This post may contain referral/affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.
I’m not really sure how it all began… I think one day I started to notice how much garbage we accumulated. Every day we had to take out the large black garbage bag to the green garbage bin. I wondered how we filled it up every day and assumed that since we were home all day (I’m a SAHM with 3 kids at home and 1 at school full time) then we just consumed a lot and it was bound to happen? Then, I started wondering if we were just tossing things that shouldn’t be tossed and instead recycled. And that research led to another to another and bam!- now, I’m more committed than ever to live a more sustainable life and to lead by example for my children and their children. At the rate we were going, the planet we live on could be inhabitable sooner than we calculate and that’s just MY family. Think about the billions of families out there that are trashing the world! It’s amazing where a curious mind could lead you. So here I am, educating myself about being more sustainable and how taking little steps could lead to long-term benefits for my family and the planet we live on. With this blog post, I wanted to share with you what I learned and what steps I’m taking to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
These 3 projects can be simple and fun so just take it with a grain of salt and work it around your lifestyle. Change doesn’t occur overnight and living a zero-waste life has it’s challenges- especially if you have little kids. I believe that even one small change makes a huge impact. And with that first step, it could lead to another and another and hopefully by the end of the journey, you have left a lifestyle that could be passed on from generation to generation.
Project One: Stop Plastic Use. Did you know that plastic straws (considered single-use plastic because you use it once and then throw it away) are made in 10 minutes, probably used for 20 minutes only, and remain on the planet forever? When I learned that 500 million drinking straws are used every day, that just blew my mind. All the daily Starbucks drinks that I got and all those straws that I tossed away… Wow. Just… wow. An alternative to plastic straws are reusable straws like stainless steel, glass and bamboo straws- which are all safe to use. I’ve begun switching over the plastic straws in my house to glass straws and stainless steel (for the little ones since glass could break). There are many brands and options out there now. Just search for reusable straws. An even better alternative, NO STRAWS. No straws means no created waste!
On the list of plastics that I’ve recently switched over are plastic bottles and plastic grocery and produce bags. My husband received this nifty stainless steel water bottle from work and I just thought it was so awesome to work for a company that values the same things as you. So I have slowly switched over to glass cups and glass/stainless steel bottles. Also, I’ve been doing really good with bringing my own reusable bags to stores instead of relying on them to provide me with plastic bags. Just think, once you stop the need for these plastic bags, they’ll stop producing them. Here are a couple of produce bags that I’ve been using and loving so far. Yes, even those thin bags that you put your veggies or fruits in are contributing to the epidemic. Instead, opt to not use any or if you have to use a bag, choose a reusable bag.
Project Two: Swap It. Ever since Anakin was born, I’ve been more alert as to what goes in our bodies and what we surround ourselves with everyday. From cleaning products to the kind of laundry detergent we use. And I remember clearly when my obsession started- when Anakin had an allergic reaction at 6 months of age. Yup! My first real scare with allergies and you bet your ass I did my research and found so many interesting facts about unsafe chemicals in our everyday products- even for babies! How did the generations before us ever survive? By relying on natural products. Yup. Did you know that vinegar contains something called Acetic Acid, usually around 5%, that has been proven effective as much as store bought chemicals in killing bacteria? You can make your own all-natural multipurpose cleaners, your own skincare products, even your own air fresheners! The best place to find these recipes is of course, Pinterest. Not only is it safer for the environment but also cost-effective too.
Project Three: De-clutter Mindfully. Thanks to Marie Kondo, secondhand stores such as Goodwill and online shops such as ThredUP have seen an increase in donations in the month of January. Although her method is effective, you need to stop and ask yourself, “Where does all my junk go?”. What do those second-hand stores do to the items you donate if they don’t sell? I totally embrace the whole “toss what doesn’t bring you joy anymore” ideal but, you also have to toss away mindfully through the correct channels. Before you start de-cluttering, you need to ask yourself an important question- “Am I doing this because I want to live a more consciously aware lifestyle or am I doing this so I can buy more things to replace?” Sure, cleaning out your closet might improve your life, but changing your consumption habits is the main goal of living sustainably.