The smallest implication of a zero waste lifestyle is a wonderful thing in itself. It does not have to be an all-or-nothing experience, and any waste reduction, small or great, will encourage a cleaner, sustainable future for all of us. The simple act of trying to reduce what you throw away is a real eye-opening experience as most people have no idea how much they truly consume and throw away until they’re forced to find ways to reuse it. The mantra for this movement is to minimalize, reuse, buy less, eat clean, and avoid generating trash.
I’ve always been a huge fan of ‘upcycling’ and find it enjoyable to come up with creative uses for what some people might throw in the trash. For example, in a previous post for Earth Day, I wrote about how I upcycled animal feed bags and turned them into reusable shopping bags and beach bags. There is something so fun and satisfying about using creativity for the greater good, and the bags turned out to be super durable too.
The topic of zero waste is a vast one, and can include everything from zero waste cooking and minimalist living, to actual waste management. For a great beginner’s look at the topic and lifestyle, Treehugger has an article which compiles a great list of ten different zero waste bloggers to check out. For those who want to dive into the zero waste lifestyle, One Green Planet has an article with some easy ways to get started, like composting and buying second-hand, at 10 Ways to Adopt a Zero Waste Lifestyle. It is easier than you think, and you may already be practicing some of these things already, such as composting or bringing your own jars to buy bulk food items.
A simple way to cut down on plastic waste is to eliminate the use of plastic bags and plastic wrap to cover and store food. I like to use my bee’s wax wraps to cover bowls and veggies frequently, but was looking for alternatives so that I could switch things up as the wraps are not always practical. Since I love searching through the scrap basket for cute patterns (fat-quarters) at the local fabric store, and often have a pile of my own fabric scraps at home, I thought I’d give these fabric bowl covers a try. I’m so glad that I did, because I’ve been making a ton of them, and I’m absolutely adoring them. My inspiration for making these came from a great site called, Hearth & Vine, and it has a nice tutorial that is easy for beginners to follow.
Some of these bowl covers I had made as gifts and they’re so darn perfect for the eco-friendly people in your life. They are easy to take outdoors for picnics, and I use them to cover bowls of snacks or fruit to keep out flies and gnats. You can toss them in the washer when they get too dirty or you can hand wash them in the sink and hang to dry. They look nice as a set, and so I like to make three different size bowl covers with similar themed colors and patterns to give away for a gift. The possibilities for sizes and colors are endless. It was an easy project to get the hang-of after making a few, and next time, I want to experiment with other shapes and sizes, like a cover for a stand mixer, or blender. The quest will always continue for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle what I have around me and to avoid consuming more than I need.