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  • Lisa Ruman

Is the zero waste movement a waste of time?

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

I recently read the book Zero Waste by Bea Johnson and heard her on a podcast. She makes it sound so easy, but really, I have four young kids, a dog, and a husband who loves Costo. How in the world? Yet, I just love this concept, simple easy living, with your eyes off “stuff” and your heart toward experiencing life with those you love. Yet, who can get excited about wiping their rear end with old matchless socks (no bidet here)?


So let's give it a go people, by starting small. This is how I approach almost everything and it builds great momentum.


No more paper napkins.


I found a table cloth that I never used, probably bought the wrong size, but who knows, one of those things you buy and it sits in a tidy bin for 5 years. It was a nice brown sturdy linen. So when COVID hit, I thought, learning opportunity kids! We laid it out and started cutting into napkin size pieces. Next, we took the sewing machine and finished off the edges. Now I have over 10 reusable cloth napkins. I was a bit worried this would turn into a huge chore with washing (flashback to cloth diapers, ugh). I toss them into a laundry basket and they go in with towels, sheets, socks, and the like. On a scale of 1-5 for ease, I would rate these a 4.75. On the cost scale, they rank a 1 for cheap.


No more paper towel.

It has been months now since we have owned a roll of paper towel, and we haven’t missed a beat. We have a drawer full of dish towels we use for spills and drying dishes. I keep up on the laundry by washing towels ( and hello cloth napkins) only once a week.


One thing that did stump me is bacon grease. We do love our bacon. How in the world will I clean the griddle (I don’t want to wash grease into the drain if I can help it) and what do I set my bacon on to absorb the grease after cooking? Solution! Scrape the pan well with a spatula, that will get most of the grease off the pan, even better than wiping with a napkin. And for the bacon, use a dedicated grease towel (lint-free napkin again). I washed it after in my Seventh Generation laundry soap with some extra vinegar and couldn’t even tell it was used to suck up all the grease.


My next venture is plastic bags (I'm almost there with plastic wrap). I like to prep smoothies and meals for the week and store in the freezer (just knocked out 10 bags for my veggie smoothies, such a great time hack). Yet, the glass containers take up too much space. Plastic bags are currently re-used over and over and over… in our house so that does help, but not long term. Stay tuned and I will let you know what we come up with!


Here at RW, we journey together. Comment below with questions or tricks you rock to cut back waste.


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