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It’s no secret that we are facing some challenging times and I’m not just talking about CORVID-19. Not to downplay the seriousness of this issue dominating the airwaves as of late but it is also important to keep calm and carry on. CORVID-19 has certainly impacted things on a global scale and will make a lot of things challenging for individuals and the public at large. Trying to find some sense of normalcy in a world awash in uncertainty leads me back to my familiar mental confines of the Toward Zero Waste world. It makes me feel better thinking and working on something where there seems to be positive steps toward better outcomes.

Recycling markets are in the tank and we and we continue to generate lots and lots of trash. Where are the bright spots you ask? Well, I have noticed as of late we are finally having real conversation about waste reduction, single use plastics, surplus food recovery and extended producer responsibility. These conversations are happening with an increased frequency and vigor and in many cases are going beyond just talk. Numerous acts of legislation are in the works that will undoubtedly make positive impacts whether it is single use plastic bans or direct and cooperative efforts from governmental agencies to encourage food producers to donate surplus foods.

These are all good steps in the right direction and hope they continue to gain momentum and lead to real world solutions. While these solutions gain steam it is important not to lose site of the fact that we as individuals still have a major role in how this all plays out. In our daily lives we make many choices – we choose what we buy, where we shop, what to eat and how we play. In most cases we choose what stores we support, what products we think are most suitable and how we spend our dollars.

Which leads to my next point – what are you doing to watch your waste? In the waste world individuals play a key role and we have more than a few levers we can pull. Here are some thoughts for thinking intentionally about waste. Research the companies you buy from and learn of their sustainability and waste practices. Do they support your values and to you like what they stand for? Consider purchasing in bulk or working to buy products with less plastic packaging and research the alternatives. Take the food waste challenge and actually measure the amount of food waste you produce for week (or longer). I guarantee you will find some savings both in terms of environmental resources but also financial. Watching your waste isn’t all drudgery – it can be fun and informative and at least for me in this current topsy-turvy time helps me feel like I’m in control of something!

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