The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Zero Waste

Posted 11/19/20 by Jozlyn H

I first discovered the “Zero Waste Life” lifestyle on Instagram a few years ago when a sponsored post appeared on my feed. “How a whole year of garbage fits in one mason jar,” or something like that. I thought it was crazy, but it turns out the author had some amazing insight about consumerism and how it effects our environment. Since then, I have done what most librarians love to do best – read and research the topic. I have implemented small changes in my household over two years and am pleased to say that I have started down a path that will benefit the earth. Will my small household changes save the world? Perhaps not. But I do know that I can share my story with you, and you may adapt some changes. Then you could share your story with your friends, and it could create a domino effect over time. It is not feasible to ask ourselves to become waste free all at once. Any major change like that is stressful and doesn’t usually stick. Gradually incorporate these things into your lifestyle to determine what works for you and your family. What are some things you can do to begin your environmentally healthier lifestyle?

The first thing you can do is to check out one of these books.

Cover of An (almost) Zero Waste Life

An (almost) Zero Waste Life

Cover of Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash

Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash

Cover of The Modern Organic Home

The Modern Organic Home

Cover of The Simple Living Handbook

The Simple Living Handbook

hoopla   |   Overdrive
Cover of Material Value

Material Value

Cover of Project 333

Project 333

Cover of 101 Ways to Turn Your Business Green

101 Ways to Turn Your Business Green

Cover of The Year of Less

The Year of Less

Cover of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

Cover of The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing away less

The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing away less

Cover of The Joy of Less

The Joy of Less

Cover of The Minimalist Home

The Minimalist Home

Why did I choose minimalism books? Don’t worry, you don’t have to become a minimalist. The take-away from these minimalist books is really to understand what you own and shows how minimalists really think about a product before they buy it. Before I read a few minimalist books, I would just buy something because I thought it was pretty or thought I wanted it. Now, I purchase much less because I realize what the lifespan of that item would have in my home ebefore it would be in the landfill (boo!)

The next thing you can do is adapt small changes in your household. Here are a few things I have slowly begun to make my lifestyle and home more friendly to our environment.

  • Try not to buy disposable cutlery, cups, or plates. If I have company, I will suffer through washing all the dishes afterward instead of the “easy” toss it in the waste bin clean up.
  • Buy eco-friendly detergents. Detergents that are plant-based and biodegradable are less harmful to water creatures! Save the fish! (All your gray water will eventually run off into streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.) I don’t do this for ALL of my cleaners, but I try to if I can and it the price difference is not astronomical.
  • Normalize outfit repeating! You really don’t need 30+ different outfits and shoes. I swap through about 10 total. This fall, you will probably see me in a tiger striped sweater, green shirt, and a black long sleeve shirt with a furry vest. Those are my favorite tops. I will wear them again and again because they are cute and I do not need to buy new clothing all the time. If this confuses you, read Project 33 This is where I learned how to sort of “capsulate” my wardrobe.
  • Go to the butcher counter instead of the coolers. They will use a small bit of plastic, then wrap your meat in paper. This skips the foam holder, juice absorber, and a lot of plastic wrap.
  • Skip the straw!
  • Find a K-Cup that is compostable! I have tried numerous brands and the coffee is fantastic! K-Cups are the bane of my eco-friendly heart.

If you are interested in making these changes, any of these great books will help get you started. Don’t feel overwhelmed and feel like you need to fit a year’s worth of garbage into a mason jar. And speaking of trash, recycling items does not count as your “garbage” for the year. Once you become an avid recycler, you might even completely wash all of your plastics before sending them to the facility.

*Sideways look*, I may or may not be doing that.

Keep Calm and Reduce Waste!