied with a post.
  • Please visit your fellow bloggers: they care about the environment just like you!
  • In addition to featuring the most visited blog, the "most social" person will be featured. It's hard to track, but use the hashtag #WasteLessWednesday when commenting on people's blogs and sharing posts on social media to qualify.
  • Posts will show in a random order.
  • By participating you give permission for any part of your post, including pictures, to be used for party promotion. Don't worry all credit will be given to the original source. You will also receive a weekly email reminder for Waste Less Wednesday. 

Features from Last Week:

Most social:

Link Up Below!


Mar 20, 2017

How To Do A Trash Audit


The average person creates 4.3 pounds of trash per day. That translates to 30 pounds a week and over a 1500 pounds of trash per year. The unfortunate part is that two-thirds of what is put in the trash can, like food, could be composted.

Are you doing better or worse than average? The best way to find out is by doing a trash audit.

What is a trash audit?

A trash audit is where you examine the trash you have created over a given period of time. It can be done daily, weekly or monthly. The contents are recorded, analyzed and weighed. The weighing is optional, but it can help you keep track objectively and see how you compare to the average of 4 pounds. 

Once you know what you are throwing away you analyze it to see if there are improvements that can be made. Are you throwing away recyclables or food that should be going to the compost pile?

Remember to include all trash cans, from the kitchen, bathroom, offices and other rooms of the house. Also if you want to be really thorough be sure to include trash from outside the home like while shopping, dining out, or working. Including trash outside of the kitchen can sometimes be more enlightening. For example I realized that I would recycle quite a bit in the kitchen, but was not recycling plastic bottles I used in the bathroom.

What to ask while analyzing the trash:


  • Can you recycle it? Check with your local recycling agency to see what they recycle. The contents vary by location. 
  • Can you compost it? If it is a food or paper product it can probably be composted. Some lucky areas have commercial composting facilities, but most of the time this means starting your own compost pile.
  • Can you get it with less packaging? Shopping at other locations may provide you with alternatives that have less waste.
  • Can you get it with recyclable packaging? Glass and metal are always best. Then comes paper, then plastic, then non-recyclable items. It's a little counter intuitive, but getting milk in a plastic container rather than those paper tetrapak containers might be a better option as recycling facilities for the tetrapak are less common. And remember plastic can pretty much just be downcycled
  • Can you make your own? Are you finding lots of packaging from processed food? Start making your own. Sometimes you'll find it is so easy to just make your own you'll wonder why you ever bought it in the first place. Or maybe your trash is filled with health and beauty products. You can find homemade alternatives to just about every makeup or beauty product. 
  • Can you get a reusable version? Are you finding that you dispose of a lot of a specific kind of product like straws or napkins? Purchase reusable ones that can be washed and used over and over.
  • Do you need that product at all? This probably should be the first question, but most people's gut reaction is "yes." So after analyzing the packaging you may be more willing to say "no." 

After analyzing the trash start to make some changes and implement those alternatives you found. Then repeat the audit after a few months to see how much things have changed and if there are any other changes you can make.

If you want to take things a step further than you can do a recycle audit. It works very similarly to the trash audit, but this time you analyze what you send to the recycle bin and see if you can find any package free alternatives there.

Have you done a trash audit? What did you find?


This contains affiliate links, see privacy and disclosures.
Pin for later

Mar 17, 2017

The Aha Moment of Zero Waste


Parking lots aren't usually the location for aha moments. You expect them in classrooms or presentations or during conversations, not while walking into the grocery store.

I think everyone who starts living a zero waste lifestyle has an aha moment. The point in time when the veil starts to be lifted and their eyes are opened to the amount of trash that is created personally and by society as a whole.

Mine started in the parking lot walking into the grocery store. I was passing cart after cart filled with groceries and plastic bags. As I entered the store I saw a row of cash registers filled with hundreds of plastic bags and people accepting them without thought. Now I'm sure this is a common sight throughout the US and the world, but for me it was a rude awakening. I was no longer in Hawaii!

Leaving Hawaii I experienced all sorts of culture shock. There was so much space, so few people, cold weather, inexpensive food, and plastic bags. The plastic bags was one I could do something about. While I was living in Hawaii Oahu pass its plastic bag ban. Each island had passed a plastic bag ban effectively making Hawaii the first state to ban plastic bags. By the time I moved back to Florida it had been 6 months since the law went into affect and a year since I basically had given up plastic bags.

So suddenly being surrounded by something I had barely seen for the past year was shocking to my system. I started researching about plastic bags and their impact.I found out that plastic bag bans are illegal in Florida so if something was going to change, it was going to be on the personal level. I then started reading about how all plastic has environmental and health impacts, so I wanted to reduce the amount of plastic our household consumed. That then lead me to the zero waste movement where the goal is to reduce all waste whether it is plastic, recyclable or compostable.

I think my path is similar to that which most people go on. They are busy living their lives when BAM! Suddenly they are confronted with something that doesn't jive with them. Maybe it's being introduced first hand to the ill effects of all the packaging or maybe they see someone doing something radical which opens their eyes.

Either way they start looking at how they do things and seek for options that produce less waste. They have their aha moment and are motivated to change.

What was your ah-ha moment?


Shared on Home MattersPretty PintasticShare The WealthHealthy Happy Green NaturalHomesteader HopHomestead HopWaste Less Wednesday

Mar 15, 2017

Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop 3/15/17

Blog Hop Zero waste plastic free less waste sustainable

A blog party focused on environmentally friendly practices: zero waste, recycling, gardening, homesteading, sustainability, living plastic free and upcycling.  It is live Wednesday at 12:00 am CST through Friday at 11:55 pm CST. 

The Host:

Katy writes at SkipTheBag about her experiences trying to minimize waste, avoiding plastic and homesteading with her garden and chickens. If you love her posts you can follow her here:





Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML

Not sure what a blog hop is? Click here

The Rules:

  • Link up to 3 original blog posts relating to environmentally friendly practices. Posts can be zero waste, living plastic free, sustainability, less waste recipes, homesteading, upcycling or anything else to do with helping out the environment.
  • No links to stores or link parties. Giveaways are OK as long as they are accompanied with a post.
  • Please visit your fellow bloggers: they care about the environment just like you!
  • In addition to featuring the most visited blog, the "most social" person will be featured. It's hard to track, but use the hashtag #WasteLessWednesday when commenting on people's blogs and sharing posts on social media to qualify.
  • Posts will show in a random order.
  • By participating you give permission for any part of your post, including pictures, to be used for party promotion. Don't worry all credit will be given to the original source. You will also receive a weekly email reminder for Waste Less Wednesday. 

Features from Last Week:

Most social:


Link Up Below!