Trash, huh, yeah. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!
I know, Earth Day was last month, but that is my point exactly! Being environmentally conscious is a practice for every day, not just one day a year. So…While not explicitly about skincare, taking the time to think about the resources you consume in your everyday life and what you can reduce is synergistic to a more natural lifestyle.
I could go on and on here about statistics that lead me to make some pretty meaningful changes to my lifestyle and trying to reduce my consumption and waste, from shopping in bulk, bringing my own bags, not using paper towels, etc. but it might be more meaningful to share with you links to the things that inspired me to be more mindful. I hope you find some of these resources as life changing as I did.
United States of Trash, Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker behind Super Size Me, follows his own trash to see what throwing something ‘away’ really means.
Trash is for Tossers, Lauren Singer
Lauren Singer lives a Zero Waste life in NYC and literally only produces a jar or two of trash every year. You can spend hours looking through this beautiful blog.
Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson
Bea Johnson lives waste-free with her family since 2008 and is the author of the bestseller Zero Waste Home.
If these so inspire you to make some lifestyle changes, I suggest hitting the thrift stores and looking for some items to help you cut down on your consumption. There are a few items that I purchased along the way (some old, some new) that I found helpful. I’ll provide the links below to some great products. For example, in Seattle, plastic bags have been banned in an attempt to promote reusable bags. I’ve invested in some good canvas ones that I use each time I go to the grocery store or do my general shopping. You can find them below along with some other cool items.
Green Grocery Shopping
Reusable Canvas Bags– I keep these on hooks right by my front door and grab them on the way out for any kind of shopping trip. I like these in particular because they have great fabric holders on the inside to keep wine bottles and such from moving around.
Reusable Produce and Bulk Bags- I do a lot of shopping in bulk bins to cut down on the amount of food packaging I go through. These mesh bags and canvas/muslin bags are great for everything from produce to grains and nuts.
Personal Care Items
I’m sure if you are reading this blog, it is no surprise to you that I spend a lot of time experimenting with different personal products. I’m not only looking for things that work great and are healthy for my skin, but I do also place a lot of consideration into how much waste these things produce and how recyclable/reusable the packaging is. For me, it almost becomes a fun game to see how efficient I can be while still enjoying my routines. Here are some changes that I found painless and effective:
Safety Razors– This took a little practice to learn how to use BUT what a money saver! Each blade tops out at about ten cents and lasts for quite awhile. I never spend money on razors anymore and the waste produced here is by far less than traditional razors or disposable alternatives. You know what? This is also pretty beautiful hanging in my shower.
Toothbrushes– Biodegradable Bamboo! These brushes are the right firmness and also look super cute. I tried several different kinds but this one was by far the best. I have found it holds up better than traditional brushes so they last a bit longer. Additionally, when they are used up, I pull the bristles out and use the wood handles for plant markers. Works great!
Feminine Products- Ladies, the average woman throws away 250-300 pounds of feminine product waste in their lifetime. The majority of these products are at least partially made out of synthetic materials and take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Being that most of these products haven’t even been commercially produced for that long, that means most of the feminine products that have been consumed thus far, are still sitting in a landfill somewhere! All of them! Whoa! Now, full discloser here. When I was looking at cutting this part of waste from my lifestyle, I made a decision that if I were to allow myself any waste production, this would be an area I could allow it for comfort or convenience if necessary. However, I am happy to say I have found some awesome alternatives that really work and I find just as easy, convenient, and comfortable to use as the standard pads and tampons I grew up with. Here are my top picks!
Thinx- Underwear with built in pads! OMG- these are awesome! I just bought one pair to try them out and was skeptical about how well they would work, but now I’m ready to order a few more. There are a ton of reviews out there so let me google that for you.
Lunnette– Reusable menstral cup.
Other Household Products-
Scotts Naturals TP– What!? Toilet paper without the cardboard tube! Genius! I’m not sure why someone hasn’t thought about this sooner. Love it. Less waste. I do wonder how much it cost/changed things adapting the factory to produce this product but hope it is a trend that would catch on. I’m not sure why we need that cardboard tube other than making crafts from them later.
Kitchen Jars– Glass. I’ve replaced all of my kitchen containers with glass over the years. They are essential for bulk shopping and versatile while keeping everything very fresh. I can’t recommend this enough.
DIY waxed wrap– And finally, for the kitchen, I made some waxed reusable fabric to replace all saran wrap use needs. There are several tutorials out there but I used wax from a Portland company called Otterwax and some scrap pieces of fabric. They are perfect for covering bowls, wrapping sandwiches on the go, etc. Perhaps I’ll post a tutorial on that process in the future.
I hope you found some of these links inspiring and some of these ideas helpful. As I consider myself one big DIY experiment, I’d love to hear from you and what you do to minimize trash in your household. Give me some ideas! What do you do that I should also?