I don’t know about you, but for me it can feel so defeating that there aren’t easy ways to be more environmentally friendly. There’s so much on our plates as it is, so adding in anything on top of a regular recycling routine can seem impossible. We can read and watch all there is to see about trash island but it doesn’t make it easier for us to do anything about it when the rubber meets the road.
It seems overwhelming! All of it - trash island, climate change, and changing up my entire routine to make it match that of an instagram influencer who partnered up with the Grove and received their products for free. But what to do if you can't spend a chunk of change on these things just now?
Luckily, it seems like companies are trying to make products more environmentally friendly. But even just doing an internet search for "ways to become more environmentally friendly" brings up a plethora of options, and you may not know where to start! I was feeling that way myself a few weeks ago after going through a spate of seeing perfectly tailored solutions to these problems on instagram that make my kitchen look like a pig sty.
So I decided to start small, with the goals of eventually being able to say that I don’t use single-use plastics, and also producing as little waste as possible.
My first plan is to build a compost bin. These can be expensive to buy, and a few cities will collect compost for you. But not Charlotte, and I don’t want to drop a lot of money on a bin. A quick Pinterest search will bring up TONS of different DIY options, so after a few calls and a luckily-timed furniture order that was delivered on a pallet, I gathered the supplies for a home compost setup. The next step was my mother unwittingly coming into town on a warmer, sunny weekend, and a few mother/daughter-teamwork hours later, my pallet-bin was finished. Now all my food waste except for meats and dairy goes straight to that bin.
What about the non-food disposables? The easiest way to start was to ask myself “what goes in my trash?” Ultimately the only system that will be sustainable for me is the kind that solves problems I already have. NOT something that creates more products, or more SYSTEMS, for me to have to keep up with, even if it looks great in someone else's kitchen.
Here is a short list of items that I've started with in my quest:
Plastic baggies (replaceable with these or similar reusable plastic baggies)
Aluminum foil (which can be subbed out with these silicon baking mats)
Makeup removing towelettes (I use these all the time! But did you know they're a huge source of trash? I'm adding these reusable/washable makeup wipes to my collection asap)
Not only does it benefit the earth for me to cut down on waste, but it benefits my wallet! Purchasing items one time and then not again until they wear out, ideally for many years, means less spending for me. (Well, let’s be honest. It means I’ll allocate that spending to other things like the new swimsuit I’ve been eyeing for the summer to alleviate my seasonal affective disorder.)
Now, my goal is to be more environmentally friendly. But I ain’t washing and re-using toilet paper. What I CAN do, however, is get a little attachment for my toilet that serves as a bidet. This little device hooks into your existing water supply and gives your bits a wash whenever you need it. Which means after your morning constitutional, you don’t need to empty an entire roll of toilet paper. You can instead give your self a little rinse and continue on, feeling fresh and clean. And use little, if any, toilet paper.
Ideally, I could change out my trash bags themselves with an eco-friendly option. But in taking baby steps, I've pushed that out to the next few months while I replace these other items first.
Remember: reduce, reuse, recycle!
Update: What about period products? They clog UP our trash! I wrote a little bit about that over here. Check it out!
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