My Brother Dissed my Waste Less Lifestyle…He Would!

An awesome bag made from Keep Nature Wild…”Other tote bags exist as well to hold your precious bottles JJ!!!” (see post below)

It happened on a cold winters eve…JK! It was sunny out, we just finished jumping on giant inflatables for my nephews birthday party, & we were happy off our jumping endorphins! My brother was tasked with buying the birthday treat since his son is extremely picky when it comes to food…even chocolate covered foods (weird right?!). I cringed while he picked out two desserts contained in plastic (I came from out of town without a cake) & he proceeded to buy two coca-colas in plastic bottles. Being well trained in “no bags please,” the words came out of my mouth & I picked up both desserts while leaving the cokes to my brother & well able-bodied nine year old nephew to carry two small bottles. However, while we were almost out the door, my brother slides the bottles into a plastic bag. I exclaim, “Really JJ? You need a bag for two bottles?” His demeanor changed from “Yay, let’s go eat cake,” to severly POed.

“Keep your hippie-dippie shit to yourself, I need convenience.”

I scoffed.

I’ve read on other blogs & instagram posts & zero waste journey group chats about other peoples families rebelling against their zero waste goals, but I had not yet experienced it. If family members didn’t care, I’m sure they unfollow me, scroll past my post, & NEVER read this silly blog, but tell me to my face, this was a first!

I let it go…(thanks Elsa!) I let my brother believe I was some hippie protesting against plastic bags for NO GOOD REASON! I definitely DO NOT have my nephews & niece in mind or the countless other babies my friends are having. I definitely want my yard to continue to fill with Frito bags, fast food drink cups, & random bits of styrofoam. I DEFINITELY want to drive down the road & have plastic bags flying through the air – – – – NOT!!!!

Convenience now, more polluted water, air, & over-all destruction of our earth later. Simple change here, simple change there. Did I use to buy pre-cut broccoli & individually wrapped candies… uh, duh!!! Just like everybody else! Not a hesitation or second thought. Shopping used to be incredibly easy. I used to think of how amazing I was when I brought my own bags seven years ago when it started become “a thing.”

Grocery shopping has definitely become more of a strategy. I need to use or take items out of my mesh produce bags before I can reuse them. I need to make sure my roommate doesn’t use my quart size mason jars for his smoothies so I can use them at the bulk section. I need to bring the right size containers for my meat so I can stock up instead of getting two things. A plan of attack is needed when trying for a less wasteful lifestyle. I am making shopping with the least waste purchased a goal every time I go so this is eventually a habit.

Has anybody made comments about your refusal of single-use plastics? How did you react? Is your family on board?! Let me know & let’s chat!

Resetting after Failure: Building your Composter

Time lapse of the composter completion – SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!

If you read my previous post, you would have learned I tried composting right next to my house in an open compost pile, rats came, & I had no where else to plot my compost pile. Once the rats showed up, I gave in and bought a compost bin. Truthfully, I was looking into one well before I started composting because I thought that was the only way. When I became more involved, I researched this composter like a car. What reviews did it get, how many stars, how long did it take to put together, did it leak, did it fall apart, etc, etc, etc. I also joined facebook & instagram groups to see what they used – some people way overshared & some people were very “hoidie-toidie” about it all – if you can sound that out – hahaha!

Since we have two dogs & I placed the composter in the backyard, I knew they would be sniffing the around, so I wanted one that was well contained. Composter’s on the cheaper side looked amazing, but people gave horrible reviews saying compost started falling out the sides, there was no way to stir the compost, or the actual bin started to bust from the seems.

I was dead set on buying a composter for $260 and told my husband he would need to help me put it together; it said it would take 2-3 hrs. It looked like an apocalyptic, indestructible pod you would insert yourself into to survive. I had it saved in my Amazon basket & was ready to go when I thought, hold on. Somehow I stumbled upon the one I purchased, a Yimby compost tumbler, for half the price of the apocalypse bin, & since it was one solid piece, I figured nothing could bust out the sides (I was very nervous for that to happen.)

It has been a month & a half since I built this composter & everything is going very well. However, it is winter here in Nashville, so I am very interested to see how summer goes. It gets very humid here & the last thing I want is moldy food smell while I enjoy the sun. However, I am hoping I have learned a thing or two and can keep the smell from happening. Only time will tell.

Was this everything I ever wanted?! NO! I wanted my ground compost to work out so I could see it working, mix my pile by hand (wish I had done that months ago), & watch it turn to soil. BUT, do I have a huge sense of pride when I throw my scraps into this bin-YES! Do I smile every time I tumble my composter and I hear the contents swirl around together – YES!! Am I excited to see it actually work and become soil-YES!!!

What do you do in your journey to make yourself feel prideful? Be proud of any step you take & don’t beat yourself up when you slip. We’re all in this together, so let’s keep cheering each other on!

Bonus video of my kitty, Frank, going for a mini ride in the composter –

DISCLAIMER: No cats were injured during this video.

Containers – A New Love for Becoming Wastefree

Now, before I start gushing over how much I love my containers…they did cost me some money. It was an investment, but a much needed one. You know the saying, “Look good, feel good.” I firmly believe this quote. When my hair actually looks good & my clothes fit just right, I feel like I’m the best looking one in the room. Cocky?! Perhaps, but my days like this are few and far between. I knew if I had cute containers I would actually use them & be excited to use them. It is also easier to tell the store the Tare (or the weight of an empty object) before they price it (they will ask this at check-out). An alternative to purchasing your own & saving money is repurposing your old spaghetti sauce jar, pickle jar, salsa jar, etc and use those containers. If you choose this route, perfectly fine, good on you……but I wanted cute matching jars.

When selecting your own collection of containers to bring to the store, you’ll figure out what works best for you. I love the quart size, wide mouthed mason jars for easy pouring. I found one giant mason jar (3.5 pints) at a garage sale, fingers crossed on finding more! Mini mason jars for spices & ideally I should have bought glass pyrex for meats, buuuuuttttttt I was feeling cheap at the time.

The plastic containers on the right are for my meats. There is residue from the price sticker, but I’ll take sticker waste over an entire plastic package of waste. Now, using these containers at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Fresh Market, etc has been about being confident & reassuring. Majority of people behind the counter have NOT YET been asked, “Can I have a pound of salami, & can you place it in this container?” That’s when I flash a big smile & show them my container. It has been received positively so far, but does take some conversation about it. Some are proud of me while others look confused the whole time, but they DO IT!

Look how happy this container is to hold your foods!

Side Bar – the first time I used the meat containers I forgot them in the car. I debated heavily with myself about running out to get them (it was pouring rain) & I had a cart full of food already. I sucked it up, sprinted out to my car, & happily handed my container to the deli man while my hair dripped into my eyes – I felt so legit.

Please let me cheer you on while you use your containers! Post pictures of what your collection looks like or what you are working towards! Just start with one container & see how it goes!