went minimalist and found space for what matters

Tag: zerowaste

A fresh start

What is it about a clean slate that I love? Is it the possibility of a new beginning? It is a clean crisp white space? Is it the optimism that comes with starting fresh? Is it theoretically erasing old mistakes or bad habits? I believe it is all of the above.


A new year is the opportunity to make better choices, to create more intentional habits. A new year is an opportunity for a brighter future. For me a new year is not an opportunity to fall into the trap of making a resolution that is surface level like I have so many times in the past… lose x lbs, workout x number of times, etc… only to fall into old habits a month into the year.   It is so easy to get sucked into resolutions that aim to change your exterior. What if the resolution aimed to change your interior?


I do much better with broader goals such as: I will always have a book that I am reading. I will continue to expand my knowledge in subjects that interest me. I will try to incorporate more meditation and reflection into my life. I will choose to create before I consume.


So this is what this post is about. Let the new year be an opportunity for self growth not an opportunity to feel worse about some exterior factor or a setting yourself up to fail. Why not create a resolution to watch less TV? To buy less processed foods wrapped in plastic? To go to bed with a clean kitchen so you can start each day fresh? To let go of items that no longer serve you? To bring along a reusable jar or water bottle when you leave the house? To remember all of your reusable bags when grocery shopping? To chose to shop fast fashion less? To begin composting? To write in a journal? To get outside every day?


Why not choose a resolution that can uplift you and create space for a cascade of positive change.


Happy 2019!

Reducing waste during Thanksgiving


This Thanksgiving is my first since beginning my zero waste journey. For the past three years we have hosted Thanksgiving at our home outside of Dallas.  This year we hosted my parents, both my brothers, and their significant others along with my family of four.  Everyone stayed for an extended period of time, my parents stayed almost two weeks!  It is such a wonderful time of year to reunite since we all live plane rides away in different states.  Our holiday was full of joy, game nights, outdoor time, group bowling, and even group yoga at my nearby studio.  While this was not a waste free holiday, it was a huge improvement from past years. For me it is not about perfection as I can only control me and I was only 1 person out of a group of 10 people.  But I have noticed others enjoying some of the switches we have made in our home.  #progressoverperfection


A few techniques we reduced waste this year included

  • Eating more plant-based sides.
  • Using compostable decor including pumpkins, acorns (from our local park), and fresh rosemary (from our garden) in mason jars
  • Omitting any single-use items (i.e. no plastic forks, plates, cups etc.).
  • Using cloth towels for clean up and a homemade all-purpose spray.
  • Composting all plant-based food scraps and food soiled paper.
  • Buying many ingredients from the bulk bins using reusable bags
  • Making almost everything from scratch including dairy-free corn bread and homemade bread
  • Opting for glass containers over plastic for items such as olive oil and grape seed oil
  • Opting for cans of broth instead of cartons for those recipes that called for broth.
  • Using cloth napkins that were gifted to me from Myrtlewood  (which were super soft and looked great on the table).
  • Saving turkey bones to make turkey soup the next day.

How have you reduced waster over Thanksgiving or other holidays?  For me focusing less on material items and more on “being” has gone hand in hand with my zero waste efforts.  Hope you had a great Holiday! I’d love to hear your suggestions on future blog post requests!

Zero waste: where to start


1. Look in your trash – What do you throw away? Is it actually recyclable? Do you actually need it? Could you purchase it with out the trash it creates (i.e. in the bulk food bins, glass, metal, or paper- all of which are easily recyclable)?


2. Compost – Research if your area has a service, if your farmers market will take food scraps, or compost on your own. I use an open air bin and put all my food scraps in there (minus any dairy or meat). You need 3 to one dry to wet. (or brown to green). So, I often put in shredded paper with the food scraps since we don’t have a lot of dry grass or leaves in our area.   It is surprisingly easy to maintain. I just dig a hole dump my food scraps in it. Then, I cover it up. We do not have any bug or pest problems. It does not smell which was the most surprising part of composting for me. If you do not have a yard, don’t worry there are indoor composter bins or worm bins. You can also just dig and bury your food scraps in your yard! The ultimate goal is for your compost to turn your food scraps and yard waste into rich soil.

3. Bring your own bags- Put them somewhere accessible. I keep mine in my car and a collapsible one on me.   This includes reusable produce bags as well. Even when on errands like the pharmacy or a clothing store you will be surprised how many bags you can refuse just by carrying one or putting your item in your purse/diaper bag.

Reusable produce bag link


4. Change your buying habits- Research alternatives for each item you currently purchase in plastic. This is an ongoing process so don’t get discouraged. See if you can purchase an item second hand.  Also, rethink what you purchase.  One example is the cleaning supplies you use. Do you really need 20 different cleaners with toxic chemicals to clean your home? Odds are a combination of vinegar and water will work on almost any surface in your home!  Here is a vinegar cleaning recipe I use daily:

Soak used citrus peels in a jar of white vinegar (purchased in a glass container) in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Combine that with water in a spray bottle (1:1 ratio)

Spray as a disinfectant!

 Glass spray bottle link


5. Be prepared- Bring your own drink and food container. A simple jar could cover both areas. For example: When you know you will go out to dinner remember to bring your own to go food container.

 6. Be ok with saying “No thank you”  any times Freebies come with a cost to the environment. Think grocery store samples, the free promotional gear at work events, the free plastic cup, or the free toy at the dentist. If you refuse it, it will hopefully reduce the number produced next time.

7. Make it yourself- Is there something you buy in plastic that you can make yourself? A few items I currently make myself are my cleaning sprays, laundry detergent, tortillas, bread, muffins, facial toner, eye make up remover, lotion replacement, soup broth, cookies, almond milk etc.

8. Be proud- Every little step you take to reducing the amount of trash you make is a positive step. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are not perfect. We do not live in a zero waste world so just do the best you can and feel good about the steps you are taking.


A few followers messaged me the following questions regarding zero waste.  I will share the responses here so that others can learn as well:


Q: How to compost in the winter:

A: The same as the summer! Food scraps may be frozen but they will decompose once everything thaws.


Q: What to do about allergies and cross contamination in bulk bins?

A: Your health is number one. I would never suggest you do anything to jeopardize you or your family’s health. That being said, my son has multiple food allergies (nuts, fish, dairy, and eggs to name a few). We have shopped in many different stores using many different bulk bins and never had an issue. Obviously use your judgment. If the scoop is shared with other bins then that could present a possible cross contamination risk. In recent memory most bins have a scoop attached to the bins themselves. Also, pay attention to the location of the bins in relation to the allergen. For example, if the rice is right next to the peanuts and your child has a peanut allergy, you may want to skip the rice purchase. Also, all bulk bins are labeled with ingredients, and if it is made in a facility that processes certain ingredients.


Q: How to get meat plastic free:

A: Go directly to the butcher counter and either bring your own container and have them tare the weight of the container first or ask them to wrap the meat in only paper.  I believe most butcher paper is coated in a fine wax or oil that can be composted afterward.