I’ve recently come to learn that statistics show most people abandon their resolution and intentions for the new year as early as January 15! I can totally understand that, as in the past I’ve been way to over zealous with what I set out to achieve. The past couple of years I shifted my focus to something more simplistic and it’s been way easier to stick with!
If you happen to follow me on instagram, you would have seen that this year I am focusing on being more mindful of the amount of waste I produce. At some point in 2016, I became pretty wrapped up in watching youtube videos about zero waste living. Although I can’t say I’ll ever be as proficient as some of the people I’ve come across, it left me feeling inspired and drew an awareness to something that can be so easily overlooked. The intention and message resonated with me and I knew very quickly it was time to consider a bit deeper the impacts of my buying habits and consumption.
In hopes of keeping myself accountable [and hopefully inspire some others!] I wanted to put together a list of simple swaps that with little upfront effort / change will add up to
make quite a difference over time. Some of these things may seem so straight forward (and admittedly some are things that I have already embraced) but I really think that’s the beauty of it! As I wrote on instagram, the changes you embrace don’t have to be revolutionary. Little efforts add up and it may just motivate you to carry on to implement more and more changes.
◦ Purchase some reusable straws, either glass or stainless steel. I ordered a pack of 8 off of amazon that were fairly inexpensive most recently. I ditched the single use straws long ago and the beauty of it is you only need to purchase reusable straws once and then you are set.
◦ Grab a few reusable tote bags and take them with you whenever and wherever you shop. Keep a couple in your car or in a basket by your door to avoid accidentally forgetting them.
◦Purchase reusable produce bags. Produce bags are such a pet peeve of mine. I get it, we are trying to avoid germs and keep things grouped together but it just seems SO unnecessary to me. I’m so happy that I now have reusable produce bags. I store them inside the totes I use for grocery shopping. Added bonus, if you find some with fine enough mesh you can also use them to make homemade nut milk! I also came across the idea of taking a flat sheet that is not longer being used and sewing produce bags out of the sheet! That way you are cutting down on purchasing new items, saving a bit of money and making use of something that was otherwise not serving much of a purpose.
◦ Embrace a “make your own” mentality! There are so many things that we tend to buy out of convenience when in truth we could make them healthier, for less money and far less waste! Almond milk, granola bars, muffins, growing sprouts, toothpaste, deodorant, cleaning supplies… When did we decide to put our own personal convenience above just about everything?! I get that this may seem daunting to those that are not as well versed in the kitchen and are tight on time, however I would encourage people to consider things a little more big picture and you may just notice a shift in your priorities. It is incredibly fulfilling to have the satisfaction of knowing YOU created something!
◦ Grocery shop from the bulk section: Take those reusable produce bags and make use of the bulk section! Beans, lentils, grains, nuts & seeds, even honey and maple syrup as well as SO much more can all be purchased from the bulk section. Most places I shop offer this and taking advantage of this will dramatically cut down on the amount of packaging we purchase during our food shop.
◦ Shop in store vs. online: I know I just mentioned that I purchased my reusable stainless steel straws from Amazon, however I’m selective about where and what I shop for online. If its something I can easily get in person, or perhaps isn’t even something I really need, I think twice. The truth is that the item you are having shipped to you will be in far more packaging to reach you safe and individualized than it would had it arrived bulk to that brick and mortar shop.
◦ Swap liquid hand soap and body wash for bar soap: Bar soap may not be as nice to use to some people, but it comes in far less packaging (if any at all), can be easily found with clean, non toxic ingredients (easier than liquid body wash or hand soap in my opinion) and you can find some amazing bar soaps!
I really feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways we can cut back on the amount of waste we produce. If there are any ways you can think of that I haven’t mentioned above, please post below!