Need encouragement!

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Kiah Kiah
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Need encouragement!

Hi everyone! I'm a 19 year old freshman in college living in Nebraska. I've learned so much about the environment, recycling, and waste management in a couple of my classes, which has motivated me to do my own research. I've done a lot of research about the zero waste lifestyle and I'm ready to begin the shift towards zero waste. As a college kid, I'm finding it very frustrating. I don't always have enough money to buy ingredients to make my own products, such as toothpaste. Also, I don't have a kitchen to prepare concoctions or make snacks to avoid packaging. I'm also on the go a lot so I find myself eating snacks from packaging and buying food from Subway or Jimmy Johns.
In short, I'm getting frustrated because I have all the motivation to start now, but my budget and living situation are saying differently. Anyone got some encouraging words to share?
blancmama1 blancmama1
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Re: Need encouragement!

My advice would be lift where you stand. If your budget is a major factor, than make more free or cheap changes first. Refuse is the first step and major difference between the zero-waste waste lifestyle and other eco-friendly changes, so start there. 

If you eat out a lot, then buy a cheap plate at a thrift store or dollar store and try to use it when you eat out instead of their packaging. Try to tackle junk mail. Join a Buy Nothing Project group on Facebook for things you normally purchase or use FreeCycle or Craigslist. https://buynothingproject.org/about/

See if there is a Food Not Bombs group that you can get food from that would normally be thrown away in grocery stores.  http://foodnotbombs.net/new_site/contacts.php

If you're more adventurous, try trash picking for household items or even food.

After those kinds of changes, then you can make your own makeup or tooth powder, etc. in an upcycled container with cheap ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, (for cleaning and tooth powder) cocoa powder, cinnamon, arrowroot powder, etc. Eco-friendly doesn't have to mean spend a fortune. 

Best of luck and enjoy the bounty of the community around you!

On Apr 10, 2017 9:57 PM, "Kiah [via .]" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi everyone! I'm a 19 year old freshman in college living in Nebraska. I've learned so much about the environment, recycling, and waste management in a couple of my classes, which has motivated me to do my own research. I've done a lot of research about the zero waste lifestyle and I'm ready to begin the shift towards zero waste. As a college kid, I'm finding it very frustrating. I don't always have enough money to buy ingredients to make my own products, such as toothpaste. Also, I don't have a kitchen to prepare concoctions or make snacks to avoid packaging. I'm also on the go a lot so I find myself eating snacks from packaging and buying food from Subway or Jimmy Johns.
In short, I'm getting frustrated because I have all the motivation to start now, but my budget and living situation are saying differently. Anyone got some encouraging words to share?


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Jay Jay
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Re: Need encouragement!

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In reply to this post by Kiah
Congratulations for thinking about this!
A few ideas:
Instead of packaged "snacks" buy apples, whatever fruit you can get at a store, or grab some at your college's cafeteria. Also, obviously eating at your campus' cafeteria is cheaper, more zero waste. I used to stash a bag of apples, tangerines in my dorm room -worked great.
If you *have* to go to a prepared food place, use your own container, refuse what's unnecessary. Read about what's actually in that food, too; It'll ruin your appetite.
Also, I'd be surprised if there wasn't the option to recycle compostables, paper, etc. on campus. If there is no recycling it's a worthy issue to pursue (in your "spare time").
Use a canteen/thermos instead of bottled water.
Ditch straws altogether (follow the link and you'll swear off them forever!)
Carry a scarf or napkin for multiple uses: for carrying (fruits, prepped food), wiping your [clean] hands in the lavatory, as well as more traditional uses.
You don't need a kitchen to make tooth powder. Also, you can buy -through Etsy, etc- bar shampoos, ZW lotions, lip balm, etc. Cardboard is more eco friendly than plastic so go for laundry soap, whatever, packaged in paper rather than plastic. You can always transfer manageable amounts to a smaller durable container….
Don't print out anything unless you have to. Buy secondhand books, resell when done. Reuse paper, envelopes for notes, whatever, recycle when completely used. Ignore Fast Fashion -jeans are always fashionable...
Just a start :))
Bet you're doing some of these already because ZW makes economical sense as well as environmental sense.
Amanda Amanda
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Re: Need encouragement!

In reply to this post by Kiah
You're not alone!
I am a college student preparing to transfer to a large university this fall. I literally just learned about zero waste a few weeks ago and my lifestyle has already changed drastically. I feel the same frustration over affording some food items. At the new university my diet will be restricted by price, but I know I can at least favor foods in less/recyclable packaging. Read through the blog posts and use the advice there. Don't be too disheartened if some of your experiments fail. Recently I just discovered that my homemade tooth powder is too irritating to my gums and teeth so I have to experiment with adding more coconut oil. Also, haunt the thrift stores. I found an old cotton sheet at goodwill that I am turning into a set of cloth napkins. Remember that every bit of waste reduction counts. Try not to stress too much and good luck! I'm sure we both can implement zero waste changes for the rest of our lives.
Cmssultana Cmssultana
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Re: Need encouragement!

In reply to this post by Kiah
How did April turn out? When I first discovered Bea Johnson's book I made a list of what I wanted to do by area (toiletries, cooking, shopping, homecare, etc.) and as I made durable replacements or entirely dropped something's I crossed them off my list. Where I implemented new things I added those then monitored to see how they worked. None of my tracking cost money and likely saved some. It also helped me focus my progress on what I wanted to do. Check back here with your wins and fails! This forum can be a helpful resource.

One thing we have where I live is TrashNothing.com. Look for similar where you live aka freecycle. Get free things before they go to reuse center or goodwill. For Free. Ours has option to post description of what you are looking for, too.

As for the lack of kitchen, here's an idea that might help... First, make friends with someone (with a kitchen) who wants to meal prep, locate containers, buy supplies and cook together in their kitchen. YouTube has many videos walking you through process. You will need a dorm room fridge for most, though.
Josereyes69 Josereyes69
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Re: Need encouragement!

In reply to this post by Kiah
Don't be discouraged keep on keeping on .  You are making an effort and that is more than most.  
coldswim coldswim
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Re: Need encouragement!

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The big lifestyle changes you should focus on are these:

*  Buy GMO produce and don't support organic farming or organic products like clothes, organic is a marketing gimmick and nothing more.

*  Don't drive a car or drive as little as possible.  

*  Stop eating animal products.

*  Work towards socialist revolution and against capitalism and imperialism whenever you can.

Those four  things alone will have a larger impact than anything else you do so don't get caught up in the minutiae of anything else.