This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. When you live in a suburban, slightly conservative area, how do you bring zero waste to people's attention? How do you participate in your area's environmental community? How can you find like-minded people near you? Although it is difficult to make national environmental changes, there is a lot to be done in our local communities that can make a difference.
1. Pick up trash
Make it a point to pick up trash when you go on walks or bike rides. Check local Facebook pages and groups to see if their is a community clean up you can join. Organize a local cleanup with friends.
2. Shop at your local farmers market
Supporting your local farmers market is super important. Even in our suburban area, we have an awesome organic farmer who comes to our farmers market. The more business the farmers market gets, the more it is likely to expand its offerings and attract more farmers and vendors.
3. Add local bulk stores to the Bulk App
Help out other people in your area who are looking for zero waste solutions. Add any local stores that offer bulk in your area to the Bulk App. (And they don't have to be just bulk grocery stores--a looseleaf tea place that lets you bring your own containers, a brewery that allows you to refill growlers, etc. can all be added.)
4. Get involved
What environmental programs does your community offer? A community garden? Composting? Find out, and participate! Does your town or city have an environmental commission? Go to any public meetings. Get informed about the environmental issues going on in your area.
5. Find out what your town recycles
Reycling isn't the solution, but sometimes there are items that can't be found in bulk locally. (For me, that's bulk liquids and baking soda). Check what your community actually accepts for recycling. You many be surprised what is (and isn't) recycled. Recycling is a business, and recyclable items that don't have a high enough value are often not recycled. Our county doesn't recycle aluminum foil or chipboard (the material cereal boxes and baking soda boxes are made of). I have to compost my baking soda boxes. Just because you put it out on the curb for recycling doesn't mean it's going to get recycled. Share this information with friends and family. "Hey, did you know our town doesn't recycle ______ ?"
You can usually find this information on your town or county's website.
6. Find other zero wasters near you
Sometimes being committed to zero waste can feel like a lonely endeavor, especially if you are not living in a major city or an environmentally minded community. Search Facebook for zero waste groups in your local community. If there are none, make one and share with friends and local community groups.
How have you found ways to help zero waste in your community? Have you found other like-minded people nearby?