Week 3 – “Waste Free”
Welcome to week 3 where we attempt to go waste free, perhaps the most difficult of our weekly challenges! This week we’ll share the 5 R’s of going zero waste along with some great plastic free tips. Be sure to scroll to the actions to read about this week’s contest to produce the least amount of trash- we promise we won’t ask you to wear all the trash you produce, like this guy!
The Zero waste philosophy invites us to shift away from materialism and wasteful consumption towards a more conscious engagement with what we acquire, similar to the trend now towards minimalism, where we consciously change our relationship with what we own in order to simplify our lives. Zero waste is a sustainable circular economy where products are not dumped into the ground after use, but reincorporated into one’s life in creative ways.
Zero waste has 5 actionable steps- Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. Each step helps us lessen our carbon footprint by decreasing the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill where as organic matter decomposes it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more heating than carbon dioxide.
REFUSE: Just say “no”—particularly to single-use plastics! (see below for ways to embrace plastic free living)
REDUCE: #thinktwice before you shop. Clean out your closets and cupboards of items you no longer need and donate them to someone who does. Check out our Green living – clothing section, to become more mindful about the lure of fast fashion trends and embrace slow fashion thrifting in Brooklyn. Check out Zero Waste Resources NYC for ideas ranging from how to safely dispose of electronics to tool lending libraries to setting up clothing swaps.
REUSE: Instead of tossing things in the trash, wake up your creativity and upcycle, repair, and refurbish. (Watch the Brit import The Repair Shop if you need inspiration!)
RECYCLE: If it can’t be refused, reduced, or reused, recycle it Remember that recycle is a last ditch effort instead of a first. Check out How and where to recycle and donate old clothing.
ROT: Don’t let your food waste end up in the landfill creating greenhouse gases. Check out these ways to reduce your food waste. Turn your food scraps into compost not trash! Take them to a Food Scrap Drop-off Center.
Going plastic free is an important aspect of being zero waste. As consumers, we may like the convenience of plastic, but 99% of plastic comes from fossil fuels, making plastic one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis. Plastic is everywhere. Practically everything we touch is made of plastic. Our oceans are drowning in it and fish are dying from eating it. Single-use plastics like bottles, straws, bags, and utensils stick around long after you use them and break down into microplastics. So during our waste free week let’s try to reduce the plastic in our grocery carts and in our kitchens! Let’s free our fridges and cupboards of plastic!
- Buy fruits and vegetables that don’t come prepackaged. Bring your own bag.
- Check out our Green Living Section for Brooklyn grocery stores that have bulk sections.
- Ditch plastic wrap and use beeswax wrappers instead.
- Use cloth Vejibags, to ensure maximum freshness for your produce.
- For food storage use stainless steel food storage containers and glass jars.
- Switch to bar dish detergent.
Check out more Plastic free living resources on our website.
Friendly tip, if you’ve got plastic products you’re in the middle of using, don’t throw them out— keep using the product and then swap to a plastic free alternative when it has reached the end of its life.
Week 3 Actions
- Got 1 minute to speak up?
- Find a food scrap site near you and get more weekly exercise by walking or biking there!
- Check out these Coca cola & Amazon petitions that demand that Top Corporate Polluters stop the plastic packaging!
- Take plastic free action with one click! Send an email to your Representative to support The Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act which holds producers responsible for plastic waste cleanup and mandates that they make recyclable or compostable products.
- Got a little more time?
- Join 350B’s Power Hour via Google Meet on Tue (Jan19) from 12-1 pm, where we will make calls for the Plastic Straw & Stirrer Ban Int 0936-2018. Please Sign up here for the log-in info.
Enter the Contest!
Let’s create a little healthy competition and see who produces the least trash this week! Winner gets a free soundbath (virtually in the comfort of your home) from Yogi Leigh Evans. All you need to do is post a picture of your trash at the end of the week (Sat 1/23) in our Facebook group— and weigh it!
Zero Waste Hack of the Day
When you order take-out, use Deliver Zero to get your food delivered in reusable containers that can be returned and used again and again!
+ Carbon Free credit – ask your local vegan restaurant to deliver through Deliver Zero!
P.S. Remember to share your triumphs and struggles in our Facebook Group – 350 BK Carbon Free January Challenge!
*Please note that 350 Brooklyn does not necessarily endorse the organizations that we link to, but we want to share NYC carbon free resources with you!