Zero Waste Choices I Make

As I mentioned in my last post, reducing our waste has always been a passion of mine. We are not perfect, we create rubbish. This especially happens when we are busy or stressed. Reducing waste requires more work. You have inspired me so much Ana Lucia (Track name Eco) who did an inspiring job creating very little waste when upgrading the PCT last year. I know I definitely don’t have the same self-discipline when hiking (skip city food if it comes with plastic trash!), but I thought there were things I could do before hiking to make a difference.

Toothbrushes and toothpaste

We switched to a bamboo toothbrush (cut for John, kids size for me) and filled up on toothpaste marks. We already use Bites toothpaste at home, so it makes it easy to fill. I love them after they’ve been wet and mushy, John loves them so much – so we each have our own tin. I’ve tried flossing and frankly it wasn’t my favourite. For long walks I’ll take gifted travel floss from the dentist at every visit.

energy boxes

We are very fortunate to live near a store that has bulk merchandise. I was able to use my own bags of dry goods like quinoa and TVP to use for meals. We were also able to get a variety of energy boxes to place our mail drops. It is a mixture of dried fruits, nuts or seeds in all different flavors. I even made a few bags of imitation Lara bar with dates and cashews. This is to try to avoid wrappings from granola bars and fruit skins.

Cnoc . Bottles

We switch from water bladders to water bottles to be just like all the other cool kids. But in fact, a water bladder makes it difficult to keep track of how much water you have and to refill it without emptying half your container. Most people use smart water bottles, but they have a shelf life and are meant to be discarded. Cnoc makes a bottle shaped like a smart water bottle, but it’s foldable and lasts longer. I reserve judgment on this though – we’ve had some disasters when we’re flush with them because they break down at inopportune times.

fertilizer bags

They have invested heavily in compostable bags to replace vacuum-sealed/frozen food bags. The diet that makes us happier is eating individual dinners that require the addition of boiling water. There is no bowl to clean and it is easy to save leftovers. (For me, John is more likely to eat his dinner, and his snacks while waiting for dinner, then dessert.) I bought the compostable green bags instead of the ziplocks (turns out they’re only compostable in commercial establishments – but I have to believe they’re still better than just regular plastic). For snacks, I bought a reusable bag that fits in my vanity package with “Feed Me!” dinosaur, and for everything else we used ziplocs that we’ve had for years. I also use hiker wallet instead of ziploc bag.

Drawstring tie-dyed shirt and hat

One way to be zero waste is often overlooked to reuse what you already have. The last time I toured the Colorado Trail, I had a pale pink sundress and a now faded light purple sun hat. You wanted a new shirt and hat because if you wear the same thing every day, you really want to like it. Instead, I turned it into a craft project and bought a bright pink polyester dye. Yes, there is now plastic bottle waste and I’m sure it won’t actually be recycled even though I put it in the recycled cycles. But for me, no waste is a permanent compromise while trying to keep waste minimization in mind. One craft project later and I now have a cute tie-dyed sundress and matching hat. And bras because I have an Ingram 1.

If everyone stopped thinking about the small changes they could make, a few would add to a world of difference.

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