Here’s another buzzword for you.
I bet THAT word makes you roll your eyes. It’s okay. I had the same reaction. San Francisco is all about sustainability. Every restaurant comes with three different bins: compost, recycle, and garbage. When I first came across these filtering bins, I was stressed as shit. I felt like I was being tested in public – and I felt extra stupid reading packages to see if something is compostable (which is not the same as biodegradable) or just recyclable.
Fast forward a year – and I’m a champ now.
A little bit ago I mentioned going green for the sake of the bay. Well, I decided to take it further – for the bay and for my wallet. We pay for the amount of trash the city collects every week. The medium bin we use now is $11.60 a month more than the smallest bin. It is actually not much – but then I realize I am throwing away money to throw away trash.
What. In. The. Actual. Fuck. Tania.
So I started figuring out ways I can cut my trash in half. I started composting, in addition to the recycling I already do. I started looking at my trash to see the bulk of the issue. The main culprit – outside of food waste – is my love of single use wipes/towels. It’s what I use to clean up anything and everything. In an attempt to cut down on that, I bought food spill rags to replace most of the paper towel use, and cleaning rags to replace the Lysol wipe love affair. So far, so good! I use a color coding system so we don’t accidentally use the rags used for cleaning toilets as cleaning up spills. Because no.
I think the biggest difference in changing is composting. If you are new to composting, all you need is a bin with holes in it for air circulation and direct sunshine for the majority of the day. That’s it. If you do it right, there should not be any smells. I don’t get direct sunshine for long due to Karl, so I fully utilize the weekly pickup service the city offers. What’s worked for me is getting a cute small compost bin to immediately put food scraps in – and moving it outside when it’s full. I’ve tried this for two weeks now and it’s been wonderful! My bin sits on the counter in the accent color of my choosing – copper *insert heart eyes* – so it is very hard to miss. We also put it right next to our wood cutting board for ease. Trying to set everyone up for success here!
Next thing to eliminate is Ziploc bags. I use reusable glass and plastic containers often, but there are times where you just need Ziploc bags. When I sit and think about it, I don’t have a real reason to use it outside of marinating meat. Everything else is better placed in plastic Tupperware. So I searched and found reusable water and air tight silicone versions on amazon that is sitting firmly in my cart.
Another sad thing I hate admitting is I use disposable makeup remover wipes. Did it kill your soul to read that as much as it is for me to admit? Like, how wasteful can I be? On top of it, it is $7 for a 30 day supply. Even worse – I don’t wear anything waterproof so I don’t need to use special wipes. Ugh. Tania, why you so dumb?? Of course, I got myself washable makeup removing cloths the same night I figured out how stupid I am.
It’s actually really hard to see money go out for these things – but I firmly believe it benefits me in the long run. $20 for a pack of 3 large reusable silicone bags vs disposable cheapies that I buy every month. It’s painful at first… but you see it in the long run. That’s been my main reason. More reusable items means my average grocery bill goes down and my monthly trash bill goes down.
I am not going after the zero waste lifestyle. I never want anything in my life to be so extreme that it’s something that I have to work around – hence why I left the paleo diet and took the lessons learned – but no harm in keeping a mug in the office for coffee, using rags for spills, keeping reusable grocery and produce bags, and minimizing food waste.