Earth day is this Sunday! What better time to update y'all on my zero waste journey? I want to start this "round up" by saying that I am NO expert. This is based on a couple of years of personal research, on chatting with like-minded folks and a fiery desire to make a difference for future generations. I am still at the beginning of my journey, and I know it will take me a while to feel like I have the hang of things (i.e. replace all of our plastics with reusable items and how the heck do you compost??). So, THIS ISN'T A LECTURE. This is an outreach. Is there one thing you can grab from this list and implement in your own life? Will you think twice before your next trip to the mall? Better yet -- is there something you can teach me? Where can I improve at this early stage? With that being said...
A Zero Waste Goal...
As you know, I am working tirelessly to “walk the walk” when it comes to my sustainability goals. I know that “sustainability” can be a tricky term, and that it is used rather loosely by some businesses in this day in age. To clarify, I have decided to do my part for the environment by, of course, educating my tribe on the pollution created via the fast fashion industry -- i.e. 21 billion pounds of waste dumped into
solid-waste landfills / materials that don't decompose. Buy used folks! And also by focusing on our post-consumer waste (with a goal of being zero-waste!). This means, I use 100% recyclable shipping materials — including the industry's only poly mailers
made from 100% recycled content -- that can be easily reused or recycled at your local bags and wraps recycler (link to find the nearest below) and I wrap your finds in thrifted fabric for protection.
Why does this matter?
Ummm, did you see the part about 21 billion pounds of waste? Also, only about 15% of textile waste from fast fashion companies is donated. And once donated, hard to sell because of it's low quality. Things that don't sell at corporate resale shops go...you guessed it....straight to the landfill.
What I'm doing about it (that you can do too)!
Aside from creating a green business of RECYCLED MAGIC I'm also trying to make these changes in my home (my husband was freaked at first, this stuff is overwhelming, but he is totally coming around). Here is my ever-growing list of favorite sustainability tips, hacks and resources for more information!
- I know I can't ask you to quit Amazon. ;) But I can tell you about Amazon Smile and Reduced Packaging. When you shop at smile.amazon.com vs their actual homepage, Amazon will donate a portion of eligible purchases made to the charitable organization of your choice! i.e. The Nature Conservancy (and many others!) Also! Head on over to Mama Eco's simple how-to for opting into frustration-free packaging that eliminates “hard plastic ‘clamshell’ cases …[or] plastic-coated wire ties” (Amazon) from your orders.
- Buy in bulk! Use glass jars and other reusable containers to buy in bulk. These don't need to be fancy containers -- I will use old oil bottles or pickle jars if I have to! Large mason jars are also always a good go-to -- a flat is usually under $15.
- Reuse plastic bags as produce bags. I know, I know. You really want those cute produce bags that folks walk around with at Whole Foods! Me too...these are on my wishlist. BUT, in the meantime -- you know those pesky plastic bags things like tortillas or rice cakes come in? You can wash those out and use them as produce bags until you make your investment! ;) If you're already swimming in reusable bags, then you can recycle those wraps at select locations near you! This isn't hard! My plastics recycling drop off is at my local Target. Here is a locator you can use to find a location nearest you: www.plasticfilmrecycling.org
- Re: the above. Wash and reuse any and all plastic bags / baggies until they are DEAD. Then try to recycle them. Here is a handy dandy plastic bags and cups dryer you can use to simplify this process.
- Replace these household items that often include non-recyclable plastics: shampoo, soap pumps, toothbrushes, straws, plastic wrap (I keep a list of product recs in the "sustainability" highlight on our Instagram profile).
Here are some no-brainers!
- Use a reusable cup/straw for takeout beverages.
- Go paperless for all bills.
- Turn off the water while you are scrubbing dishes and brushing your teeth.
- Change your lights to use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Can I challenge you to ditch the paper towels for kitchen towels or cloths?
- Can you get that stain out or fix that button before the garment goes in the "donate" pile? Or can you use the old piece as a rag around the house or garage?
- Check out your trash -- what are you throwing away? Where can you reduce your disposables?
And lastly... BE A CONSCIOUS CONSUMER.
- This is the big one folks. What are you buying and why are you buying it? What does how you spend your money say about you and your lifestyle? What are you supporting? These are big questions! And it's taken me years to be able to answer them and really CARE about those answers. Care more about the answers than the THING you're buying. For me, wastefulness is top of mind. I think to myself, do I NEED this or WANT this? And if I WANT it, who am I supporting? I want to always support PEOPLE over TRENDS. This means shopping small when I want to treat myself. And being conscious of how that product or piece will live on on this earth after I'm done "using" it.