Families logo

Going Zero Waste while living with your parents

by Jackie Reyes 8 days ago in how to

Tips on how to get your family involved in an environment-friendly lifestyle

Going Zero Waste while living with your parents
Photo by Toni Reed on Unsplash

While studying Urban Sustainability at the University of the District of Columbia, we took an online quiz to check our ecological footprint was. The way it calculates is how many Earths you need if everyone lived the same lifestyle as you do. My results showed that if everyone had my lifestyle, 1.75 Earth would be required to sustain our current population. That's impossible, and I decided to make lifestyle changes to do more for our environment. The catch was, I still live at home, so just me changing my lifestyle wouldn't be as beneficial as my household adapting and evolving.

Here are some things I did:

1. I noticed things my family was already doing. A few examples are we use any old torn/worn out clothing as rags instead of buying some; we purchase clothing and items at the thrift store to repurpose and use them; we try to reduce food waste by using everything we have in our fridge. These are just a few things they do, and those would be things you should uplift and take into consideration.

2. I started a compost pile. The reason this was is to have less trash, which means less dependence on landfills. Composting reduced our weekly waste by so much, not only that it gave us nutrient-rich soil to use for our plants. My dad made ours from scratch with leftover scraps of wood. Which was a perfect way of keeping it sustainable without actually buying a whole new thing to compost.

3. Instead of recycling reuse, in general, in my Hispanic household, my family doesn't recycle. Why recycle if they don't pay me for the glass or aluminum? That the perspective my dad shares with us. We try to extend product life as much as possible, like glass jars, plastic jars, and tin foil. Now we store our bulk items.

These are a few things we did in our household. Of course, education is the most important thing. I believe you can never stop teaching and informing parents of things that would be better options for them, their health, and the environment. Often, we put the environment first for these things, but self-interest is significantly essential to people. Self-interest is the best way to change people's perspectives when you put human health and the environment together.

Other's Opinions Matter

You may need to think that you can make people change habits if they do not want to. But even if they are willing to do small things, you should consider that a win. For example, when I left to go house sitting, my parents got tired of composting because they didn't want to go into the backyard to throw the food waste. Even if they don't support an action or getting new products, you shouldn't feel down about it. Just respect it and have hope they'll change their opinion at their own time.

How Covid help out the Process

Even though we had a pandemic going on, many of the projects I planned thrived. Our compost pile was a hit, and we managed to fill up our compost container to be a viable source of nutrients for our garden this year. We also made a garden that gave us veggies and fruits that were in season. It was a great resource to have since we had less food to have to buy. I also learned different parts of the vegetables that you could eat to create less waste. This past year was a learning experience with the impact our household could make, which was amazing!

Just a Reminder!

Those whose zero waste journey is beginning are about being perfect but trying your best or being perfect. The world itself is just starting to understand changing we need to make, so don't be harsh on yourself. This a journey that never-ending, so just put your best foot forward.

I hope this helps out anyone that's trying to make a change for our Earth!


how to
Jackie Reyes
Jackie Reyes
Read next: Understanding the Effects of Addiction on the Family
Jackie Reyes
See all posts by Jackie Reyes