Abbie’s Zero Waste Week Challenge


I really liked this challenge because it felt achievable yet still made me think a lot about my habits.

I already recycle and reuse most everything I can, but I am currently not set up to compost much here in my Frederiksen Court apartment, so that was a bit challenging. Hopefully the worms in my tiny DIY compost bin can handle the food waste I put in there over the week!

I noticed that most of my waste was food or health/beauty related. Food often comes with a ton of packaging, especially when you buy a sandwich for lunch or dinner! I also realized I create a lot of waste with the bags from my cereal. Maybe I can find a way to reuse these, but otherwise I’m not quite sure how to avoid this trash without having a less healthy, less convenient breakfast.

I eat convenience foods because I’m busy but still want to stay healthy and not skip meals. But they also come with a lot of packaging so I need to plan ahead better and make sure that I make the time to pack a lunch and/or dinner whenever possible. A lot of days when I did eat at home or pack a lunch I threw away almost nothing, which was very exciting!

I did still have to throw away dental floss and cotton balls (which I already rip in half to use less of them!) used for removing makeup. Now I’m really interested in reusable alternatives for cotton balls so that I can lessen my consumption of cotton, which is an environmentally-unfriendly crop. I might even look into something similarly reusable for tissues – if I can get over the grossness of that!

I was really frustrated when there weren’t reuse or recycling options or even alternatives for some products. Things like medical packaging are hard to avoid, and that type of packaging can’t often be reused safely.

My takeaways from this challenge are:

  • There are a lot of ways I can change my daily habits to reduce my waste production, even though I already recycle everything I can and rarely buy single-use materials.
  • I have to realize that there are products I have to use to be healthy, and if I can’t find alternatives to them, that’s okay.
  • I’ll plan ahead for food as much as I can, but my health should always come first. I don’t need to feel bad about picking up convenience food on a day where when I’m really busy and tired!

Overall I liked having a visual representation of my waste, and it really made me think about all the waste I create, the energy I use, and the food waste that I’m not currently able to compost.

I’m almost tempted to keep doing this challenge beyond the week just so I am constantly reminded of my waste!