February is the “loviest” month, with Hannah’s birthday, my niece Darcie’s birthday, and Valentine’s Day. Lots to celebrate, and this year I felt like we showed the planet a lot more love, too, by keeping the celebrations pretty eco.
For Hannah’s birthday, we made our own yummy baked donuts instead of a cake (knowing we were going to have cakes with each of our families in celebration later), and I took her to the library. She got one gift – a tricycle that she should be able to use until she’s 5 or so (with a helmet – I guess that’s kind of two gifts). No wrapping necessary (at this age it’s silly anyway, I suppose). We just gave it to her assembled. She loves it. A fun and low-key day.
Valentine’s Day has never been a holiday that is super important to me. I don’t want diamonds, I don’t care about chocolates, and if you get me flowers, get me the kind I can plant in the ground, please. 🙂 So this year we didn’t even exchange cards (except the one Hannah and I made for her dad with scrap paper). I shopped the house for red and pink stuff to decorate the mantle and kitchen shelf. That was the extent of it, and while it felt slightly weird to not really celebrate in any (consumer) way, the day after was so nice because it was over with no guilt.
The majority of our household waste before I began this journey, was food and food packaging. Changing the way I grocery shop has made a massive dent in this, to where any garbage generated is very minimal (almost all the kitchen trash generated is from using up pre-zero waste purchases in the pantry and freezer.) Most new garbage is essentially just produce stickers and milk caps (the bottles are returnable but the caps can’t be recycled). As we use up everything bought before zero waste, we have less and less trash each week. Using it all up is a great exercise in patience. I want a zero waste household NOW! But it’s nice to see how far we’ve come in a short time.
Here’s a list of my zero waste actions and victories in February:
- Made my own tortillas (since they are impossible to find without plastic packaging).
- Made homemade baked donuts for Hannah’s birthday treat.
- Made my own sour cream and yogurt (again, these are only sold in plastic, so making my own was an amazing victory!)
- Made vanilla extract (when did they stop packaging extracts in glass? :()
- Made sauerkraut.
- Bought a reusable mug for fountain sodas (a vice, but this way is less guilt-inducing..)
- Made cloth napkins.
- Got a second-hand bread box for plastic-free bread storage.
- Bought bagels in my own cloth bag.
- Bought bamboo utensils to carry when we are out of the house.