The husband and I are currently at the in-laws for the holidays. We are about 4 days in and have another 4 to go. My in-laws do not live a zero waste lifestyle, but I didn’t want that to disrupt my attempt to not create trash. I would like to preface this by saying that I don’t believe in changing someone’s lifestyle to benefit your own. To me, that’s not how real change is created. Instead, I try to be a good house guest by living according to their lifestyle while still maintaining a zero waste mindset.
Here are a few things that I’ve learned:
- Composting: My mother-in-law got a compost bin for Christmas! Hooray! That means from now on I can actually compost my kitchen scraps. I always eat a banana or a hard-boiled egg for breakfast here, so what I did was I’d take the peel/shell and bring it to their yard, dig a hole, and bury it. The good thing is my in-laws live on an eight-acre property, so I will never run out of places to dig holes.
- Recycling: My in-laws live in the boonies of western Michigan (their words, not mine). So they actually have to drive their recycling and trash to a center instead of a normal trash pick-up. From what I understand, the recycling center only recycles paper/cardboard and plastic bottles. But any other plastic products or cans are not recyclable. Weird, huh? My mother-in-law does most of the cooking during our time here, and should she use an ingredient in which the container could not be recycled here, I’d rinse out that container and bring it back with us to recycle back home. The way I see it, if I contributed to consuming a product that is packaged, it is my duty to properly recycle that package.
- Upcycling: My in-laws purchase a surprising number of condiments and food in glass jars. That’s great news because glass can be reused or recycled over and over again without loss in quality. I’ve asked my mother-in-law to save all her glass containers because I can upcycle them for food storage, candle holders, etc.
I hope this inspires you if you live in a non-zero waste home but you would like to live zero waste. It is possible! :)