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Cheat Sheet for New Zero Wasters

The first 3 products I bought to kick off my goal of becoming zero waste and how I use (or don't) them now.

The Journey of Zero Waste

In 2018, I turned on A Plastic Ocean after a dinner service on the Ave simply to have something on in the background while I finished up my homework. Little did I know this documentary would spark a fire in me, keep me up all night, leading me to start a blog-turned creative agency focused on sustainability.

I became inspired to "change the world," and was quickly off to the races as many in this capitalistic world do - by buying into it.

A bamboo toothbrush, dog poop bags, and a bamboo dog brush thought to be sustainable zero waste product purchases in 2018.
"My first zero waste purchases have arrived!! Bamboo on bamboo on bamboo! You're supposed to replace your toothbrush 4x per year, which amounts to about 1.3 billion toothbrushes throughout the United States. Most of those toothbrushes are rotting in landfills. These are biodegradable and were only $2 each. I usually pick up after Daisy twice a day, so these biodegradable bags are reducing my waste by 728 bags a year. It's mind blowing to me the difference this will make just as one person. I think that many of us (including myself), tend to get into the mindset that as one person we can't really make much of a difference, but this has really opened my eyes and made me see that, YES, you do make a difference and you ARE making an impact on this world, and imagine if your friends did it too 😉🌱♻️ (I'm returning the brush, the description failed to mention the plastic bristles/backing)"

Then vs. Now

Of these three items, I still (kind of) use all of them; if I could go back to being a newbie, I'd do it a little differently.

First and foremost, I bought all of these from Amazon. And while I used to dog on Amazon regularly, (Jeff Bezos, I've got so many questions for you,) I can now see benefits of the giant corporation. So now I would try to buy directly from the production company or one that aligns with my values.

Swapping to a bamboo toothbrush wasn't a hard one for me, but I did not like this Sprml brand. I appreciated the packaging, however, which actually has often created a hiccup for me in choosing a toothbrush. Anyone else get as irked by the bamboo toothbrushes that come packaged in plastic as I do? The irony!!! My most recent and favored bamboo toothbrush comes from The Humble Co., I get it from Thrive Market.

The dog poop bags have a few red flags right off the bat: "Biodegradable" remains a term to watch for as a greenwashing tactic. Everything breaks down over time, that doesn't really hold any value unless that broken down material is going to provide value to the Earth.

Moral of the story: Buy the eco-friendliest version of the dog poop bags: Compostable ones.

As for the dog brush - I didn't end up returning it and that's the one thing I wouldn't change. Most returns actually end up in a landfill and it's better to keep and use the items you already own than to try to buy, buy, buy. If you have something that will do what you want it to do, even if it isn't "perfect," use it until you can't. That is sustainability.

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