The Struggle is Real

When I moved out I thought finally.

Everything is within my power. Everything is within my control. I can kick this “zero-waste” thing into high gear.

I soon found out:

A) food is expensive

B) life is inconvenient

C) zero-waste, even nearo-waste, is hard – mainly because of a and b

Here’s a brief glimpse into how four-months of living on my own (as in outside of my parents’ house because I have a roommate) has been, mostly in unorganized fashion with a bunch of bullet points and lists.

My main areas of waste, especially non-recyclable plastic waste, are:

  • Cheese
  • Grapes/berries
  • Taco chips
  • Bread/buns/tortillas
  • Various food packaging (like granola bars, frozen pizzas and instant oatmeal)
  • Facial tissues and toilet paper
  • Take-away cups – I do my best, but they happen

A few frustrations:

  • Shopping at Bulk Barn is expensive, especially when it comes to purchasing nuts and dried fruit
  • I still have a million old bottles of lotion, shower gel and body sprays to get through
  • Deodorant

Over the past three months I’ve had to decide what being sustainable means to me. Basically, what I can and cannot live with. With my current financial status and with Ottawa not being a city with the most temperate climate, I am limited in my food choices, where I buy them, and as such, the containers they come in. I try to avoid single-use plastic but it happens and I will not wallow in guilt. I will make the smart and conscious option where possible and understand that life happens.

Maybe this attitude isn’t good enough for some people. But I know that I’ve already reduced my waste substantially. I accept where I am for now.

Key words being: for now.

This is a journey and I don’t intend to give up. I’m going to continue to forge ahead and make changes where and when I can.

Before I go, here are some wins from the past few months:

  • Thrift shopping – I’ve gotten some really fabulous “new” clothes
  • Eating/cooking vegetarian* – sometimes it would be much easier and involve a lot less planning if I would just buy and cook meat, but I enjoy the challenge and I know that this is probably one of the best changes I’ve made. To be totally transparent, I have bought meat once since moving out. I was craving it all day and could barely think about anything else
  • Drinking from actual mugs at Starbucks – that last two times I have gone I’ve made it very clear that I would like my coffee in a mug and usually the baristas have no problem doing so. I only feel the need to say this because the first time I tried to get my coffee in a mug, they put it in a take-away cup

    Filbert – he’s not technically my win but I love him. Filbert is a vertical farm in my work’s basement. I’ve been documenting his growth on the company twitter (and my instagram). Even though he’s not mine and I am 0% involved in his upkeep, I love him dearly. That’s Filbert in the feature image ^

*I believe I’ve said this before, but just to make sure it’s ultra-clear – I’m not a full vegetarian. I still eat meat when it’s served or at restaurants but I no longer buy it or cook with it.

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