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


  1. I've always been a bit on the "Flower Child" side. When I was in high school in the 70's, I belonged to the Ecology Club. That was way before recycling hit its stride. I just try to improve on my conservation each year, and work toward less impact on Mother Earth every day. So glad to have found you and your blog. We are kindred spirits.

    1. Yes we are! Baby steps everyday to live a better, less harmful life. :)

  2. Wow I had no idea plastic bags werr banned in Hawaii . What bothers me the most is that you can't just put them in the recycling bin. Some stores will take them back but some don't and the local dump my husband and I go too will not let you recycle them bc they clog the machines. That's in CT. The law is the same in VT as well bc it clogs up the machines. I wish they would make it easier to recycle them or ban them like Hawaii!

    1. They are banned in California too and a smattering of cities around the US too. But yes, it is a hassle that they can't be put in the regular recycling bin. I'll admit I'm the worst about returning them to the store. They disappear so apparently Hubby is better about it. Since carrying a reusable bag the amount I have to deal with has gone way down.