How green can you go?
Be it the climate of uncertainty we live in, the fact that I have a young child or this simple phrase I heard later last year that has created a lot of anxiety for me around the state of our planet:
"Every piece of plastic ever made still exist". Let that just sink in for a minute. - Every. Piece. Of. Plastic. Ever. Made. Still. Exists. -
I would describe myself as ecologically conscious, though I don't, by any means, lead nor preach a zero waste lifestyle. But something in me clicked a few months ago and I knew it was time to make a few changes in my everyday life to do my part in trying to get off this insane consumerist ride we are on.
I will never achieve a zero waste lifestyle and I find it hard to fathom that one actually could, especially in a city like NY. And then you meet people like Lauren Singer from Package Free Shop and you think "wow, this girl is actually doing it!!!".
I have been carrying my canvas totes around for quite a while and I have always been adamant about turning off the faucet while brushing my teeth or while I scrub those dishes and pots. Also, I am naturally inclined to recycling, upcycling and reusing materials and furniture. I used hand-me-down baby clothing for the first 6 months of my son's life and I do give away his clothes to someone I know uses them and actually passes them on to someone else if possible. Though I haven't switched to a stainless steel recipient for water (yikes, I know!!!), I refill my plastic bottle as many times as possible (my current one I have been refilling everyday since the US Open in early September). I do not drink coffee, but I do drink tea a few times a week which I drink out of a ceramic travel mug.
So what more could I do to try and reduce my crazy packaged goods purchases?
In the past few months I have purchased reusable food wraps from etee, I have learned a simple recipe for homemade deodorant and can proudly declare that both my husband and I have exclusively been using it for the past 3 months. I have also learned a recipe for homemade toothpaste and, though I find it tough to switch completely, I am trying!! It tastes salty and doesn't foam so every few days I still feel the need to brush my teeth with conventional toothpaste. But I won't give up and I will succeed!
Speaking of teeth, our whole family of 3 has now switched to bamboo toothbrushes. A subtle change one can easily make. As a matter of fact, everyone whom got a gift from me for Christmas, got a homemade kit which included a bamboo toothbrush, homemade toothpaste and homemade deodorant. The gift wrap? A canvas tote! Kids got gifts which were wrapped in newspaper or a recycled material. And from this year on, I vow to only give adults gifts that are either homemade or recycled. (Don't lynch me if I don't....I'm really trying here!!)
A couple of weeks ago, I tried making my own shampoo and miserably failed. But I shall try another recipe very soon or buy it in bulk which seems like a better option for me.
Yesterday, I dragged my son to the Package Free Shop to pick up additional items and this is what we got:
- a stainless steel straw for him
- a bamboo straw for me (though I might switch to stainless steel because the bamboo straw has "a taste").
- a wood handle dish brush and a second brush that can replace the first one when it becomes gross.
- a kid size bamboo toothbrush.
Receipt was emailed and beware, though you probably figured it out, they do not give shopping bags of any kind with your purchase. You can however, purchase their $10 canvas totes or of course, bring your own.
So what else can I do and what else do I plan to do in the near future, to reduce my waste?
- Time my showers to 3 minutes
- Get rid of liquid body wash in favor of olive oil, package free soap bar
- buy bulk detergent
- buy bulk shampoo
- try a recipe for home cleaning product
- use cloth bags to purchase bulk granola, rice, chick peas, lentils, etc.
Do you have any other ideas that you feel are easy to achieve? Let me know in the comment box. I really want to know how green you can go!