Zero Waste Week Two: What Goes Out Must Come… DAMMIT!

I once dated this guy. His name is Captain America.

Okay, his name is not Captain America. But he was a captain in the Army and he’s just as cute as Chris Evans, so that’s the nom de plume he’s been awarded. Captain America and I now friends… but that’s a story for another day. Yesterday he picked me up for lunch and a few hours in Fort Tryon Park… but that’s a story for tomorrow or whenever I have time to finish writing it out.  But part of our conversation centered on figuring out how this current Zero Waste Challenge fits into the greater ethos of my life. And I have some pretty major revelations about this particular Challenge and how it fits into this Year of study overall only two weeks in.

Captain America and I both eat to fuel our bodies: protein, vegetables, fat, and raw fruit. Moderation and fun with food are in there, too — burgers and fries and sorbet happened at our lunch, along with Bellinis… okay, he ate all that stuff. But French fries and potato chips are one of my reasons for living currently and food is my friend — but for the most part we both look to whole, healthy food to keep all of the things inside of us run as powerfully as possible… despite the fact that he’s Captain America and I typed from bed four days this week.

But combine a desire for healthy, whole food with this body I live in and a Zero Waste Challenge, and I just. don’t. know. how. much. of. this. I. can. handle. But first…

Here’s What Went Out This Week:

That picture up top is my garbage. I was worried I was putting more in the trash when compared to last week, but it ends up my non-recyclable or compostable trash totalled out at only 3 ounces this week, compared to 5.1 ounces last week. This week, it was made of:

  • Pasta bag… which I had in the pantry before this started.
  • Empty flower pot that was given to me for Valentine’s Day.
  • Cloth and metal tags and plastic tag ties from two new pair of jeans and a new tank-top, which I’d aspired to buy secondhand but… well, this goes into the whole sustainable question of the Challenge that will come later in massive Conclusions post somewhere.
  • Tops to almond butter and a Vitamin E oil bottle.
  • Plastic wrap and tags from a vitamin delivery (which doesn’t count, but still weighing it).
  • Broken hair clip – sniff.
  • Bag from Mitra’s bully sticks… this was $8 for four at TJMaxx a few weeks ago… those suckers are $5-6 a piece in a bin at every pet store I go to – sniff.
  • Empty bag from very old dried hibiscus flowers… the bag was too congealed with various kinds of tea and honey to be cleaned and used again.
  • Tray and plastic from Brussels sprouts bought two weeks ago.
  • And very tags from buying vegetables in bulk because I didn’t think through that if I want to use the fast scanner so that I don’t have to talk to people at Stop & Shop that means I have to print myself a ticket…. Now that I think of it, I can weigh them at the end! Lesson learned for next time!


What Came In This Week

I needed coffee, eggs, butter, vegetables, and meat. That’s what’s up there.

Captain A. and I had discussed the expense of going to a butcher shop, but I have to say, my ticket at Harlem Shambles did not slay me. For $54.39, I got: 3 pounds of grass-fed ground beef wrapped only in paper for $7 a pound (that I get at the cheapest at $6.50 elsewhere); a dozen pasture-raised eggs at $6 a dozen ($2 cheaper than the equivalent at Stop & Shop); a gorgeous pork tenderloin at $9 a pound (which came to a little over $12 and is therefore on par with what I would have bought at Trader Joe’s, but of much higher quality and, again, wrapped only in paper); 1 pound of sheep liver at $9 a pound (I’d expected to get chicken livers in a plastic container I could recycle but they were out, and I’m feeling really sick and anemic so I need liver… it had to come in a plastic bag…); and a tub of grass-fed butter.

The vegetables and coffee I got at a nearby shop; the coffee not in bulk because they were all out of bulk coffee! The bins were like a siren call to the second floor, and their emptiness like a spear to the gut. So I caved and bought a new can which will now be the one I refill in the future.

So going back to the thing:

I walked this little picture’s worth of stuff there about eight city blocks, from the stores to my “Body Love Power Hour”: a combo of reiki, massage, and reflexology done monthly where I get acupuncture when I can afford it. I’d shopped smart, not buying too much and weighing them out evenly in shoulder bags. But by the time I got halfway to my destination… ow.

By the time I tore off the bags and slunk into a chair…. ow times ten. Captain America I am not.

My body is just not at the place where I can schlep groceries. It just isn’t. And since part of this Year is about cultivating healthier choices for my wiped body, I can’t justify expending energy I don’t have to go further to stores for food, and then physically hauling the lot home. I have to watch out for my own health, as well as the health of the planet.

I’m not throwing in the towel: I’m just noticing that this Challenge means something different to a body not at full capacity. And so I’ll adjust. I don’t know how, quite yet, but I’ll figure it out. This is all about figuring things as I go, and making smarter choices. Were it about discipline and sticking to the letter of the law, I’d have set either my body or this Challenge up for failure. Long-term growth, I continue to realize, has much more value.

Week two… yay.



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