Welcome to the first official post on A Waste Not Kind Of Life! I’m so excited to be here and even more excited that you are here too! Let me start off by introducing myself.
I’m Erica; wife, mom to one, registered dietitian, travel enthusiast, lover of the nature and chick on a mission!
At the beginning of this year, I began my personal journey to minimize the amount of waste my household sends to the landfill. This effort came about after I steadily went from being a relatively avid recycler to a so-so recycler to a shaking-my-head-thinking-about-what-I-was-throwing-away, essentially non-recycler following the birth of my daughter in 2015. By the end of 2016 my recycling habits were nearly non-existent and most everything was ending up in the garbage (Ugh, I still cringe at the thought). Not to mention our food waste was starting to feel like it had reached an all-time high, or maybe it was because so much was already going out with the trash that I had become hypersensitive to everything that was being thrown away. As 2016 was coming to a close, I was determined to turn things around and catch up on all that lost recycling time. This led to the creation of what started out as a yearlong project for 2017 called “Project Less Waste” which I introduced as a weekly segment on Pumps & Push-Ups; the blog I was working on alongside my sister-in-law.
The following is the general plan I laid out for 2017 to cut back on waste:
1. Throw away less, recycle more.
2. Give new life to stuff through repurposing or up-cycling
3. Choose used when new is not necessary
4. No clothing, shoes or accessory purchases
The last item came about after I spent the greater part of last year moving further and further away from my true self (someone who values experiences over stuff) when what started out as a closet update practically turned into an entire overhaul. On Pumps & Push-Ups, fashion was a large part of the content we were sharing. Eventually I began justifying clothing items that could be worn several ways so that I would have fun new outfits to put together for the blog. It became addicting and started to consume my thoughts, my time and my money. I was already putting the brakes on shopping when I watched the documentary Minimalism. This not only reinforced my feelings about how less is more, but it also reminded me of the environmental ramifications associated with mass production. Resources used to make and package products contribute towards the degradation of natural habitats. The waste that occurs from buying new stuff to replace perfectly good stuff (just to have the newest of the new) often ends up in landfills. Ridiculous numbers of plastic shopping bags end up in oceans and other waterways annually, harming the animals that inhabit these areas. Combine all of these points with accounts of major retailers throwing bags of unsold merchandise out onto the streets or into dumpsters, but not before slashing or destroying the clothes so they could never be worn or sold by someone else. All of this led to my decision to take a step back as a consumer this year as part of my overall waste reduction plan. Sure, buying secondhand would be a perfectly acceptable option, but seeing as I have everything I truly need: clothes to keep me warm, clothes to keep me cool, and shoes for my feet, there is no reason for me to add anything to my closet. And while I still appreciate fashion, it’s actually quite freeing having an excuse not to buy things I know I don’t need.
When I hit the ground running in January, progress updates and DIY up-cycling ideas were shared on a weekly basis on Pumps & Push-Ups but recently decided to move my little pet project into its own space. Doing so will allow me to focus greater attention on living a life that is part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. Because this space is about making waste reduction a lifestyle, rather than simply a yearlong journey, the idea for “A Waste Not Kind of Life” was born. Inspired by the old adage, “waste not, want not,” if you’ve never heard of this statement before, basically means that when one does not waste their resources, they will always have what they need and will not find themselves wanting in the future. While this can relate to the grander scale of preserving and sustaining our environment by using the planets resources more wisely, it’s also relatable on a more personal level, right in our own homes.
While much of my mission is largely focused on reducing my family’s ecological footprint, it’s also about creating a ripple effect. It’s about doing my part to help clean up, while teaching my daughter to be a good environmental steward and helping others who are interested in making changes but don’t know where to start.
Follow along as I share my progress, challenges and everything I learn about living “A Waste Not Kind Of Life!”