I just realized that we missed the 300 day mark! Well, not missed it of course we had it two days ago, but I mean I forgot to make a big deal of it.
Although, maybe that’s fitting. It shouldn’t be a big deal. Zero waste should just be part of the way we live shouldn’t it?
I can tell we’re in the home stretch now because I have been obsessively thinking of things I can buy when the year is up – jeans, toothbrushes, toothpaste, a summer dress, a cake decorating set (don’t ask – I don’t control these desires, they just come to me).
Lots of people have been asking us what the hardest part of this project has been so far. I can’t speak for my roommates, but these are my top three:
1) Having to say NO to stuff. Especially free stuff. I LOVE free stuff. (I used to have a whole drawer full of individually packaged razors I got at a festival, and don’t even get me started about Grant and his sample packs of biore strips.) At conferences, I would go for it all – stickers, pens, rulers, stress balls. “Why not,” I figured. “It’s free!” I have definitely learned that just because there isn’t a price tag, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a cost, and it definitely doesn’t it mean that I need it. I think I really needed a project like this to break me of my free stuff addiction.
And what about gifts? My favorite comment is “well, I’ll just buy it for you then” (ie when the bartender rejects my reusable mug and my compadres who are all sitting around swigging beer out of plastic cups take pity on me). The rules literally do say that we can’t be “buying stuff”, but interpreting that to mean “get others to buy it for you” isn’t the true spirit of the challenge. Still, it’s embarrassing to have to explain yourself all the time, and I’m looking forward to being able to graciously accept the occasional well-intentioned gift regardless of necessity or packaging.
2) Extra preparation is the second most trying thing about this project. Leaving the house? Don’t forget the cloth bags, tupperware containers, and reusable mug. Going hiking? Don’t forget to make granola bars. Going grocery shopping? Better take the bulk bags. Want bread tomorrow. Don’t forget to bake it tonight.
For people who generally don’t plan ahead, we’ve done ok, but I will admit that we’ve had more than one meal consisting of a single food group (example: cereal) because we didn’t have any prepared foods in the house and were too lazy to make something from scratch. We’ve had fabulous weeks where we baked bread and cookies, whipped up gourmet meals, and made granola and yogurt all at once, but the norm has been more like sporadic culinary incidences mixed with a lot of dining out (no napkin please).
3) Making a film about it all. Who knew that making a simple documentary of ourselves would be the hardest part of our year? Getting footage and lugging the camera around either seems alternately to dominate our lives or be completely neglected (“we should be filming this” we always say, but can’t be bothered to go get the camera). I’m kind of kidding. We have, in fact been filming quite a bit, it’s just that it’s awkward to be the subject and the filmmaker at the same time, but I know Grant will work his editing magic, and we’ll end up with something to share with the masses.
The good news about this hardship is that if you want to do a similar project in your own household and you don’t want to film it, one third of your problems are solved!
So, that’s it. Just over 2 months to go. And, inspired by the random but wise fireworks kitty, I think I can make it.