Zero Waste

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much trash our family generates.

It’s a TON! At least one 13 gallon back per day… it might not be crammed full, but it’s full enough to warrant setting it out to be picked up by the guy that collects trash in our RV park every morning. It’s less trash than when we were a family of twelve for sure… but once we’re on our boat in the middle of the ocean where will we store that trash?

I was watching another YouTube sailing channel, Sailing Zatara, and watching the a kid take out the trash in it’s shiny white plastic bag with red plastic drawstring and wondered where she was taking it as they were passaging across oceans. We use those same bags. What am I going to do with them on our boat? On a ten day passage, at our current rate of consumption that would be ten smelly bags of garbage!

The other thought that I’ve had is around what happens to the garbage after I place it in an appropriate trash receptacle.

In the US we have regulated ways to deal with our trash. Even if it ends up in a landfill, those are regulated and we have designated space for them. But that is not the case in many places we’ll be visiting around the world. I can save up my trash on my 2-3 week passage, but what is the tiny island we stop at going to do with it once I put it in the garbage can at the marina?

I don’t actually know that answers to all of the questions wandering through my mind.

As a result of these questions I’m starting to question everything we buy and if I could make better choices. The reality is that these challenges aren’t going to magically disappear when we go full-time on our boat. Making changes now, will help that transition be smoother.

Things I can change:

  • change plastic toothbrushes for bamboo

  • shift to bar soaps instead of plastic bottles

  • use reusable bags for groceries

  • use cups and reusable water bottles instead of plastic

  • use cloth washcloths and towels instead of paper

  • use Tupperware or silicone storage bags instead of plastic bags or tinfoil

  • invest in a reusable razor with blades instead of plastic disposables

  • choosing food with less packaging

  • rethink feminine hygiene products - explore alternatives

These are a few small changes, and while it doesn’t feel like much, if a lot of people made small changes, would add up to something significant. What is one change you could make in your family?

P.S. One change I’m seriously considering is moving to Family Cloth. I’m intrigued but my family is not so thrilled with the idea. We used cloth diapers for the last three of my children, so family cloth isn’t that far out of the relm of possibility and would cut down on things we need to purchase and store while we’re exploring the world.

Never heard of family cloth? Here is a video from one of my favorite YouTube channels explaining how their family does it.