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Reuse and repair with Joel & Jessica

Our Zero Waste month has proved to be an interesting exercise that has made us reassess our buying choices and has sparked a number of conversations about the inherent waste issues in our grocery system.

During the course of a typical month we typically generate a comparatively small quantity of garbage, and this month was no exception. During the month of September we produced a single small kitchen bag for our two-person household. While this is certainly something we could work on reducing, there are a number of things that are either not cost efficient to purchase in alternative packaging and items that are simply not available in alternative packaging. One example of non-cost effective packaging is yogurt. While yogurt is available in glass containers, it is a fair margin more expensive than its plastic-clad counterparts. This may be a small sacrifice for some, but for others it is an unjustifiable expense that prevents them from making a more environmentally-friendly choice. Another example we found was tortilla chips. It is nearly impossible to find a bag of tortilla chips that does not produce at least a small quantity of waste. Short of making your own at home or simply not buying them, there is simply no way around this waste. Though we try our best to reduce waste by using Mason jars instead of plastic tupperware and using homemade, crocheted produce bags instead of plastic ones, we are setting a goal of using zero plastic wrap. We’ve invested in waxed cotton wraps to use on tricky items. Hopefully this will help us keep our food fresh in a more eco-friendly manner.

Another point of discussion we had throughout the month was the idea of reusing, repurposing and revitalizing items. We are both passionate about working with our hands and bringing new life to things that would have otherwise fallen into further disrepair or simply been thrown away. Just this month we have reinforced aging jeans, installed new foam in decaying speakers and upcycled old fabrics into useful items. Not only does this reduce our collective impact on the environment, but it creates a stronger connection with those items that we utilize throughout our day. Repaired jeans hold a personal touch, and speakers that you’ve spent hours repairing sound all the more sweet. While this clearly isn’t something that we can do in all cases, breathing new life into old objects is just one small way we can keep things out of our landfills and make the world a bit greener for generations to come.


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