Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 6, 2020 by Noreen Wise
It’s exciting to think about all the ways we can rush forward on the climate front in 2021, with John Kerry as the US Climate Envoy, and our 46th President, Joe Biden promising to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the day he’s inaugurated, January 20, 2021.
Let’s nail the waste scene as soon as possible. It’s not complicated. It just takes focus.
I look forward to 2021 super jazzed to be living a circular economy life. I took the leap year ago, and was pumped to have it nearly perfected by December 2019, which is when I successfully managed a zero waste month. I felt like I’d won an olympic gold medal, not to mention the excitement of having extra money in my pocket the way Wall Street geniuses always do.
Waste is something we can all manage on our own without being forced by laws. We just wake up one morning (this morning hopefully) and say, “I’m in!” And voila, we’re three quarters of the way there.
A zero waste life is about setting up a defined circular economy zone in our households where we can easily breakdown everything we consume so that it can quickly be turned around for multiple uses. The goal is:
- Recycle & Upcycle
Refuse is a big deal. We have the power to motivate businesses to do the right thing very effectively by refusing to buy certain products that create waste. For example, back at the beginning of October 2019, I made the decision to never buy ketchup packaged in plastic again. This was very difficult, because Heinz has cornered the market and there were no glass alternatives. I called Heinz, but Heinz refuses to sell ketchup packaged in glass in the US the way they used to. So I made the bold decision to switch to BBQ sauce, 85 percent of which is packaged in glass.
•A month later, Red Duck created a brand new product, ketchup in glass. It’s delicious, so much healthier. And it’s organic too. Thank you, Red Duck! A responsive American corporation meeting consumer demand.
•Additionally, I now use the recyclable paper towels made from bamboo that can be washed a hundred times. They dry on the counter so quickly. This has dramatically reduced our household waste.
•In 2020, wonderful new eco-products have been rolled out, shunning the standard plastic packaging and using paper instead: toothpaste tablets, laundry detergent sheets, shampoo and conditioner bars, and more.
•I recently purchased my first vegan leather tote bag, handmade from cork in Portugal. Vegan leather is a massive new industry. No more animal cruelty.
We must all transition to these new basics. We hold all the power in this climate crisis. By wielding our money in the right direction, we can preserve our children’s future.
Composting kitchen scraps is a very big deal. Our oceans are stuffed with carbon and can’t handle one more ounce. We lost billions of trees in 2020 as a result of the infernos out West. We suddenly find ourselves at a staggering loss in the ability to sequester the carbon we emit in the US. Soil holds 70 percent of the carbon stored in forests. We must rush to plant tons of green —trees, shrubs, ground cover, flowers — as well as fill the soil with compost from home kitchen scraps in the hopes that we can move the needle at twice the speed we’d otherwise be able to do. This is life or death. It’s an imperative.
US household kitchens should have multiple bins just like in Canada and the EU:
- Composting for food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags
- Paper recycling
- Plastic recycling
- Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
- Aluminum recycling
Once this is all set up, you’ll soon find that you have no garbage. It’s startling. A year ago, on New Years Eve 2019, I lifted the lid and my garbage bin was completely empty.
We’ve got this. Let’s rush!~
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