I have always encouraged clients to re-use whatever they can when we renovate their homes. In this brand new kitchen, for example-- we re-used the existing cabinets, re-arranged them, painted them, and added new pulls. Voila! Less waste in the landfill, and huge cost savings for my client over purchasing new cabinets.
(btw... there will be more images of this house, including 'before and afters' in the coming weeks).
When it comes to my own household, I have also always thought of us as being pretty non-waste-y. We re-use what we can, buy our produce at our local farmstand, bring our re-usable market bags to the store, recycle our plastic, glass, and paper, compost our food waste-- and generally don't purchase a lot of stuff from big box stores. I have been pretty self-congratulatory about our household consumer to waste ratio!
Well-- not anymore.
My daughter, Isabel, has recently become a fan of Zero Waste Home guru, Bea Johnson (see her video introduction to her zero-waste lifestyle here) and MAN.... I have to admit that I am right there with her.
What Johnson points out is that even in a waste-conscious household like mine, we are still sending thousands of pounds of waste to the landfill each year. Food packaging alone-- think about the waste just from our coffee and tea drinking habits-- is a huge contributor to the giant islands of trash floating in our oceans and to the size of the landfills in our communities and around the globe. We recycle-- but in truth, increase in our plastic use (the US used 35,000,000,000 plastic water bottles in 2017), changes in global markets for plastic waste (look up China's Green Fence and National Sword initiatives to learn more), and, and the US not having great recycling infrastructure mean that most of what we send to the recycling center still ends up in the landfill.
So. We are making some changes around here.
It will not be easy-- creating systems of glass jars and cloth bags to purchase food in (cheese from the cheese counter, for example, and tea from the bulk section)-- will take time and effort and some money. We will have to change to making and using our own cosmetic and cleaning products. And we will have to change some of our eating habits (no more plastic bags of potato chips, for example), and we will definitely have to change how we spend our days (I wrote a note to myself earlier today to learn how to make yogurt this week!), but isn't our planet (and ultimately aren't we) worth it?
I think so. Time to take responsibility and get to it.