Zero Waste

by Keitha Spears

 Photo by  Ben Neale

Photo by Ben Neale

Zero-Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills or incinerators. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.

I actively started researching the zero-waste movement about four years ago. My goal: do all of the zero waste things now to single handedly save the planet! As you can imagine, that didn’t work out so well. I was forcing myself to change 26 years’ worth of habits with a neat little tool called guilt. I was feeling like a failure every time I brought home a plastic bag or made a to-go order. IT WAS TOO MUCH. Thank goodness for the teachings of yoga (beyond asana) and my practice. 

Yoga reminded me that the goal is never perfection, but rather participation. It is a constant reminder to offer myself and others grace and compassion -- to know that in my deepest layer I am doing my best for all of the right reasons. t's taught me that we are all on our own journey of exploration and judgement has no place there. My practice in yoga reminds me daily to allow my environmental convictions to evolve and to unfold...and that forcing something is neither healthy, nor effective. It supports me in my vibrant awareness of an issue that is so dear to my soul.

REDUCE

  • Buy in Bulk: I know single use can be SUPER convenient, but it creates so much waste. When you can, utilize the bulk bins at your local grocery stores (it can be much cheaper too!)
  • Manage Bills Online: No more paper cluttering my mailbox and reducing my carbon footprint.
  • Got rid of paper towels: We bought bulk hand towels and we reuse, reuse, reuse.
  • Take composting classes: Fort Worth Botanic Garden offers Master Composting classes and they are wildly fascinating! To be honest -- I’ve never really used the compost (we have two bins at the house) on plants because I have the opposite of a green thumb -- not even cactus will survive under my supervision. But we are able to divert a large amount of waste (food scraps, toilet paper rolls, newspaper, tea bags, coffee grounds, etc.) from the landfill to our compost where it naturally breaks down and infuses our soil with love...ie. good bacteria, nutrients, etc. 
  • DIY Beauty: There are tons of blogs out there about beauty products you can make at home using many of the same ingredients you already have in your home. Sugar for exfoliation body scrubs. Oatmeal for washing your face. Coconut oil for deodorant. Honey for your hair. They can be as effective as store bought products, without the added plastic packaging. 

REUSE

  • Reusable Beverage Bottle + Reusable Straws: I haul my 40 oz. Hydroflask with me everywhere.
  • Reusable Bags + Produce Bags: I stock the vehicles with 4-5 reusable bags and I use them anytime I go shopping – not just for groceries. I also purchased some mesh produce bags…but when I forget them and have to use the plastic produce bags, I tell myself it is ok because now I don’t have to buy poop bags for my dogs!

RECYCLE

  • Recycling Rules! Get to know the rules for recycling in your city - what is accepted and what is not.

This is my current interpretation of ahimsa -- nonharming -- as it relates to mother earth and her inhabitants. It is my promise to leave her better than when I arrived and abundant for the next generation.