Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Zero Waste Lent

Over the past month Alyssa and I have renewed our efforts to create less trash. It's a hard task when you have three kids and live busy lives, but we hope to get closer and closer to living a lifestyle where all of our waste is either composted, recycled, given away, eaten by us and our animals, or burned for heat. Today I shared this with my pastor friends at lunch during our monthly day at Saint Paul of the Cross Monastery. I thought it could be a good Lenten fast - go 40 days without creating any contributions to the landfill. There response was an avid "Go for it!" So here we go! Honestly, I already know that there are things going into our trash cans here at home. Some of our biggest problems are food packaging, much of which we can't recycle. But we are have purchased reusable produce bags and containers to use when buying from the bulk bins at our local food co-op. We've found laundry detergent, body soap, and liquid soap that can be purchased in bulk with no waste. Here's a picture of some biodegradable laundry detergent in a mason jar.

Why are we doing this? Well, it's pretty obvious, I'm sure... we're crazy. And because we are filling our earth and our oceans with plastic, bottles, bags, residue... jellyfish in the Pacific have been found with plastic chemicals in the cells of the bodies due to the high content of plastic bags in certain parts of the sea. I believe we should always ask ourselves what our actions will lead to if we continue them for another one hundred years. What will our planet look like if we continue creating 1460 pounds of trash every year (thats the average for each of us in the United States per year). During Lent we're going to use these 40 days to see if we can't reduce our trash so that by Easter we've figured out household rules and systems that will help to our part to help the planet and our children and grand children who will have to live with our non-biodegradable junk.

To start with we do have a head start. We've been using cloth diapers about 50% of the time, now we try to move to 100%. We compost, feed food waste to our chickens and compost their manure, and we have worms that eat other food waste. We have lots of glass containers and reusable bags for purchasing from bulk at the market. We also have parents who live where you can recycle plastic 6 and 7, here in the city they take 1 - 5 plastics, aluminum, steel, glass, and pretty much all paper and cardboard.

Lenten fasts are supposed to challenge us and remind us of the sin in our lives that we desire to change. The sins of consumerism, wastefulness, greed and apathy will be on our minds often as we attempt to make these changes. The pictures on show the detergent in a mason jar (probably need a larger container, wanted to try it out first), oranges in a reusable bag to avoid the plastic at the store, and our worms eating away our garbage and making fertilizer for Garfield Community Farm seedlings.

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