Project Green Foot: The beginnings

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“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes…the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~Steve Jobs

Over the last two years or so, we (me and my husband, JP) have been looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. We thought we were doing a pretty good job by recycling, composting, using reusable bags, mugs, cups and water bottles, buying organic/local foods, but we never put too much thought into our waste, where it ended up and what our actual carbon footprint was.

I was continuously wondering if there was more we could do? And of course, the answer was  yes!

We watched No Impact Man, where a family from New York City over one year gradually decreased their carbon footprint to zero. JP turned to me and said “I hope you aren’t getting any ideas. I am not giving up electricity.” We had a good laugh, but little did he know, I was coming up with all sorts of plans! <Insert mischievous laugh here.>

I later stumbled upon, The Clean Bin Project, where fellow Canadians from Vancouver, BC- Jen and Grant and their roommate (Rhyannon) went one full year trying to create zero waste by not purchasing material goods; just food and necessities.

My first though was: I could totally do this. My second thought was: how could I present this to JP in a fun manner to get him on board?

To my surprise, JP was really intrigued by the concept. He became so passionate about our potential project that we have decided to add many more facets than just zero waste.

JP would like this to be a competition to see who creates the least amount of waste in one year. Who is he kidding? Does he really think he will beat me?

This is how Project Green Foot was born!

Project Green Foot will be us attempting to calculate our carbon footprint over the next year by:

  • Keeping a record of the amount of gas we consume in one year.
  • Keeping a record of our electricity consumption at home in one year.
  • Keeping a record of what we purchase (food and necessities) on a weekly basis.
  • Trying to create zero waste by consuming less; actually zero material objects, composting all food scraps at home and outside of the home and recycling everything we possibly can. We will weigh all our trash (if we have any), compost and recycling weekly.

We are well aware there are many other things to consider when calculating our carbon footprint such as the resources and materials used while we are at work, the impact of eating at restaurants, etc, but we will do the best we can with the information we have access to.

In an effort to minimize our carbon footprint, we will also:

  • Use everything we already have in the house. We don’t want to waste anything.
  • Purchase only food and necessities-toothpaste, laundry detergent, deodorant., medication etc. However, we will attempt to make as many of our own products.
  • Not purchase material goods. This means no clothing or fancy shoes, no electronics or the latest DVD’s, no disposable containers or disposable cutlery,  no hair elastics or brushes and most definitely no styrofoam…I am pretty sure you get the picture.
  • Only make purchases with recyclable packaging and avoid excess packaging.
  • Look for alternatives to plastic packaging when making purchases.
  • Compost all waste scraps plus other materials that are compostable at home.
  • Bring home compostable materials to place in our compost bin.
  • Recycle all glass, metal, aluminum, plastic and look for ways to recycle other miscellaneous objects that do not ordinarily go into the recycling bin.
  • Use glassware, if we decide to get take-out from a restaurant.
  • Use cloth towels/napkins’ and  glass straw opposed to disposables.
  • Buy waste-less gifts for others i.e. donate money etc.
  • Encourage others to give waste-less gifts to us.
  • Spend money on transportation, entertainment and experiences (accommodations).

Exceptions:

  • We have a 10 month old daughter. Therefore, within the next year there will most definitely be some things that we will need to purchase for her. We will, however, purchase items only that are necessary, eco-friendly/non-toxic and in minimal packaging.
  • We will not buy unnecessary toys or an overabundance of them.

With all this said, we are kicking off Zero Waste week 2011 in style, by pledging to attempt to create zero waste for one full year while trying to calculate our carbon footprint along the way!

Every Monday I will update you all on our progress!

Disclaimer: This project is for our own entertainment and we are not asking or expecting anyone else to go a full year without purchasing any material products or advocating that we all should never purchase anything again. Eventually my daughter will need some clothing; she is growing like a weed.

We will still spend money on food and necessities, as well as transportation, and the occasional movie or restaurant outing. We will be supporting the local economy by making responsible purchases.

We are not against buying. We simply want to reduce our unnecessary consumerism.

All we want to do is challenge ourselves. We believe that we can all make a difference one green-foot at a time. Some of you might think we are some crazy hippies. And if you do- that’s ok.

It is usually the crazy ones that think change is possible and do, in turn, make a difference. I love knowing we are playing a role in decreasing our impact on the environment, however small it may be.