Speaking of black and white, I just read Bea Johnson's hot new book, The Zero Waste Home. Thanks to my friend Rachel, I have been following her blog for a few months and have been totally inspired. I have to say that the blog frightened me a little bit. In the first post that I read, she talked about freaking out on a camping trip when they had to buy a plastic jug of water. Little things like that made me wonder if this woman was totally immoderate, like in the way that makes everybody uncomfortable. But I was charmed by pictures of her wearing the same black oversize man's button-up shirt every day, all summer, in 40 or 50 different cute ways. So I kept reading, and I'm convinced. I want to adopt new ways at a natural pace, and the last thing I want to do is be weird about it or make anyone else feel bad, but count me in. Here are some very small steps I've taken since I started reading the blog, both to simplify my life and reduce my waste:
- Ripping up old t-shirts to make "paper towels"
- Remembering (more often) to bring a bag to the store
- Finding a store where I can buy bulk
- Signing up for dairy, egg, meat and produce shares with local farmers/friends from church
- Recycling more; donating lots of old stuff to the thrift store
- Using olive oil as a face cleanser and vinegar as a toner (they both really work)
- Massaging coconut oil into my hair occasionally, so that I don't need conditioner
- Choosing to buy those recyclable toothbrushes made from yogurt cups (laugh at me!)
- Buying a water filter instead of buying so many dumb jugs of filtered water for kombucha
- Keeping a coffee cup in the car for the free coffee at Half-Price Books... that's a joke, because it was a dirty coffee cup from that morning. But I did make the decision to turn around and get it, and it was raining!
This summer I would like to accomplish a few more steps:
- Minimize my wardrobe and donate extras (cutting down on laundry!)
- Composting (for... other people's gardens I suppose)
- Finally figure out how to do the dishes correctly (I always waste tons of water)
- Streamlining kitchen and pantry
- Getting the appropriate containers for buying/storing bulk foods (I drool over her 100 mason jars)
- Assess weekly/monthly food needs so that I can minimize trips to the store
- Get the dang bike fixed and find one for Mon Epoux
Those are slightly more daunting tasks than bringing a bag to the store. But not as daunting as say, using moss for toilet paper, which the author used to do when she was even crazier about zero waste. And none of it is as daunting to me as the Diva Cup. Eek.
Please let me know if I ever become judgmental or weird about this. What I don't like about the book is how Zero-Waste seems to have become as important as a religion to the author. I absolutely think that mindfulness about the material world is part of becoming more attuned to God. But it is easier to be zealous in organizing my closet than in rooting out those pesky baobabs from my planet, especially when the former zeal can be flavored so deliciously with pride.
I must go make some cookies.