How my sister inspired me to work towards being a Zero Waste Family
Zero waste is not something that happens overnight or in a weekend or even within a month!
The idea can be overwhelming –
How can we change our lifestyle so drastically?
Will it really be worth our efforts??
Here’s how my sister inspired me to make changes at home!
Once upon a time I had been diligent in recycling and I refused plastic bags at every store I went to.
Then I got discouraged.
The trash man would also take our recycling – I would call the waste company and get a different lie every time. This went on for about a year and I finally stopped recycling – what was the point? I started using plastic bags again- what was the point not to?
And then my sister came for a visit.
She told me about how her and her family are working towards zero waste. I was inspired!! She told me how they bought toilet paper with zero packaging, reuse glass bottles as water bottles, and are buying food at bulk stores.
Sonja also told me how she had had made HUGE changes at the hospital she works as a nurse! This is her story as told in a series of texts!
Here is the organizations website … I learned about them through a man at church who runs the nonprofits “love the hungry” and I attended a SOS brunch to learn more about them. I was super nervous to attend but I thought it was going to be this small little event where they had donuts and a poster board…. boy was I wrong —- there was event parking and hundreds of people and a sit down brunch.
I immediately felt intimidated and went to the coffee station but somehow while trying to blend in and be a wallflower I ended up meeting delegations for Nigeria …. there is a picture and I ended up getting in and it was published in their newsletter…. I’ll attach the link for that ….
anyways after learning about their mission I thought – reducing trash and medical missions??? This organization was made me for me!!! Lol I spoke and met with the head lady and toured their facility and was blown away at all the medical supplies they divert from the land fills and send to those in need.
Looking over their website you can see pictures of their warehouse where they sort items and store them till they are shipped
This is the news letter where I ended up in a picture with the Nigerian delegations
I wanted to get my hospital involved because I saw first hand how much we throw away as a facility …. we discharge a patient and there are unopened materials left in their room and it will just all get thrown away!!!
But now we just wipe it down and put it in a collection bin where it can be used for good!!
Don’t get me wrong I believe that in the medical world there is some necessary waste for the sake of cross contamination but we can make efforts to decrease the waste! For example our pharmacy brings all our medications in zip lock baggies into our med room … hundreds of baggies get used for 20 minutes then thrown away…. I started a collection bin for the baggies and SOS uses them for packing material and sorting smaller items …
To help my hospital get some momentum to collect I got a grant from Thrivent Finiancial for $250… I used that money to help build awareness and to buy needed items for SOS to aid them in collecting and sending our items … there is a picture of the stuff we purchased for SOS and the trifold I made to advertise SOS …. it’s on this link
The biggest thing I think is just taking a step towards your beliefs and what you find important- it’s scary to take that first step but it can be baby step and see where it takes you- God gives us unique passions and gifts and using those we can do so much to make a difference and show Christ’s Love – I know God loves his creation because he promises to come back and redeem it all and He invites to be part of that redemptive work.
Also after learning and getting involved SOS I saw how they were able to do so much because of so many small steps of actions and it motivated me to make small steps as a family to move towards zero waste.
I saw first hand how small steps can lead to change and big impacts!
“Sonja Weber, a nurse at Baptist Health LaGrange, has helped her hospital to organize the collection of surplus supplies to be donated to SOS. Additionally she organized the use of excess funds to purchase items vital to the SOS collection process!”
MY SISTER DID THAT!! Not only did she stop usable items from going into the landfill, she sent them to another country that desperately needed them!
I’m so proud of Sonja and she encourages me to make changes in my life!
I may not be making such a large impact as Sonja has done with the medical supplies, but EVERY LITTLE CHANGE adds up to big results!
Changes we have made as a family.
1. I sewed a bunch of cloth napkins.
I’ve done be this before, but my German Shepard Daisy, kept eating them 😳 so, we were down to just a handful! I tripled our supply and found a new place to store them.
Also, now that the kids help with the laundry, wash clothes are washed the same day which means Daisy doesn’t have a chance to eat them and we always have a clean supply!
2. I sewed a whole roll of unpaper towels, complete with snaps!
3. We started recycling again and using paper trash bags.
The recycle bin is a metal vintage trash can. It’s small which requires frequent dumping into the recycle cart outside, but it gets the job done, looks cute to me, and fits in our small kitchen.
The trash can was an amazing estate sale find! The lady’s uncle had made it and a paper bag fits exactly inside! It was literally what we were looking for- and it was $1!!! (The best part is the cats can’t get into it – if there is a bag, they think they need to sleep in it LOL)
4. I made flannel toothbrush holders.
This may seem odd, but in my house toothbrushes were being wasted. They would fall by the toilet (gross- throw that away) or the toothbrush would be lost (go get a new one). Now everyone keeps their toothbrush in their little snap bag and we haven’t replaced a toothbrush since!
5. I made beeswax cloths and bags
Beeswax cloth is super easy to make… you just melt beeswax in the oven onto your fabric of choice! The beeswax makes it so the fabric is no longer breathable- so you can seal food in the cloth to keep it fresh! Bread doesn’t get stale either!! It’s awesome 😍
I even made zipper bags and only melted the beeswax into the lining of the bag! These act more like plastic baggies and are super convenient!
Those are our big changes we have currently made! No double I’ll be revisiting the Zero Waste theme often in my blog!
What have you done to reduce waste? I’d love to read it in the comments!!