Zero-waste Lifestyle – First Steps: Use your own cup and save 10 cents at Starbucks

I recently discovered Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home.  I ordered the book thru the library (of course) and have been reading her blog Zero Waste Home and watched some of the many videos related to this concept on Youtube.  I took the first small step today by bringing my Yeti cup.  I had read that coffee cups are not recyclable because they have both plastic and paper.


It was a pleasant surprise when I saw that I got ten cents off for bringing my own cup.  I look at this as an all-around win.  I get the coffee, get the savings, don’t throw out a cup into a landfill, and have a better container to drink my coffee in.  It stays hot longer.  It transports more easily.

In other small steps –

  • I unplugged the small refrigerator in the basement.  It contains some soda, but I really don’t drink soda and certainly don’t need to use the energy to cool it.  If I want to drink something I can walk up a flight of stairs and get water.
  • I raised the humidity level on the dehumidifier from 35 to 50 which should still inhibit mold growth but use less energy.
  • I measured the water temperature in my hot water heater.  It was 125.  120 F should be enough to kill Legionella without wasting energy or risking scalds.
  • I began to use the Mason Jars to store food instead of in essentially open bags.  I hope that will preserve it (hazelnuts) and lead to less waste.
  • The past couple of days I’ve been using plastic utensils that go into the dishwasher for my lunch at work.  I’ve also been bringing hankies instead of using paper napkins and today I retrieved my two bandanas from the storage area to use for this purpose.

I found the concept of waste reduction appealing.  Lately, with the political chaos, I’ve felt like things were more out of control than usual and I felt that if I could reduce my own use, carbon footprint, and waste production I was taking at least some small but tangible step towards regaining control.

I don’t plan to be “zero-waste” and I think few people will.  I do plan though to be more aware of what I use and what I discard.

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