I no longer own a trashcan... and I'm slightly terrified. The convenience of throwing something away, hauling it to the curb once a week, and never seeing it again is over. Many articles about waste-free living along with getting tired of cleaning bits and pieces of trash from my car and house has inspired me to begin a waste-free experiment for the next month. And no, I didn't choose February because it's the shortest month (as my boyfriend pointed out to me), but because I have spent January researching and preparing my life for this dramatic lifestyle switch. Inspired by Bea Johnson, who wrote "Zero Waste Home", which has been my holy bible this last month, I've decided to reduce my waste as much as possible, so much that a trashcan will become obsolete.
In order for this experiment to work I had to set some guidelines and defined what waste truly meant to me. For the sake of my sanity, I decided to define waste in terms of landfill waste. As much as I wish I didn't have to drive and burn gasoline, my decision to live in paradise and commute to Gunnison for school has its consequences. Landfill waste is much more easier to measure and keep track of. Instead of throwing things away, I now have to find alternatives to things I have taken for granted. I have also decided to include plastic-free in my terms of waste, because plastic truly is swallowing up the planet. Being waste-free might seem simple at first, because I could just stick to stuff that can be recycled. But to me that seemed like cheating. Recycling still takes enormous amount of energy and it forgoes the number rule of my experiment: REFUSE. Reduce, reuse, and recycle just got two new cousins: Refuse and Rot. Refuse should always come first. I have to ask myself every time I'm about to do something; do I really need this? Sure I can recycle the cans of beans and sodas, but is that really reducing my consumption? I have to refuse the things that are cluttering up my life. Refuse is the first R that make the next four easier and more manageable.
I know I said I'm doing this project for the month of February, but February will be my trial run. It will be the month where i learn what works and what doesn't and what I can do to tweak it for later months. Anyone can be waste free for a month if they want to be miserable as well. I want this experiment to be sustainable and fun. Stay tuned for more pictures and my next blog on the two most wasteful areas of the home; the kitchen and the bathroom.