So where do we start?
What do you waste in one day? Be conscious on this particular day. Keep a little note in your phone, or better yet, I dare you to save all of the things you would 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)
Toilet paper, I would go to the store or do your research to buy in bulk. Make sure its not plastic wrapped and its recycled, unbleached & eco-friendly. Or there are cloth toilet paper options.
Moon cup! (amazing alternative to tampons)
Deoderant (you can easily make your own but I love supporting this local shop)
For shampoo/conditioner/face wash, I am not phased out of my old ones yet, so I am open to alternatives if you have them!
I'm still trying to find a powder alternative that is not in a plastic tin. I may resort to making my own!
Also still not phased out of mascara or sunscreen. Open to suggestions for alternatives!
Reusable produce bags
Cloth totes (sub for plastic bags)
Coffee cups (hot / cold with straw)
Stainless steel bowl with lid
This step is by far the funnest, and most fulfilling part! It's been 4 years waste free and still in the stages of having plastic products from my trashy past. However, it is the best feeling to take all the food scraps out of my freezer and go on a romantic trip to the farmers market to drop it off, knowing its next life will be a tree or a flower. It's amazing to finally use up that last plastic toothpaste bottle because you made your own with peppermint and lavender. Discovering a new recipe to implement into your life that the earth and its inhabitants would agree upon.
An important everyday reminder: There will be f*** ups! There will be times that you accidentally go to the market and forget your refillable peanut butter jar, or your bell jar for that coffee in the morning. Or times that are out of your control when the waitress brings you a straw when you told her three times not to put one in there (seriously keeps happening). Making this transition is not as difficult as you think, but I think in order for it to be this way you cannot beat yourself up, or worse, give up! As long as you are doing your absolute best and keep earth in mind, you'll stop forgetting random things, I promise! I am only a handful of months in and preparing myself is getting easy for me! 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…)