With Earth day just passed, I’ve found some great time for reflection and acknowledgement of my impact on this earth, the amount of waste I create and the methods I’m working towards to reduce that waste.
I have lofty goals of zero waste living but I’ve found myself in a sort of overwhelmed gridlock by the many lifestyle changes. I tend towards perfectionism and an all-or-nothing attitude. I have come to the conclusion that it is incredibly important and necessary to just start somewhere! It is so easy to feel comparatively unsuccessful when it comes to a zero waste lifestyle. I follow blogs and Instagrammers who are doing such an amazing job at creating zero waste that at times I begin to feel disheartened, as if my efforts are futile and will never be sufficient.
It’s these moments when I find myself in that place of comparison, (full of judgement which is entirely my fabrication) that I am reminded by the often subtle and very soft voice, that I’m doing well. Any effort, any awareness, is a good step. Yes, I still buy things in plastic. Yes, I still have things shipped to me. I try to make changes where and when I can.
I try to purchase only used clothing (at least for myself). I adore clothes but despise the textile waste and human rights violations that result from our insatiable “fast fashion” appetites. I am eager to learn more methods of mending my clothing and have been incredibly amazed with the art of visible mending.
I reuse all my packing materials. If you’ve ever ordered online, you’ve probably noticed that my boxes are reused and most of the padding is reused as well. I have friends who bring me their boxes and packaging so I can use those too!
My soaps are packaged with simple recycled paper labels that can be composted. It is fairly common to package soap in individual plastic wrap as it helps preserve the fragrance. This is a practice I have never been interested in practicing or continuing. My products are never packaged in plastic, I use glass and tin containers for everything. I will also take $1 off any purchase for each container that is returned to me. If you’d like your soap shipped without a label, simply ask for it “naked”.
Of course personal care is an area where I can cut down a lot of packaging waste. It is one of the reasons I began making soap in the first place. Shampoo bars are great way to cut out several plastic bottles a month. They travel well, are eco-friendly, completely natural and bio-degradable. They are perfect to take camping as they can be used in natural bodies of water like rivers and lakes. It may take some time getting used to a solid shampoo but it’s totally worth the effort to transition. Check out my tips for making the transition smoother here.
We are all part of this planet, and we need the earth much more than she needs us. Kindling a connection with nature is a huge step towards caring about her well-being. Small changes add up and can be the impetus for larger change. Making a change, any change, is better than no change at all.