Revisiting a Low-Waste/Zero-Waste/Plastic-Free Lifestyle

I am a firm believer that environmental health is an incredibly important part of both physical and mental/emotional health. Whether that means the environmental health of caring for our planet (we only have one !!! and the effects of environmental degradation disproportionately affects those living in low income neighborhoods who often already have to deal with decreased safety and comfort of their home and neighborhood environments) or the environmental health of the places we spend a majority of our time: how comfortable and safe is our home, how comfortable are we in our workplace, how much are we able to get outside and enjoy nature, how safe is our neighborhood?

Having positive and safe environments for a majority of our time is a HUGE privilege. As is having the time and energy to think about how to care for our planet. So today I wanted to revisit ideas from some past posts I’ve done about environmental health as a reminder to myself and a call to action for you! 

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My first trip for trash (have been once for recycling) since being in my new place: I’m kind of proud of the fact that it’s taken me over a month to produce this much trash but also want to work on making it take 2-3 months before I need to take trash. I reallyyy want to work on it taking me muchhh longer than it currently does to produce enough plastic to need to recycle that (especially because the Ivy facility doesn’t do plastic, so I have to drive to McIntire on my way to work) —currently about 1 month. Right now the two biggest things that produce waste in my life are cardboard from online shopping and plastic from frozen or prepared convenience foods. An absolute game changer for me has been my compost bin at my new place. If you don’t have room for a compost bin yourself, keep a box in your freezer to collect waste & find a service in your area that will accept this (The Ivy area center has an area for compost & there are often local organizations that also offer this service)! This is just my check in for accountability to keep myself actively working to produce less waste and use less plastic, as well as a reminder for you to do the same. We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, just millions doing it imperfectly. ♻️???????? Also sorry for the ~garbage~ aesthetics of this post ????????????????‍♀️????????‍♀️

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Today was my first trip for trash (have been once for recycling) since being in my new place:

  1. I’m kind of proud of the fact that it’s taken me over a month to produce this much trash but also want to work on making it take 2-3 months before I need to take trash. 
  2. I reallyyy want to work on it taking me muchhh longer than it currently does to produce enough plastic to need to recycle that (especially because the Ivy facility doesn’t do plastic, so I have to drive to McIntire on my way to work) —currently about 1 month. 

Currently my waste disposal and recycling practices consist of the following: I am composting my own compost at my house, collecting trash until I have a 32 gallon bags that I can take to the Ivy plant, and sorting recycling into different materials and taking a majority to the Ivy plant and then driving my plastics to McIntire.

Right now the two biggest things that produce waste in my life are cardboard from online shopping and plastic from frozen or prepared convenience foods. 

A little more about how my practices have changed over the years since moving to a single family home to alone after living in apartments or townhomes (mostly with roommates minus 6 months or so solo) for 7+ years after moving out of my childhood home:

When I was in college and on campus they had single stream recycling and separate trash. When I moved off-campus, the building I was living in did not have recycling services, so I would take my trash to their dumpster and then drive my recycling on campus for the single stream recycling there.

The apartment building I lived in in grad school had single stream recycling and separate trash again, so I would dispose of my waste there.

The first neighborhood I lived in in Charlottesville had single stream everything all in one.

Now that all of those conveniences are gone I decided that instead of getting a trash service that would make everything single stream that I was going back to doing things this way to save a little bit of money and get really in touch with how much waste  I was actually producing as a single person household; I’m back to dealing with this the way I did it in my childhood: sorting recycling into different materials: plastic, cardboard, glass bottles, metal cans, etc. and taking it to recycling center. 

An absolute game changer for me has been my compost bin at my new place. If you don’t have room for a compost bin yourself, keep a box in your freezer to collect waste & find a service in your area that will accept this (The Ivy area center has an area for compost & there are often local organizations that also offer this service)!

This is just my check in for accountability to keep myself actively working to produce less waste and use less plastic, as well as a reminder for you to do the same. 

One final reminder:

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We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. I wrote that in a blog post about environmental guilt syndrome (EGS) a few months ago and have seen images of it in my feed every day since! I love them. Thank you to all who have shared my quote. This amazing community sign comes from @manuelbergmann. . Also in the image: @laurafromthedesert @tobikoz @skygrey_pinkwella @abdkmlsyh @oceanic.elizabeth @7vensuns @hannahwasserfest @plantpoweredtravel @kay_ska @solli_raphael @feellife @laurainwaterland @noeldio @alicia_annisa @semisustainableman . Link in profile for the blog post on EGS and how to cope. . #signofchange #progressnotperfection #zerowaste #zerowasteliving #zerowastelifestyle #plasticfree #plasticfreeliving #lowimpact #sustainableliving #intentionalliving #waronwaste #ecoliving #ecofriendly #sustainability

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Remember to love your bodies and your planet, lovelies! 

-EPB

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About Ellen

Every body is a good body, and my goal is to help you feel your best!