Are you looking for some simple changes you can do this NEW YEAR?
I'm going to give you a few simple swaps that can easily be done! As a word of advice, don't go throw out all of your old stuff! Finish up what you have, then start thinking outside of the box here! I always think of my grandma and great grandma. I don't even know if they had garbage cans! They reused E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! AND they made everything! They knew how to survive with a lot less than we have!
For example those old jars laying around...what can you do with them? Maybe make lotions, storage for foods, infusing oils! The last thing I want is for you to do is to transition too fast you can't adjust or your family can't adjust! Slow and steady wins the race here! Think of it as a lifestyle change. It takes some time and doesn't happen overnight.
Reusable Grocery and Produce Bags
Have you given any thought about how many plastic bags the average person uses in their lifetime? Well, there's a TRILLION single use bags that are being used every year! That's 2 million EVERY MINUTE! So, not only bringing your reusable bags to the grocery store, but bringing them everywhere you go! It's been common practice (or at least it seems) to use them at the grocery store but not anywhere else! Why is that? We've normalized it at the grocery store but not at a regular shopping trip!
Do you always forget your bags? Keep your bags in your car. We have a set in both of our cars and I keep one in my purse. That way there's no excuse for forgetting them! When I first started using them I even left my groceries in the cart and ran back to my car to get them. Thankfully my groceries were still there! Now it's second nature to me and my family! Eventually everything becomes habit!
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
This by far has been one of my FAVS! It's so easy that the whole family can use it! Shampoo and conditioner bottles generally are recyclable-but not to open that can of worms and we're going to leave it at recycling is not the end all be all! Ethique brand has been my favorite for many reasons. They are Palm Oil free, cruelty free, their packaging is compostable, vegan, sustainable practices, and they are a B corporation. It checks off all things that someone who wants to live sustainably need!
Reusable Water Bottle
1500 plastic water bottles are used every single second! If you look around at roadside litter, in your local streams what do you commonly see? Water bottles. Water companies like Nestle have horrific practices of draining local watersheds and ground water down to the bone and then leaving the community empty handed. They are in the business of selling you water bottles not water. Through thorough testing, bottled water is the same water that comes out of the tap. Why would you pay for water out of the bottle when you have it readily at your tap.
If you don't want to drink out of your tap then invest in a good water filtration system. I personally had a RO system for many years until it broke. They are very expensive but they are also awesome filtration systems! I now have a Berkey which I absolutely love! The initial set up is expensive but essentially it pays for itself!
Reusable Food Containers
, glass or metal containers! There's so many options here that you can switch to. I have never used plastic Saran Wrap...I know! I think I'm seriously the only one! But an easy replacement to that is Beeswax Wraps! Even aluminum foil is a better choice than plastic wrap. It's reusable, it can be washed and reused over and over. Although now most municipalities won't take it for recycling because they have thrown other materials in it for nonstick purposes etc!
Food waste has been a new and upcoming issue people are just starting to take notice of. 40% of our food is wasted here in the US! Thankfully there's some good programs out there like food recovery, school food programs, some companies donating their left over food to nursing homes, homeless shelters etc. BUT we have a LOOOOONG way to go. So, what can you do at home? Get yourself a composter. It's much easier than you think! If you google it you'll have tons of different instructions and rules and generally people get discouraged and end up not doing it.
I'll give you the gist of what to do! Think of it as 40/60 greens and browns. If you don't have equal amounts it's ok. It just might take a little longer and anything that was once alive will decompose! Other rules for backyard composting is no dairy and no meat. Although there are other composting methods to those things they are more difficult. Turn your compost every few weeks and magically nature runs its course and you have fresh compost for your plants and garden! There's no need for artificial fertilizers when you have compost!
Use What You Have
Yep! That's easy to do! Get creative at using things in a multipurpose way. What can that old tub of yogurt can be used for? I've used them for storage of various items. I have repurposed one into a planter for one of my plants years ago. I hot glued some nice rope around it and BOOM! We have a planter!
We have a mindset of everything is disposable, its convenient, it's what we are used to. Changing that mindset is vital to changing the world and our society. We must remember that all that garbage has to go somewhere and it is cyclic! It is coming back to harm us believe it or not. I just recently had a discussion with a friend about how we are effected by the plastic epidemic. We dump the plastic in the ocean and fish eat the plastic then we eat the fish. Its everywhere from food packaging, the air we breathe to the clothes we wear. How long do you think we can go on like this?
I hope that if you're reading this you already realized that there's a problem and maybe you can help others realize that too! We as individuals can make a change!
Words are Good Actions are Better