Boxes = Death (and other musings on Culture Shock: Seattle, the 2014 edition)

The last box has finally been unpacked, I am no longer wearing the same five outfits over and over again (oh, wait…I am wearing my favorite grey shirt again; I guess you could say I’m a creature of habit), I have “real” food in my “real” refrigerator, the cat no longer turns her back to me when I call for her, and I…am officially MOVED.

For those who are still catching up (me, too), I did this:




All the way from sunny California to slightly less sunny Seattle.

And I gotta say that for a conservation / low-waste blog writer, Seattle is a MECCA of awesomeness. But at the same time, I feel less original here. It’s sort of like in a movie where the main character climbs up on the table and goes “ATTENTION EVERYONE, I COMPOST WITH WORMS!!!!” and everyone just looks at the jerk standing on the table for a second and goes back to their conversations.


That’s me on the table, by the way. Arriving in Seattle and proudly announcing my low-waste intentions and everyone going…”So? We do that, too.”

That being said, though, my goal isn’t really to spend a lot of time stroking my own ego and telling myself what a good little non-waster I am. Nope, my goal is simply to reframe my perspective on the consumer culture, planned obsolescence, generation of waste, and homesteading behaviors.

And that being said, I’m going to kick off StreamlinedKT: Seattle Edition with one of my favorites, a top five list.

TOP FIVE THINGS (that I’ve discovered so far) THAT I ADORE ABOUT SEATTLE

Number Five: The Air. The air in this booming metropolis (and in the outlying areas that we were fortunate enough to drive through on our way up from LA) is like a gourmet treat for my hardy little Los Angeles lungs. I swear to god, my lungs have been sipping on it like a fine wine ever since I got up here. I breathe in, and my lungs are like “aaahhhhhh…hints of coriander.” Or whatever. I pick wine by the label, so I’m not really the person to imitate a vintner. But you get the general idea:

Happy frickin’ lungs. And consequently, happy frickin’ body. And happy long-distance runner (coming back from hiatus).

Number FourThe Weather. As a true Pacific Northwest resident, my lips are sealed on this for the most part (don’t move here, guys), but the weather is FUN. In Los Angeles, you wake up and you’re like “what’s the weather like today” and then your eyeballs fry out of your skull when you move aside your blackout curtains to check. Ho hum. Another relentlessly sunny and hot day, and I WOULD like a side of skin cancer with that, thanks for asking. Here? It’s like a little salad bowl of weather: a sprinkle of rain here, a dash of wind there, a generous shake of sun, and some threatening clouds, and you’ve got a day!

Number ThreeThe Restaurants. I was at Taco Time yesterday, which is a family-owned and operated quick food chain. Think Taco Bell, but like a thousand times better and fresher. Going to a place like this would usually be either off limits or a sad day for the low-waste blogger due to the startling amount of trash you amass in a single visit: burrito wrapper (might be compostable, but probably not), waxed drink cup (garbage), plastic straw (garbage), quesadilla wrapper (garbage), napkins (compostable if you squirrel them away and take them with you), plastic bag your food comes in (garbage). At Taco Time (and this pattern is repeated in all restaurants of various types and walks of life), you eat on reusable (washable) plates. When you are done, you walk up to a single trash can, you remove your plate from the tray, and you dump EVERYTHING ELSE into the COMPOST BIN. That’s right: compostable silverware, compostable drink cups, compostable napkins, compostable straw.

Taco Bell Waste Items Count = 6

Taco Time Waste Items Count = 0


Number TwoPlastic Bags Don’t Exist. Seriously! In Los Angeles, there was a RIOT when they banned plastic grocery bags last year. I’m serious!! Like, people stealing bags so they didn’t have to pay and generally creating a ruckus. In Seattle, their response? “Oh, no plastic bags? Cool. I will bring my own”. And we’re done. See how easy that was? The grocery stores even have helpful little signs posted everywhere reminding you not to leave your bags in the car.

Number OnePCC. Natural Foods Market. It’s like Whole Foods, but honest! HAHAHA! And the bulk section is enough to make a grown woman weep. You can buy bulk olive oil, bulk honey, bulk coconut oil, peanut butter, almond butter, spices, flours, sugars, laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, Christ. The list never ends. And the stuff is certified organic, all-natural, meeting the not dangerous criteria, and mostly local or close to local.

And worth noting, this post is in no way comprehensive, as I haven’t even MENTIONED the fact that Farmer’s Markets get permanent city signs directing to you to the year-round, permanent farmer’s markets. Or how nice everyone is up here.

I miss my people in Los Angeles, but I don’t miss much else (so far). It’s nice to live in a place that takes stewardship of our planet and our future seriously and really believes that everyone has an individual part to play in preservation and mindfulness.

❤ Stay cool, friends.


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