Make Zero Waste a Sustainable, Healthy Habit

NEWS // December 27, 2016

Make Zero Waste a Sustainable, Healthy Habit

A zero waste lifestyle can be one of the most effective ways to promote a healthier way of life. Zero waste means sending nothing to the landfill, but instead reusing or recycling materials.  When shopping, those who live with zero waste in mind buy items in bulk and without packaging to reduce potential waste upfront.  This often means choosing foods and products that are healthier because they are not processed and do not require packaging, like fruits and vegetables or making meals from scratch using staple bulk items. A zero waste lifestyle not only contributes to a more sustainable world but can also help you live a healthier life. 

One of the best places to begin moving toward a zero waste life is in your home. Unfortunately, reducing waste in your home can feel challenging because there are so many places we produce trash. According to the EPA, the average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash per day and much of this waste is a result of habits within the home. By adopting zero waste principles, like making recipes from bulk items, using homemade cleaning products and simplifying beauty routines, the amount of trash sent to the landfill can be reduced. 

“It can be challenging for San Diegans to find the resources they need to start living a zero waste lifestyle,” said Emily Nelson, Education Manager at I Love A Clean San Diego. “That’s why I Love A Clean San Diego decided to create a sustainability series to educate adults and kids on practical ways they can start reducing their waste.”

The I Love A Clean San Diego Zero Waste Workshop Series is in its second year and has taught hundreds of participants how to create a zero waste life. Topics range from the zero waste home to zero waste organics.  Workshop activities include a Swap ‘n Shop where participants are encouraged to bring a gently used item to exchange for another’s goods, sustainable crafts, opportunity drawings and more. The annual series will close with a Zero Waste Summit in early summer 2017 at the Ocean Knoll Farm in the City of Encinitas and will include guest speakers, exhibitors and activities for all wishing to participate.

The first year of workshops was an experiment to gauge the interest level for zero waste workshops. After surveying participants and stakeholders and finding that interest in the topic was strong, I Love A Clean San Diego sought to be a leader in zero waste education. The series has expanded into Chula Vista and includes additional sustainability activities like bike repair demonstrations, free giveaways and special guests.

Participants have used the knowledge gained during the workshops to make positive changes for themselves, their families and the environment.

“The instructors challenged participants to make one zero waste change based on what they learned during the workshop,” said Steven Zampanti, participant at the 2016 ILACSD Zero Waste Summit. “I decided I never wanted to use disposable chopsticks again because they go straight to the landfill. I’ve been refusing the disposable chopsticks and bringing my own out for sushi ever since.”

Join I Love A Clean San Diego for their next workshop in Encinitas on Saturday, January 28th. Zero Waste 101: Home will cover zero waste grocery shopping, eating out, gift giving, snack making and more. Special activities include a kids’ craft corner, succulent planting in recycled containers, a Swap ‘n Shop and an opportunity drawing. You can register for the workshop here.

Article submitted by Pia Piscitelli, Marketing Manager, I Love A Clean San Diego.