So where do we start?
What do you waste in one day? Be conscious on this particular day. Keep a note in your phone, or better yet, I dare you to save all of the things you'd normally throw away in one day. The wrappers, coffee cups, dirty napkins, chip bags, etc…Not only would you feel unclean and messy, but it puts into perspective what you are expelling out into the world. If you feel dirty saving it, why would you pollute it to the earth?
Next, I've made 5 simple steps that have really helped me in the beginning, and throughout my adventure!
Think about all the things you own. Now think about all the things you actually need to survive. Not only will decluttering your world will be clarifying to your mental and physical space, but cost efficient too. Make piles. If there is a "maybe" or a "...but what if " pile, then donate them or sell them! You won't miss it, I promise. Use this notion with every corner of your house. Understand there will be a phasing out stage so keep things you can phase out. (ex: lip balms, mascaras, spices, shampoos etc…) If you are planning on getting rid of things however, make sure when you get "rid" of them, that it's going in a responsible place. Can you donate it? Can you sell it? Can it be phased out?
Now while you are de-cluttering, take inventory of what you've been accumulating. Identify the parts of your life where you generate trash. Look at your "get rid of" pile and even your trash can. Take note of these items and research what the overall sustainability of the item is (its source, its material, environmental impact, lifespan and lifecycle). Try and remember the small items too such as bleached toilet paper, tampons, and sponges (all not sustainable). Reflect on how much better you will feel knowing that your entire life will be cleansed of things you and the earth do not need, as well the benefit of this newfound consciousness.
Yay! You now know where your trash is precisely coming from and the items that are not good for our planet. It's time to take action! Is it your makeup with plastic containers? Is it all the take out and to go cups? Your kitchen cabinet? I had a lot of baking items that were all terribly packaged, plastic spice bottles, and tons of random make up I never used, yet kept accumulating. The photo to the right is a list of JUST the things I threw away while I was out of the house, and on a general day. What's the coolest thing about this list? The realization that every single item can be easily replaced by reusable and sustainable products. Do your research and prepare to be a kick ass human.
Here's a basic list of items that started me off. Although buying alternatives are important, so are making them! I will include home made alternatives (toothpaste, mouthwash, lip balm, etc…) in my blog. This is just a starter for products. You should tailor this to your personal needs. Most of the websites I linked you up to have so many alternative items! The biggest thing to remember is that being prepared is the most successful route to being trash free. Just click the link!
Compost freezer bin
Unbleached cloth "paper"towels
Plastic free food wrap (plastic wrap alternative)
I make my own toothpaste
Moon cup! (amazing alternative to tampons)
Deoderant (you can easily make your own but I love supporting this local shop)
For my face wash
I don't use any shampoo but I do use Vermont soaps in bulk once a week on my scalp
Blush and foundation (I rarely use but do love this brand)
I get mascara and lip tint second hand from my friends.
Reusable produce bags
Cloth totes (sub for plastic bags)
Coffee cups (hot / cold with straw)
Stainless steel bowl with lid
This step is the most fulfilling! You start to notice how thankful you start to become every single day. You realize all the moments you would normally drown out such as throwing your food away, or buying a coffee becomes so sweet. Presence and beauty renewed in what used to be mundane things. It is the best feeling to take all the food scraps out of the freezer and go on a romantic trip to the farmers market to drop it off, knowing its next life will be a tree. It's amazing to finally use up that last plastic toothpaste bottle because you made your own with peppermint and lavender. To buy a coffee and realize it tastes so much better in your own reusable cup.
An important everyday reminder: You will mess up! There will be times that you accidentally go to the market and forget your produce bags or your reusable cup for coffee in the morning. Or times that are out of your control when the waitress brings you a straw when you told her twice not to put one in there. In order for this waste free journey to stick in your life, we have to remember perfection is impossible. As long as you are doing your best with intention, you are on the right track. This is all part of adapting. Your alternative choices will eventually integrate itself into your life and it will be apart of you. <3
It may be lengthy (and a little cheesy), but I find that in order to be a responsible human and consumer, one should think about EARTH:
Educate yourself on your purchases (Buy sustainable products and keep in mind its packaging, its source, its impact, material, lifespan, and lifecycle. Choose sustainable foods and when possible, locally sourced!)
Accountability for your waste. (Compost your food scraps!! Absolutely no plastic. Recycle responsibly. IF you accumulate any trash, store in a see through container. Food for thought)
Reduce (Live minimally)
Think before you purchase (can I make it? Do I need it?)
Harmonize your life with preparation (be prepared when you leave the house! (reusable totes, produce bags etc…)