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A couple weeks ago, the following conversation took place.
Me: “So…..on a whim I applied to a zero waste challenge because I thought it sounded super awesome and something that would be a great learning experience for us as a family. I never actually thought we’d get accepted but well, I just found out that we did.”
Husband: “………………………………..what now?”
Me: “Yeah, I applied. It’s through the county. It sounds really educational and like a great experience for the family.”
Husband: “You just signed us up assuming we’d all be on board.”
Me: “Well, like I said, I didn’t actually think we would get accepted. Plus, it was such a long time ago that I kind of forgot I even signed up.”
Husband: “Ok, let’s look into it.”
Me: “One thing I should tell you is that it is like 8-9 months long….”
Before I dive into the details of what this conversation entails, please note that I realize this sounds like I didn’t really want to sign up or we don’t actually want to participate. This could not be further from the truth. It was just one of those things I saw someone share on Facebook, read about it, thought it sounded awesome, applied, then went on with my day. Until I got the acceptance email a few months later.
So what is this all about?
If you missed my Facebook video, our family was one of about 50 households to be selected in our local county’s second zero waste challenge. This challenge aims to help households reduce waste and develop sustainable zero-waste habits. The challenge also will help the county explore challenges families/households face when attempting to reduce waste to help them fulfill a goal to reduce all waste produced by 75% in 2030.
Here are some specifics about the challenge:
- The challenge is 8 months long.
- The first 4 weeks will be spent weighing our waste.
- The last 4 weeks will be spent weighing our waste to compare with the first 4 weeks.
- We have been assigned a staff liaison to help coach us throughout the challenge
- We will be required to attend waste-reduction workshops throughout the challenge to help us learn different strategies and receive hands-on training on waste reduction.
- We will have assistance in creating a customized waste reduction action plan
- We have already received a scale to weigh our trash, and will also be receiving a compostable bin, compostable bags, and help guides.
- The challenge ends on April 30, 2018.
We will start the first of the 4-week waste weighing tomorrow (September 11, 2017). Our first meeting is the second week of October.
How we are feeling:
We are excited and nervous. I have no doubt that these next four weeks are going to be very eye opening and probably a little bit discouraging. I like to think we have always been somewhat mindful of our waste and how much we recycle. However, as life gets busy and hectic as it does, we have definitely moved towards more convenience which has led to more waste.
I think we are also nervous because I think we, as a family, have come to equate some of the more environmentally friendly options as options that cost more money. I am sure that this is not always the case, so I look forward to learning more about how we can reduce waste in a budget-friendly manner.
Finally, two things I think we specifically are looking forward to learning more about is how we can reduce waste in the areas of pet waste (cats and dogs) and also composting. I have always wanted to learn about composting, but have felt overwhelmed by all the information and not sure where to start. I also have been hesitant because we live within close proximity of our neighbors, and I want to be mindful of any odors from the compost pile.
Overall, we are excited and very grateful we get to be part of this challenge. We expect to learn a lot to improve our environmental footprint, and also pass along that knowledge to our son, E.
I will be posting about our entire journey for the next 8 months. I hope you follow along with us. Be sure to subscribe here to follow along (plus, you’ll immediately receive a free, printable 7-day mindfulness challenge and worksheet!)!