Life without Plastic

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What if Your Roommate Isn't Zero Waste?

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Recently we had a friend move in with us who isn't Zero Waste or Plastic-Free, or a practicing member of our church. Although it's only been a couple of weeks, I've realized how different our lifestyle is. Since our roommate is one of my husband's co-workers, he isn't home much. Soon enough, we'll probably have a talk about how we do certain things.

In reflecting upon our differences, I've hit upon some simple ideas to help us live together as comfortably possible, while still being able to live our zero-waste lifestyle.

Simple Ideas for a "Wasteful" Roommate
  • I've labeled the trash (with No Food Waste warning), compost, and where to put unwanted food (in our house, it's the "Chicken Bucket" in the fridge for giving scraps to the chickens). 
  • Mr. Greenie will be offering to eat any of our roommate's leftovers so that it doesn't need to be given to the chickens. We usually eat up any leftovers before the chickens get them. This will reduce the food waste.
  • As we have the smallest size city trash can, we have to pay very little to toss our small amount of trash. Our roommate however, uses quite a few disposables, including diapers for when he has his son, eats fast food, etc. To cover the cost of additional trash, water, and electricity for leaving on the lights and keeping his basement bedroom "cold" with a personal a/c unit, we have him contribute towards utilities to offset the cost. The thermostat won't go below 78 F.
  • We let him live his life and we live ours, while addressing any questions that arise. While it would be amazing for everyone to adopt zero-waste practices, we don't push. Our roommate is an adult, and has the right to live as he chooses. Want to know the secret to get more people to join the zero-waste movement?....Be a good example! We don't adopt his lifestyle, but we accommodate him where we can. We didn't start our zero waste journey in the middle, and we can't expect that of anyone else.
Plastic-Free July Update-
    It's only been five days of practicing our Plastic-Free July challenge, but so far so good. I haven't left the house much, but when we went out to see a beautiful waterfall, I was able to collect a couple things that were just thrown on the ground. At Mr. Greenie's request, I threw both the cigarette butt and single flosser into the nearby trash rather than collect them for the month. I'm keeping a container in our van for collecting when UG1, UG3, and I are out and about. I may just sneak a couple of pictures before I dispose of whatever we find.

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    What are some ways that you've reconciled different lifestyles into one household?

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