Monday 8 April 2019

Transitioning to a low-waste lifestyle

I am on a low waste, intentional living journey, which is truly ironic because I've always been this person and yet suddenly I woke up realizing I wasn't living my beliefs!

I've never wanted to use products that will end up in the ocean, or consume unethical make-up and clothes. I'm an enviro kid. I like picking up trash and seeing sidewalks glistening and clean, with an accessible recycling plan. Yet, somewhere in between teens and adulthood, something snapped in my brain.

I started shopping with friends on weekends, bought things just because I liked them, and ended up with a room, and eventually a house filled with things I didn't really value, and quite happily threw out on a whim.

While I've spent a lot of time over the past decade being blind to how our society operates, I'm becoming more clear about what ethical means to me and where I want to put my money. This has meant lots of self-education and small, incremental changes in our life and our home.

Reusable cotton bags bought from the Alameda Natural Grocery store

Why is this important? 

We live in a precious, beautiful world, with limited resources - as you know! Making a conscious decision to lower the waste you create, reducing your impact on your local environment and creating a more sustainable life is our responsibility. I think of it like it's our responsibility to look after the planet, not the planet's responsibility to look after us.

I think Anita explains it in a really clear and kind manner.

Where to start? 

  1. Look at where you're creating rubbish (or trash for those Americans playing at home). This was really helpful for me, because I had no idea what my baseline was. Before you empty your household bins, take a look through and see what you're throwing out, i.e. for me it was something along the lines of meat trays, cling wrap, single-use plastics like from bought salads or juices, plastic milk cartons, etc.
  2. Look at what you're bringing into your house. For example, do you shop in the loose produce part of the supermarket or farmers market, or are you buying vegetables wrapped in plastic? Are you accepting plastic bags with your fabulous fashion purchase, or are you bringing your own bag?
  3. Start small. Aim at making one small change each week, or even each month. Here are a couple I started with:
    • Take your own reusable bag, water bottle and coffee cup with you. 
    • Swap your plastic milk carton for a glass bottle of organic like the magical Straus Milk below. 
    • Instead of using plastic pump soaps in your bathroom to wash your hands, buy some beautiful local soaps. I try to make them really special so I really enjoy using them, instead of feeling like I'm missing out on the frothy soap dispensers.
    • Buy bulk where you can! 
    • Switch-a-roo those toothbrushes from plastic ones to bamboo. The plastic ones aren't recyclable. We often use Brush with Bamboo or Preserve, as they'll also collect your #5 plastics to recycle them. 
    • Start using beeswax food wraps instead of cling wrap. 

Phew. And maybe take a nap! That was a lot, but honestly, it's just about taking it slow and making informed choices based on your ethics. And that feels so good.

With love,
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