I'm Zero Waste and I Still Produce Trash

If you go too far down the zero-waste rabbit hole you are going to come to a point where you begin to beat yourself up for not “doing enough”. You will criticize your efforts as falling short and begin to feel helpless.

Social media is really good at showing the highlight reel, and a row of bulk items in mason jars is just so aesthetically pleasing (my own pictures included).

What is challenging to remember is that while “zero- waste” is a catchy slogan for a noble cause, it is nearly impossible reach zero trash produced. Instead, give yourself grace and be proud of how far you have come.

We have reduced our trash by nearly 75% in the last year, but there are still things that week after week make their way into our trash bins. Below I am sharing my five consistent and big offenders when it comes to waste produced and why I deem them “worth” the waste.

see, the aesthetic is all too real

see, the aesthetic is all too real


I have absolutely terrible eyesight. I mean truly awful, it was getting worse and worse every year but has since “leveled out” in the past 3 years. I have about 6 months of dailies contacts left. I primarily wear glasses but opt for contacts on days I have hot yoga or events where I need to, or want to, dress up a bit.

Tofu and Tempeh

As a vegan, it is super important that I take in enough protein. I prefer tempeh and tofu as well as a variety of beans, powder, and the like. However, tofu and tempeh are two things that are consistently packaged and, in our grocery, cart each week. Until I find a place where I can buy a brick of tofu like someone would buy deli meat this is unfortunately the way it has to be.

Dairy Free Cheese

We have vegan cheese recipes that we use pretty regularly but occasionally we will buy a bag of the Daiya shredded cheddar cheese. It is so nice to have this as a topping for tacos or an at home pizza. We treat it as a treat!


Again, I am playing with recipes to make this at home. Coffee is one of my only true vices and I take such joy in my morning cup. When I find a recipe that can provide the same taste as my other creamer, I will forgo the packaged store bought stuff but for now, it has its place in my fridge.

Vitamins and Medicine

Health comes first. I prefer to take the holistic route but getting the right amount of vitamins is important and medicine has its time and place. Health comes first and sometimes that means plastic bottles and paper packaging.



There ya go, the big offenders in our “zero waste” lifestyle. Are there other things that could make the list depending on the time of year? For sure. I think it is important to remember that perfection is never the goal, and that zero waste isn’t truly attainable. Instead we all have to do the best we can to make conscious decisions when shopping and allow ourselves some grace.