Friday, 26 August 2011

Going Zero Waste

I first discovered Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home Blog by randomly googling environmental issues.  I ended up spending all night reading post after post and becoming more and more informed and inspired.  For one thing, I had never heard of the concept of "Zero Waste," a fact which really surprises me today because, having read about and researched the idea, it seems like an incredibly worthy lifestyle endeavour. 

The Zero Waste Home concept is exactly what it sounds like: attempting to produce zero or as little waste as possible in your home.  In her blog, Bea attests to how undertaking this new lifestyle has been a freeing and rewarding experience, despite its challenges.  I have decided that this is a lifestyle change that I want to adopt.  When I move back into my condo in September (I've been living with my parents for the past month since my return from Stratford) I will try, slowly but surely, to change my 21st consumer habits with the ultimate goal of becoming waste free. 

For this goal to be a success, I will also have to enlist in the support of my roommates, who already seem to approve of one of my first steps towards moving Waste Free.  Last month, I spoke with my roommates about using a countertop kitchen composter in our house and they immediately approved - without me even having to explain why (I'm happy my roomies like to try to live green, too).  Lots of our waste originates in the kitchen and a lot of it is organic (i.e. food) waste.  An easy and pretty inexpensive way to reduce the amount of waste created in the home is composting!  Composting units are carried in most hardware stores, such as Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, etc.  There are even smaller sized units for apartment-dwellers.  I live in a condo without much space to call a yard, so a small countertop option is great.

I haven't yet purchased it, but I intend to buy the Natura Stainless Steel Composter from Home Hardware. I prefer to purchase this product over others I have seen advertised because its larger volume would be more efficient for a household of 5 adults making their own meals, and also because it is made of stainless steel.  Stainless steel is a better option than plastic composters because plastic is a one-time recyclable.  While recycling plastic is better than throwing it in the trash, glass jars and containers (which can be recycled many times) and stainless steel are better kinds of receptacles and containers in general.

You might be wondering what I intend to do with a bunch of compost which I cannot use at my condo.  Well, I have a few options.  First, I could bring the compost to my parents house and add the contents to our large yard composter.  I could also call up EnviroWestern at the University of Western Ontario and donate the compost to the G.R.O.W. project.  Or, I could offer it up on Freecycle, as I have see other Londoners do, so that people can take the compost from me and use it in their gardens.

I intend to post a review of the Natura composter once I have bought it and used it for a while. I also intend to blog a bit about some other ways in which I have already started to go Zero Waste and what I plan to do in future to acheive that goal.

In the mean time, I highly recommend reading Bea Johnson's blog, which offers a weath of information, strategies, tips, and most importantly, her success story!  I encourage everyone to check out Bea's blog and to be open to some of her suggestions.

Edit 29/08/2011: As of today, London council has elected to go ahead with the Green Bin program.  It will be initiated on October 1st 2011 and will take 2 years to reach completion.  I might be able, then, to put my compost in the green bin (if my condo receives one) and save the money on the countertop composter!

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