The second pitfall I actually foresaw in New York, but thought I would find a solution.
Even if you’re buying fruits and veggies in bulk, you have to account for your organic waste. I was so excited to get bulk cherries from the Chinatown market, but had no idea what to do with all the stems and pits. I ended up making a little compost baggie from an old Ziploc I had at home and decided I was going to find a compost dump in Germany. Slowly but surely my plastic bag full of compost started to rot and get smelly. Uncomfortable as it was, I kept it on me. My trash, my responsibility. Soon other pieces of trash found their way into this baggie. It was unavoidable, the floodgates had been opened.
How could I have avoided this? More planning perhaps. We didn’t have time between shows and traveling to go find a compost station. Not having the ability to compost threw me off the zero waste wagon a little bit. Soon I was getting lazy about paper recycling and just started accumulating unwanted objects in my smelly little bag.
DAY 1-6: GERMANY
We landed in Berlin and immediately I felt that being zero waste was going to be way harder than I thought. Not because there’s a ton of trash in Germany - actually it seemed to me that plastic bags were not as normalized here and that people generally lived somewhat simpler, less consumer-based lifestyles.
But fairly quickly we bought our first sandwich sans napkin… boom! Trash. Luckily it was just paper and aluminum. Then I got a drink with a straw in it. At the Berlin Music Video Awards I avoided all drinks in plastic cups. When they offered us a shot of Jaegermeister I tried to get it poured into my cup, but a disposable shot glass was used as a measurement tool.
They also gave us a plastic holder for our names, so I took a ceremonial picture with it and vowed to return it to them so they could reuse it in later festivals.