Wrapping it up part II

Keeping a zero waste journal this year has been a godsend — I look like I’d be organized, but if I don’t have things written down, they just don’t happen. Sometimes they still don’t happen, as I’m realizing by flipping through its pages.

One of my goals was to zero waste our cat situation. After Skilly died, I did a lot of research on this for when our next cat(s) found us, with help from our friend Jewel. I thought I had it all figured out — how to make zero waste cat food using chicken from the meat counter — and was making decent headway on the cat litter question by the time Pearl joined the household in October.

Nope, the view of Mount Hood NEVER gets old.

And then Eric said that he wasn’t comfortable feeding her raw food twice a day — we’d been “free feeders” in the past with dry food — and I just kind of gave up. On food and litter. That’s a personal problem, the giving up when I get frustrated or when things don’t go as planned. I’m still working on that.

One thing we are doing that’s okay-ish is canned cat food — those tin cans can be endlessly recycled, at least. But bagged food is still under the kitchen sink.

I also never called that second family meeting to see what the other three members of the Walker Four thought they could give up on the non-consumable front. Kind of the opposite of the family meeting I called at the beginning where they got to keep one consumable. Bathroom supplies have been the hardest obstacle to overcome for all of them. I’ve never asked why.

I’d hoped to find low waste alternatives to toothpaste and floss; can’t say I’ve had too much success, especially since I want to stay away from toothpowders. I’ve made some headway on makeup, but only marginally. When my mascara is finished, that will be back on the table, and I never did figure out eyeshadow.

Nor did I make a true reusables kit for work. Although my mug, spoon and jar have gotten me by thus far.

Well, those can be Year 2 goals.

Maybe that’s another reason I don’t like to be called a model zero waste family — because it’s still in progress. With minimalism, yeah, bring on the title — because that movement is what you make it. That’s also true for zero waste, to an extent, but also not: You’ve got your trash can and recycling bins as a marker of where you are. We are definitely minimalists. We are working on zero waste.

I’m good with the journey and the day-to-day aspect of it all. I’m trying to be proud of where we are and what we’ve accomplished, and the habits that are now in place. I’m trying to be better about talking about it in real life. I’m grateful the family has embraced it as much as they have.

Things haven’t changed since our year officially ended April 15. And I don’t see them ending after I quit blogging here. There’s still so much to do.


More stories from the home front:

Abby got a summer job as a cashier … and immediately started working because they were desperate for help. That’s been a good life lesson, how to juggle school and work — her classes are stinkin’ hard, the smart little thing. Anyway, she’s been taking her own lunch and snacks in reusable containers without even thinking about it, so hey, some proof that this year has rubbed off on her!

Speaking of Abby, our church had a kermes (Mexican carnival) on Sunday and before heading to Mass, she was like, do you have a container? Dad gave me money for tamales. MORE PROOF! Zero waste packaging and tamales? It’s like I’m being rewarded for good behavior.

Our church’s annual rummage sale each June is a Walker Family highlight — kind of like Christmas in reverse because it generally takes weeks to prepare, but we’re taking stuff out instead of bringing stuff in. Anyway, we got word this weekend that we’re allowed to start bringing in our stuff, and Eric leaned over and was all, usually by this time of year, the box room (what we call our utility room, also known as That One Room Where We Hide All The Crap) is full, but this year there’s really not much down there. I guess it’s true that we don’t have as much to shed anymore. There’s some books the girls have outgrown, and some clothing, but that’s really about it. I’m grateful. I generally have two or three full carloads (trunk and backseat). I’m not sure how much of this is because of our Simple Year and how much is minimalism finally starting to pay off. I don’t really think it matters.

I’ve been having ridiculously good salads for lunch this week, thanks to our farmers’ market lettuce. Also I’m wondering if salad turnips are a regional thing because I didn’t know that was weird. I’ve never seen them in stores, just the markets.

We’ve had some gorgeous weather lately. That has nothing to do with zero waste at all, I’m just finally warm. After this winter (HERE are photos in case you forgot), I was afraid I’d never be warm again.


V, no one has been able to answer the tomato question. I’m going to keep trying and I’ll email you the answer. And then update this post. 😉 I want to know the answer, too — because I’ll be canning tomatoes again this year. (To recap: Why did her tomatoes taste metallic? And why has it been so hard to find out?)

UPDATE: Tina in the comments cracked the mystery! Thank you!

The metallic taste usually comes as a result from overcooking tomatoes.  Cheaper brands of canned crushed tomatoes, sauce, or paste often have this taste.  Use top quality whole canned peeled tomatoes.  Crush, chop, or make into sauce yourself.

Next up: I’ve got one last post, my friends. I’m feeling kind of … nostalgic. And surprisingly sad. But ready. I’m also truly excited that our next blogger will be introduced next week — it’s going to be a really, really great project!