So far, I've found that living less wastefully is just a matter of tuning in my brain a little bit more to the stuff I do every day.
Here's another confession for you: up to now, the process of washing the dishes for me consisted of turning on the tap, and letting it run continuously until I had soaped, scrubbed, and rinsed every dish. This, I now realize, is a shameful waste of water.
Last Spring I was in Malibu with my cycling team for team training camp with pro cyclist Ina Yoko Tutenberg, a native Californian, who slapped all our hands for doing exactly this, since California was and is in the middle of a rather frightening drought.
I obeyed Ina then, mostly because she intimidated the crap out of me, but when I got back to New York went right back to my old ways without a second thought. It's just mental laziness really. How hard is it to turn the tap off between rinses?
The new method I've found that works for me is this:
1. Rinse any food debris out of the sink basin
2. Stop the drain with the drain stopper
3. Pour a modest amount of dish soap into the basin, and fill it with about 3 inches of water
4. Put a dab of soap on a sponge (not the ideal tool from an environmental standpoint, but I haven't gotten around to addressing that yet) and begin scrubbing the dishes
5. After food is scrubbed off each dish, dunk it in the soapy water, and if it needs it, give it a final rinse under the tap on low pressure to get soap suds off
6. Set it aside on a dish towel to dry
At the end of my dish washing, the sink has no more than 4 inches of water in it, and that's all I've used, whereas if I'd left the tap running continuously, I would easily have filled the sink.
An added bonus: letting the dishes soak in the soapy water while washing the rest of them actually makes it even easier to scrub off the food bits. It's a win-win.
If you're thinking "yeah, this is how every idiot washes dishes", well, it look this idiot a bit longer to come around, but better late than never, right?
So you've decided that you want to start transforming your lifestyle. You want less clutter, less waste, and more beauty in your day-to-day. You feel awesome for having arrived at this decision, and excited to begin. But you're also overwhelmed by the amount of work and conscious effort it's going to take to achieve it. Where do you even start?
There are many ways in which going zero waste can lead to greater financial freedom, and adjusting our food choices to be less wasteful is one of the quickest and easiest ways to save money.
A few weeks ago, I was at the market and saw some beautiful avocados, known locally as butterfruit, and brought them home for a snack.
I took for granted how many opportunities there are in the course of one vacation to create trash.
As I was cleaning out my handbag the other day, I found a few lone band-aids floating in the bottom that I kept there for emergencies - usually shoes that rubbed holes in my feet.
For a long time I was intimidated by my own French press coffee maker, so it sat on top of my fridge looking beautiful and sophisticated but never actually getting used.
I'd love to tell you that I've always used Q-tips with a cardboard post, but that's not even true. I know I've used plastic without giving it a second thought, and I shudder to think how many of those little guys are now hanging out in a landfill somewhere waiting to decompose.
Because we cook with a lot of vegetables, we end up with a lot of vegetable scraps that go in the bin after clean up. I started looking into ways that we could compost these scraps instead of throwing them away.