Episode three of our zero waste stories already. Time really flies this month!
We’re halfway through plasticfreejuly. If you’ve made it this far, it would be a shame to give up now! To help and keep you inspired, we’ve got another zero waste story today!
This time, Megean from Zero Waste Nerd shares with us how she has discovered the share amount of waste we has humanity produce and how it has touched her.
Hope you liked Bianca’s story from last week story. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet!
All photography rights belong to Megean Weldon. Here’s what Megean has to share about her zero waste adventures:
Hi, my name is Megean Weldon and I’m the blogger behind Zero Waste Nerd, a sustainable living website I’ve devoted to showing others how I live without creating any waste along with simple and practical ways to eat better, live healthier, and regain some sanity in the process.
I decided to introduce Zero Waste practices into my life about 3 years ago. It was on Earth Day. My husband and I have always considered ourselves environmentalists and Earth Day was a great way for us to commemorate how we truly believed.
One year we planted fruit trees, another year we installed a compost bin, the year after that we installed rain barrels, and on Earth Day 2015 we decided to do a neighborhood trash pickup.
We grabbed our plastic trash bags “ironic” and set off for what we thought would be an enjoyable stroll around the block with our puppies. A walk that typically took us around 30 minutes took us nearly 2 hours of picking up so much trash we could hardly carry it all back home. It was depressing. It angered me to the point I was cursing humanity. How could people be so wasteful?
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized something pretty powerful. When I went to toss that trash into our bin I noticed right away that it wouldn’t fit. Our trash bin was filled to the brim of our own garbage of just two people. Here I was angered at these strangers for being wasteful when I was just as wasteful. Yes, our trash was contained but doesn’t it all end up in the same place? I was a hypocrite. Was I truly an environmentalist?
I knew I needed to make some changes. I needed to figure out ways to reduce the waste I created and truly feel like my values aligned with my own actions. I was obsessed with this idea and what do I do when I get obsessed with anything? I Google.
To my happy surprise I was able to find a few resources and families who lived without creating any trash at all. At first, I thought it was complete bunk but quickly realized that maybe it was possible after all.
Slowly, we started incorporating small changes like carrying reusable grocery bags and bringing our own water bottles and lunches to work. We moved on to changing how we ate by adding more plants into our diet and removing the packaged junk. Over time we started rethinking our consumption and put a little more thought into how we acquired stuff.
We started borrowing and buying secondhand, we started buying local food from the farmer’s market, and we started to learn how our every day actions impacted the planet. It was a long process yes, but for the most part, it has changed our lives for the better. We feel more connected than we ever have.
And this is not to say we haven’t had our challenges. Cutting out all of the waste you produce is extremely difficult if not impossible. We just don’t live in a society where products are designed with a circular model in mind. Most things are designed to end up in a dump. Always being able to find things package or even plastic free can be a real struggle too, depending on access.
For me, it’s easy to quickly get frustrated and discouraged but I have to remind myself that the best is all any of us can do. And all of those small changes we make are going to add up, powerfully.
If you are interested in starting this journey please take my advice. Go slow, and be easy on yourself. Habits don’t happen overnight. Take one or two things to change, master that, then move on to the next area. This will set yourself up for true success.