Tag Archives: lifestyle

The first step towards zero waste – reduce the amount of trash cans in your home

Living a zero waste lifestyle isn’t hard if you start simple. And the first step is to get rid of some of the trash cans in your home. Leave a few in the major areas and make sure to leave one for recycling. Soon you will find the majority of your trash to be recyclables and the trash you send to the landfill dropping like the rain.

When I made this change, I found a trash can in each room. Most contained only a few pieces that I had to empty every week. I thought about it and determined that the kitchen and the bathroom were key places to keep a trash can. Everything else was put in storage, or converted into a recycle bin.  The fewer trash cans freed up a little time and allowed me to focus on what I was throwing out.

It happened that I wasn’t recycling enough. I visited the website of my trash company and found their list of approved recyclables. I was recycling only half of what I could and quickly doubled the amount in the recycle bin. It’s amazing how this one step – reducing the trash cans – led me to the easiest and biggest step towards zero waste. I was halfway there.

The next step was a little harder. No big reductions, just making one small change at a time. I noticed my shampoo and conditioner bottles weren’t recyclable, so I switch to a brand that was. The little yogurt cups weren’t recyclable but the big ones were. I began paying attention to each item I was sending to a landfill, and found that each had a recyclable alternative.

And that’s it. The path to zero waste is simple and easy. At first glance it sounds like an extreme lifestyle and impossible to do. But it’s not and everyone I recommend this to is shocked at the simplicity. A little step in the green direction and we all do our part.

 

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More reading on zero waste:

 

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Don’t wash your hands with hot water – use cold water to save energy and water

More on saving water, from the N.Y. Times:

In its medical literature, the Food and Drug Administration states that hot water comfortable enough for washing hands is not hot enough to kill bacteria, but is more effective than cold water because it removes oils from the hand that can harbor bacteria.

But in a 2005 report in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine…(subjects) were instructed to wash and rinse with soap for 25 seconds using water with temperatures ranging from 40 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees, the various temperatures had “no effect on transient or resident bacterial reduction.”

 

How does this save water? There is no need to run the faucet until the hot water comes, avoiding all that wasted water, and by using cold water you save the energy needed to heat the water.

I’ve long thought that washing my hands with soap and cold water does the job. The same for washing dishes. Strange that for most of my life I thought hot water was absolutely necessary. I looked on the CDC and Mayo Clinic websites and found nothing. One says use cold or warm water and the other says nothing at all.

This means that switching over to cold water with soap is a reasonable step if you’re looking to conserve water and energy. Of course, you can still use warm water, but I find I don’t really need it. In the end, my goal is to live a Zero Waste, low-carbon lifestyle and this is one small step in that direction.

 

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On why mainstream media is unable to write about sustainability

I am often frustrated by the lack of depth in articles about sustainability. It’s as if all writers and “experts” are recycling the same content. We all feel this impending sense of climactic doom and want to make changes, but then we are fed the same tips we already know. I think I’ve discovered why this is happening.

It’s because the next steps are unknown, a vast unexplored area of low-carbon living. Heretofore, those pioneering this lifestyle ended up far off the grid, eschewing normal lives. Where are the pioneers looking for ways to be low-carbon while driving a car in a city?

I am one and there are not many of us. It takes a bold, rather radical, person to examine ones own lifestyle. To make changes considered gross, unsanitary, or socially weird. Which makes me the perfect person for such explorations because I have a strange lack of mindfulness for society at large and gross things (does that also make a sociopath?).

That also explains why those already with fame and a voice are struggling with these next steps. Al Gore comes to mind as the great voice of global warming, but his encore, the solution to the problem never appeared. This is nothing against the man, he did the world a great service, he is a champion of causes, he invests in green businesses, but he is probably not a radical pioneer of solutions.

I like to think of it as the Christopher Columbus problem. In 1492, there were plenty of great sailors and adventurous men, but very few willing to go beyond the horizon. I think we are at the same point now. Everyone wants to be green, some even desperately so, but who is willing to go beyond the horizon?

