Zero waste, part 2: Packaging alternatives for the kitchen
What kind of people go zero waste? Isn’t it enough to sort youf own garbage? And where do you even start, if you want to be more zero waste oriented?
We are newbies in town. Actually we arrived from Copenhagen in the end of August. We are two anthropology students who know nothing about zero waste, but we have decided to write our masters thesis on this subject. Since we arrived, questions as above have filled our minds, which is why we participated in the zero waste workshop at The Food Connection. During the event we learned so much more than we can write in this blog post, but here are some of the takeaways we found extra helpful.
Everyone has their own zero waste journey
On September 27 the mountains were lighting up in the horizon with the last sunlight of the day; a perfect view before arriving at the Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House. Jenny and Nicola welcomed us all, and we enjoyed the meals that each and everyone had brought. Looking around, the group was very diverse, from young to old, men and women; this was a place for everybody. We had a chat with some people, curious of why they were here. They all knew about zero waste, but didn’t have the confidence to take on the zero waste lifestyle. For the anxiety of not doing it perfect, Jenny had a good standpoint:
“This is a journey, and it is not easy. Everyone need to find what is best for them. You might have a disability or lack of knowledge. But this is why we are at this event; to help each other, to share our experiences, even though we are not experts.”
Seeing things from an alternative perspective
Rashmi who moved from India about one year ago, helped us see our second question in another perspective. Not only did she tell us about how she was confronted with the big use of packaging for everything. She told about how she joined the SPEC Master Recycler course, as a part of her journey, and learned what happens with garbage:
“Even though stuff is recyclable, it doesn’t always get sorted. There is a chance for it, to go to landfills. If it got sorted, think of the energy in the burning process. So the best is to live a zero waste lifestyle, where you don’t produce waste.”
She also shared her experiences on alternative packaging and how she prevents herself from producing more waste. She showed us how easy it is to make yoghurt, and Jenny showed how to make müesli.
A helping hand
In relation to our last question we got a helping hand at the event. We got a zero waste starter kit. The kit contained of a beeswax wrap, fabric bag, metal straw and much more.
Did you know, that a straw only has a lifetime of 2 minutes? If you think about it, you never forget your phone or wallet when you leave the house. But what if you also remembered a straw? Companies would stop giving them out, and we would prevent them getting to the landfills.
As a consumers we have the possibility to organize our way out of a lot of waste, we just need to plan a bit ahead: remember your fabric shopping bag or metal straw, if you know there are a possibility of shopping or enjoying a soda. These might seem as banal steps, but every step counts.
We had the pleasure of meeting with some amazing like-minded individuals to talk about zero waste, good luck to everyone who participated. Also it would not have been possible without The Food Connection. Thank you for a fantastic and inspiring evening. Last, but not least, thank you to the Vancouver Foundation and the Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grant for the zero waste starter kit.