Penni’s Story

By February 10, 2012 No Comments

Zero Waste is providing relief to a debilitating health condition… Thanks for sharing, Penni! (beautiful backyard you have there!)

“My name is Penni and I live in extreme Northern California. Our home for 35 years has been our ranch and we are ten miles from the nearest small community. A weekly 70 mile round trip is required for almost all shopping. We have been careful to maintain three quarters of our land in a wild state and farm organic hay. We grow a large garden each year, and have a solar net metering system for all domestic use. I’ve been carrying cloth grocery bags for a decade, I recycle, buy organic, hang my laundry in the sun or by the woodstove. All my friends think I am the epitome of “green” and I thought so too, even with the bag of trash I hauled out every night after dinner. I was pretty smug.

When I picked up a Sunset magazine at the acupuncturist’s I was amazed at the idea a zero waste home could even exist in mainstream America, let alone so stylishly. Obviously I was way too smug. We have made many small changes in our household this past year that have reduced our garbage by about half, everything from installing a composter to drinking bulk tea. None have been major and none are particularly time consuming. It is more a matter of making thoughtful choices. I find myself envying the bulk food choices available to the more urban bloggers. Oh to have a Whole Foods Market within driving distance! But in the absence of that I have sought out local sources for soap, lotions, candles, honey, smoked turkey, bread, beer and eggs.

As a long time Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patient my energy is a valuable commodity. Before reading the column on “Guiltlooms” I had already come to the conclusion that the hand me downs, gift books to read, projects to finish and other things I might need sometime were really sapping my ability to enjoy the here and now. It was incredible how draining, how time consuming it all was. CFS affects one’s ability to focus and my house had become impossible to get anything done in.Armed with “permission” from your blog I have sold, given away, worn out and donated nearly 2000 objects. Nothing enters now unless something leaves. What a relief! My home is easier to clean, more beautiful and far more serene. I have even had the energy to take up a little running again, an old favorite pre-syndrome activity.

The information I have gained from the Zero Waste Home blog and the swell of excitement in the voices of the bloggers has encouraged this old environmentalist to take the next step and in doing so it has improved my health and the quality of my life in ways I did not anticipate. Goal for new year…………..get rid of the trash bin entirely!”

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