Not many, I suppose, and that’s the way it has always been. The world moves forward thanks to those crazy thinkers, like Albert Einstein, who have the right mindset, motivation, and skills to do so. They will be the ones pioneering the low-carbon lifestyle and showing the way for the rest of us.

We probably won’t find those folks in the mainstream media or in our celebrity roster. Instead, they will be found on the fringes writing on a blog. Talking about crazy things like an all farmers market diet or living zero waste. Sharing tips like how to drink coffee or making your own sunscreen. All that we crazies ask of you, the reader, is to show your support. Let us know what you need help on, comment with your experiences, and email us your questions (steve [at] 1X57.com).

 

Here’s to the crazy ones:

Award-winning short about legendary surfer – ‘Another Day in the Life of Wayne Lynch’

Wayne Lynch is a surfing legend, blazing individualistic pathways in both the performance and the lifestyle. Ascending during a time of great change and experimentation, Wayne took up the mantle personally, redefining what a surfboard should look like and how it should be ridden. Much of this innovation done outside of surfing’s athletic or institutional complexes.

Today, Wayne’s life is almost as it was 40 years ago. He still shapes surfboards, still lives simply by the sea. Were it not for his recent heart attack, both the observer and Wayne himself, could be forgiven for thinking things had stayed the same, despite how they change. But serious jeopardy to anyone’s health, our surfing heroes included, can have a way of radically altering everything underneath the surface, appearances be damned. A rebirth into the same skin.

In this portrait, filmmaker Cyrus Sutton provides a window into Lynch’s new life. With a nod to Jack McCoy’s Tubular Swells, Another Day in the Life, is crafted with ultra-fine cinematography and a spare and modernist feel. The viewer is transported back to the Wayne Lynch they grew up idolizing, while making current those admirations and anchoring them in the reality of human mortality.

- Scott Hulet, The Surfer’s Journal

Am I a Crunchie Hipster or the New Urban Norm?

So there I am, in the kitchen, eating a Dupont Farmer’s Market carrot with some “Maryland-style” hummus I made at home. I proceed to throw the carrot top in the compost jar in the freezer, wash my hands with a locally made bar of soap (not an exotically scented bottle of liquid soap) which just happens to be sitting next to my reusable mug I carry with me every trip to Starbucks. I pour myself a glass of DC’s finest tap water, then blow my nose in a hanky. I walk upstairs where our freshly washed laundry is hang-drying from our glass catwalk to deposit the hanky in our eco-water saver laundry machine, then I walk back downstairs, remove my phone from our portable solar panel charger, grab my kindle from my backpack which I take religiously everywhere so I don’t need throwaway bags, put my backpack in the closet next to my bike helmet which I’m wearing a lot more since I no longer have my car in the city and rely on my bike to get me where I need to go, and have a seat on the couch to read The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying while drinking a cup of warm Yogi Lemon Ginger tea.

And I think to myself, “I’m such a crunchie hipster!”

Or am I?

Before @robotchampion (and A Clean Life), I did none of these things. Give up my car? I LOVE heated leather seats in the winter. Shop at a farmer’s market on a Sunday morning? I was a notorious Harris Teeter, late evening Tuesday shopper, buying lots premade, packaged everything. Bring a recyclable mug to Starbucks? That just means I have to carry it around and wash the grody thing out. But I did all of these things, and more, and it hasn’t been an impediment on my lifestyle. It’s just required some simple changes in habits.

I don’t think I’m all that unique. I know tons of people who don’t have cars, who compost at home (even if they live in the city), who shop at farmer’s markets and who think bottled water is a joke (I highly recommend watching TAPPED). I have to wonder if my way of living isn’t such an extraordinary extremity as it is a market correcting itself from an ungodly and unnecessary level of waste and inefficiency.

So tell me: am I part of the new urban norm or just another crunchie hipster?