Would you commit to reducing your waste for just 30 days?

Photo from SPEC’s Waste Reduction page

Zero Waste 30-Day Resolutions

By Mary Bennett

I recently watched this TED Talk by Matt Cutts suggesting we give up on New Year’s resolutions, and just try something new for 30 days. (It’s only three minutes!)

He says 30 days is the right amount of time to create a new habit by adding or subtracting something from your life. Matt is a software engineer (with big credentials). If you’re curious about his 30-day goals, here’s his blog: https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/type/30-days/ and here’s his credentials: https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/about-me/

So for anyone who’s already broken or never made a New Year’s resolution this year, the Environment Committee’s Zero Waste Team would like to encourage you to give this 30-day commitment a try in the effort to reduce your use of single-use plastic. We all intend to bring our own bags and not use Styrofoam, take out cups or… well, you can fill in the blanks with your confession.

The Zero Waste Team got together after the Environment Committee sponsored a Sunday forum presented by Zero Waste Canada going over their program for how organizations can be certified as zero-waste. While people found the forum interesting, what followed a call for more suggestions on what individuals can do. Zero Waste Canada presented a pyramid with Rethink at the top and Recycle only half way down. As many of us know, we can experience a moment of feeling virtuous (well deserved) when we sort our garbage and make sure all the recyclables go into the right bin, but they—and I—think rethinking how we live our lives is the first order of business.

We plan to offer a one-day Zero Waste workshop at the church in the spring. In the meantime, we’re going to offer some suggestions for small steps you—and we—can take to change some of our habits.

We invite you to join us in creating SMART goals for Waste Reduction.

SMART goals are

S – Specific: Goal explains clearly exactly what you want to accomplish
M – Measurable: Has measurable results
A – Achievable: Clarity about how the goal could be accomplished
R – Relevant – Related to waste reduction
T – Time-bound: 30 days

Here are some suggestions gleaned from various posts about reducing single-use plastic. We hope you’ll join us in deciding to add or subtract something for the next 30 days—and maybe start a new habit.

  1. At restaurants ask for your beverage by adding “No straw” or bring your own stainless steel straw.
  2. Carry your own container to restaurants so you can avoid their Styrofoam or plastic ones.
  3. Take mesh bags for putting produce in when you shop.
  4. Find and buy toilet paper that is not wrapped in plastic. (And please let me know where you found it.)
  5. Use reusable cloths instead of paper towels.

Is there something you’re prepared to do differently for the next 30 days? Pick one of the above (or create your own) and let us know: zerowasteucv@gmail.com.

Some References

10 Single-Use Plastic Items You Can Quit Right Now

http://www.waterdocs.ca/water-talk/2017/12/19/8-single-use-plastic-items-you-can-quit-right-now

10 easy swaps for Creating Less Waste

https://goop.com/wellness/10-easy-swaps-for-creating-less-daily-waste/

Queen of Green’s Local Recommendations for Green Newbies

https://www.straight.com/life/792441/industry-expert-david-suzukis-queen-green-lindsay-coulter-shares-vancouvers-greenest

SPEC http://www.spec.bc.ca/waste

(Note: We plan to continue to have a representative from our team attend their monthly meetings.)

The Vancouver Unitarian Zero-Waste Team is: Mary Bennett, Mairy Beam, Eleanore Dunn, Randall MacKinnon, Sandy Riecken, Cathy Sevcik, Teresa Morton. You could join us! Our plan is to focus on actions more than meetings and fun as much as work.


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