Zero Waste Challenge 2018

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Take a ‘Zero Waste Challenge’. The challenge is described below. You can sign up starting February1, 2018 by emailing Nikyta at 

What is Zero Waste? The Zero Waste International Alliance defines it as:
“A goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them. Implementing Zero Waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water or air that are a threat to planetary, human, animal or plant health.”

The best way to learn about how to move towards Zero Waste in your own life and household is to take a Zero Waste Challenge. This will show you the overview and details of how much waste you make. It will also give you opportunities to make small but powerful changes in how you shop.

How to Take the Zero Waste Challenge:

1.Start with a Trash Audit: this means take stock of your actual garbage and see what is in there and ways to reduce. Frequent culprits parading as trash:
•Food scraps: if you don’t already compost at your home, here are some ways to build a rodent proof home compost system:
•Recyclables: are there things that you throw out that could be recycled? Here is the Lopez Solid Waste Disposal District’s recycle guide 
•Take stock of what you throw out, and look for alternatives. Many items come with packaging that cannot be recycled. Shop smart and think about the end of an item’s life when you buy it. Look for packaging that is recyclable or ways that you could have the same item with no packaging at all: many foods can be purchased in the bulk section with reusable containers.
•Are there repeat offenders? Like a favorite that comes in non-recyclable or reusable containers? Are there other alternatives that could suffice?

2.Design your parameters: 
•Choose a time frame for how long your zero waste challenge will last (a day, week, month or longer)
•State your goal: what percentage of waste reduction you want to strive for (all, 90%, 50%, etc)
•Are there any exceptions? List them.
•Perhaps you would like to simply work on reducing or eliminating plastic or some other item from your life. You can tailor this challenge to those parameters. Just define them in advance.

3.Build your home infrastructure:
Arm yourself with a reusable water bottle, a couple grocery totes, a few cloth bags and reusable jars and bottles.
Get your 5Rs right: Refuse what you do not need, Reduce what you do need, Reuse what you consume, Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse, and Rot (Compost) the rest.
Resources for this are here:


4.Begin your zero waste challenge!

5.Blog about your challenges, findings, and victories. Please send your blog responses to be posted on the website to or join our FB page and leave your comments at Lopez Island Dump

6.Join the Zero Waste Challenge celebration: Date TBA

Tips from our staff and board members who took the challenge:

Think before you travel!
Bring all your reusable mugs, utensils, waterbottles, to-go ware, and a washable napkin and reusable bags, and a few ziplock bags for your “bag of shame” = actual garbage, and perhaps a compost bag.

We found that many public washrooms only offer paper towels. A few zero waste choices might be
1. Bringing your own washable napkin in to wipe hands.
2. Bringing along a ziplock bag to store your compostable paper towels and any other compost you might create while traveling: like tea bags, fruit rinds/peels, etc.

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