The zero in this post title is a little misleading. Less waste is probably more accurate but I aspire to be zero-waste one day soon. If you’ve never heard of zero-waste before check out Trash is for Tossers or Zero Waste Home for more info!
Last December I wrote a blog post about some transitions and changes I was trying to make toward my final zero-waste goal and I thought it would be nice to update you all on my progress. Here are a few things that we’ve improved on so far.
1. No more paper towels or paper napkins. My partner and I have completely cut out paper towels and paper napkins. We use rags and cloth napkins instead! We have designated rags for certain cleaning jobs. For example, the rags we use for pet messes are different from the ones we use to clean mirrors or wipe counters.
2. No more pads or tampons! This was a really exciting one for me. For years I’ve wanted to make the transition to a Ruby Cup but I was nervous and felt weird about it. Then I discovered FemmeHead and other amazing women promoting “period positivity’ and I made the transition in just days.
For lighter days or for extra back up I wear Thinx underwear and OH. MY. GOSH. these babies are revolutionary. They’re underwear that absorb your period- The top layer fights bacteria and absorbs any liquid into the über thin layer right beneath it, so you always stay dry. If you haven’t checked these out yet, do it ASAP. They’re the only underwear I wear now, even when I don’t have my period!
3. Vegan dog and cat food. While this may not seem directly related to zero-waste living, it is. Let me explain. You all know I eat a plant-based vegan diet but for a long time I was still buying organic dog food that contained meat. The meat industry today is not like it used to be. No longer do we have family farms where animals are cared for. We have factory farms where animals are abused, tortured, and neglected.
Here are a few realities of the farm factory industry from dosomething.org.
-About 10 billion land animals in the United States are raised for dairy, meat, and eggs each year.
-Factory farming accounts for 37% of methane (CH4) emissions, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of CO2.
-Manure can also contain traces of salt and heavy metals, which can end up in bodies of water and accumulate in the sediment, concentrating as they move up the food chain.
-When manure is repeatedly overapplied to farm land it causes dangerous levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the water supply. In such excessive amounts, nitrogen robs water of oxygen and destroys aquatic life.
-Burning fossil fuels to produce fertilizers for animal feed crops may emit 41 million metric tons of CO2 per year.
In short? The meat and dairy industries are killing our planet, killing people, and torturing and murdering animals. I could not in good conscience continue to feed my pets meat, but I also wanted them to be healthy and happy! I worked with my vet on this and found two amazing brands.
For dogs, V-dog food! “Our first commitment is to the health of pooches and we’ve certainly done our research. Dogs are omnivores and thrive on a nutritionally balanced plant-based food. Our second commitment is to minimize environmental degradation. With 80 million dogs in the US alone, a vegan dog, like a vegan human,leaves a much smaller paw print on our planet.”
For cats, Ami Vegan Cat Food! “The most comprehensive vegan cat kibble available, Ami Cat is produced with entirely natural ingredients and without slaughterhouse by-products, food dyes, GMO ingredients or artificial preservatives. Ami Cat is formulated to keep your cat in the best of health, improving their shape, hair, and muscular tone. Ami Cat is a complete and balanced food, enriched with Taurine, a vitally important nutrient for cats that must be included in their diet.”
If you’ve been wanting to transition your pets to a vegan diet but were wary of it try these two amazing options. Work with your vet to ensure that this is a safe option for your pet and keep in mind food allergies and sensitivities.
Overall, zero-waste living is about living a more sustainable, simple life. Having everyone in my household eat a vegan diet helps us, helps the planet, and keeps other animals from dying in horrible ways just to feed my cat- can I get an amen!?
4. Composting! We compost all of our food scraps now through a program in our city. Our local farmers market provides compostable bags that we fill up at home and bring to the farmers market. Just another one of the many reasons I love Harrisonburg. Check to see if you have a program like this near you! If not? You can always make a backyard compost or a bucket compost! (This is what we will do in the colder months when our city program isn’t running.)
So that’s it! I’m not zero-waste yet but I know one day I will be. I only use my Klean Kanteen reusable water bottle, I take my reusable bags everywhere, and I’m making small changes every day.
Remember that small change over time = BIG change.
Change can be scary and frustrating at first, but there is so much to gain. There is so much more good work to be done. Keep going.
Bonnie Rae xx