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What is Fort Negrita?
It's your future home. 

Fort Negrita is a myth to matter place that composites an online zero waste store, a blog of Earth-advocating tips, and trash free projects in Atlanta.

  • Check out the online store for zero waste essentials like bulk grocery bags and reusable menstrual pads, but save some stuff for the next Citizen. ;-)
  • Start going zero waste today with how-tos, inspiration and demos on my blog, the thing that kicked off this whole life in the Fort. 
  •  Live in Atlanta? Check out the ATL Zero Waste Guide for where to shop in the city trash free. 

Learn more about the Fort here.

Who are you?
I'm Ree, Citizen of the Fort. You can learn more about me here. Email me: fortnegrita[at]gmail[dot]com.

So you fit 8 months of trash in a Mason jar, I don't believe you, how does this work?
There's two major ways that I'm able to practice the zero waste life.

One, I never leave the house with out my 3 zero waste essentials: a reusable cup, a fork or spoon and a cloth napkin. I share all of this in this article "Zero Waste Starter Park"

Two, I only shop in two sections of the grocery store: the fresh produce aisles and the bulk section. I only buy unpackaged produce and bring my own containers and jars for the bulk section. I did a how-to video, check it out here.

Other ways that my zero waste life works is I compost my kitchen scraps (which takes up 35% of landfill waste), borrow instead of buy, or buy secondhand.

Wait, WTF is zero waste?
Zero waste, also known as trash-free or waste-free, is a budding culture driven by conscious observation of waste consumption. It is also a silent protest to all companies that do not support sustainable practices.

More than anything, zero waste is trash prevention.

By not buying items in packaging or made of plastic or disposables, you decrease waste production including virgin materials, fossil fuel extraction and landfill space.

Here's a blog post that goes into more detail.

Why zero waste?
I'm owning up to my trash. Really simple.

Hmmmm, no trash… WAIT! What about toilet paper?
Obviously my most frequently asked question and for obvious reasons, right? I'm a normal-looking person, and you find out I'm living this magical life and you figure you can do it too. So you meddle in your mind whether or not this life is for you, and sure you think pizza boxes… toothpaste…. toil- wait!

I do use toilet paper, and just like everything else I put in 'that' bowl, it decomposes and filters. I buy the toilet paper in plastic packaging and as a last resort, recycle the plastic.

Here's a full article on that.

What about the time of the month?
One of the most liberating experiences in my life, aside from declaring my zero waste life and my stint in Ecuador, has been going zero waste with my feminine products. Why you ask?!?! Well, we all have heard something along the lines of disposable feminine products having health implications. "If you leave you tampon in too long you will get TSS" or "Change your napkin often so the chemicals on the surface don't infect your skin." Isn't it crazy with all the technology advancements that no one has taken the time to give women a safe, trustworthy product?! There are plenty of patriarchal implications piled up in the feminine product industry: including lack of women CEOs, women engineers and scientists experiencing glass ceilings, and society's 'gross' culture around menstrual cycles.

Not to mention, if they gave you a product that last a lifetime, they'd lose customers.

I say all this to say, I use reusable products including sea sponges and reusable cloth napkins, which I talk about in a video post here.

So I have to give up on my beauty products?
When you say beauty products, what do you mean? Because my beauty products are more like kitchen ingredients so it's a bit different. I make my own toothpaste, shampoo, body butter and mascara. I'm learning to make a competent lip stain and eyeliner. So be on the look out, all my beauty queens.

I'm interested in the zero waste life, what's the first step? Is it hard?
Well, the first step is a personal analysis of your trash. What do you throw away often, and how can you transition into zero waste alternatives?

Then start to bring your own reusables, next step is to refuse. Refuse straws when you order drinks, only order food and drinks 'for here', decline freebies. These are the easy steps, but check out my article "Start Your Zero Waste Life TODAY!" to get the full details on ways to start immediately.

I recycle, that's good, why not just recycle?
WELL, I hate to tell you to stop doing probably the most eco-friendly thing you ever do, but don't take recycling too seriously. With a decreased market for recycled materials, Waste Management closing 14 locations since 2014, and a growing middle class in China, who no longer want our hand-me-down trash, it's clear that recycling is a fleeting operation. (Source)

Essentially recycling doesn't teach us to consume less, it just gives a notion that it's OK to buy things because it's recyclable. Not really fixing the fact that Americans makes up 5 percent of the world's population and 30 percent of the trash.

Ok Ree now I'm totally turned upside down, if you're telling me not to recycle, should I just throw everything away?
I'm not telling you NOT to recycle, I'm telling you to find trash-free alternatives to your consumer needs to not even NEED to recycle. Think of it as prevention. I hardly ever have trash and I sparingly use my recycling bin for vinegar bottles and baking soda boxes.

I heard about the zero waste thing you're doing in Atlanta. Tell me more.
So, I'm working to make Atlanta zero waste friendly. Check out the Atlanta Zero Waste Guide and join the Zero Wasted in Atlanta Meetup group for upcoming events.

What is the Atlanta Zero Waste Guide?
I decided I'm a zero waste encyclopedia, especially when it comes to zero wasting in Atlanta, and thought it would be great to share how-tos on making purchases without the trash. Check out the guide here.

You have a store, doesn't that contradict your lifestyle?
Great question you intuitive person you. What I found is people need a place to go to for the items they need. I've carefully sourced products that were within ethical reason, and offer them for purchase in the Fort Negrita store.