Real Life Low Waste & Eco-Friendly Swaps, Changes & Future Goals
I would be lying if I said that 2020 so far has been living up to my wildest dreams. Had I set resolutions, I would have absolutely failed them. Papa Bear is laid off, we’ve been sick and altogether feeling...bleh...
That being said, there is still a lot about this year that I am excited for. Pretty much everything really! Things are just starting much, much slower than I originally would have liked. One of the few things we have managed to get underway well is the slow change over in our home to more ethical, local sourced/ eco friendly, earth conscious products.
Being kinder to our home: planet earth has been a great passion of mine for many years now. In the last year particularly, bit by bit we have been able to make changes. Switching your home from high waste to low waste over night is not impossible, I’m sure. But it’s certainly not easy!
I like to look into the companies behind the products, and the products themselves to make sure the switch I am making actually is aligned with our values. Nothing is perfect of course. Very rarely anyway. But we do our best.
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Anne Marie Bonneau
There are a lot of changes we have yet to make. A lot of changes we wish we could make but don’t have the financial backing to get started. We may never get there, and though we strive and dream of this picture perfect hippie dipper world, the reality is, we may not achieve all our dreams and low waste goals for one reason or another.
For example: I would have LOVED to clothe diaper. I would have been so proud to be part of that movement. However, it was not right for our lifestyle and Baby Bear grew so big and strong so quickly that I would have had to get custom ones made for her. This was not something we were able to do.
I am pleased to say however that we have progressed from disposable wipes to reusable ones! We make sure to have enough on hand to last between laundry days and it’s been a lot nicer knowing what is and what isn’t going onto Baby Bear’s most sensitive areas.
Luckily we have been able to make two awesome swaps in our kitchen. We have completely forgone Saran Wrap and welcomed beautiful beeswax wraps into our home. IN LOVE!! The second switch has been the Stasher bags. These replace your Ziploc sandwich bags and the like. You can cook in them, freeze food in them. They are microwave and dishwasher safe. We’ve steamed vegetables in them too. Papa Bear is quite proud of his collection and we are in heaven knowing that we’ve helped cut down on a good amount of plastic waste.
When it comes to personal food service, the amount of waste that goes into just simply grabbing groceries can be overwhelming if you stop and think about it. The first time we did a Costco trip I nearly started crying as I unpackaged the food and prepared all the cardboard for recycling. If I’m being honest, I felt a little sick to my stomach. The way companies package food is EXCESSIVE. And it really doesn’t need to be.
To combat this, we do our best to purchase anything we possibly can fresh or in as limited packaging as possible. We bring reusable grocery AND mesh produce bags to the store. Purchase grapes in recyclable paper wrapping as opposed to plastic bags. We purchase individual apples and oranges, potatoes and other veggies. There are not as many low waste alternatives as I would like. Buying berries in those clamshells still breaks my heart. But with time, bit by bit, we make a small dent.
Or at least, we add a little less to the chaos.
We choose reusable water bottles and travel mugs again and again. We line the fridge with washable, reusable liners to keep the amount of paper towel we use to clean the fridge low. And we try to clean with reusable cloths over paper towel as a practice.
Not only are changes like this good for the environment, but they are also better for your finances too!
We do our best to limit the purchase of cheap, plastic toys and products. We thrift first, and buy local whenever we can before hitting big brand name corporations whether in person or online. This can be a struggle, but a little planning ahead makes a huge difference.
Papa Bear uses an old fashioned safety razor with blades that he cleans and sharpens for extra life. As opposed to plastic disposable razors. One of my goals for this year is to also make the trade. Another big change in the bathroom has been the switch from colourful plastic toothbrushes to biodegradable wooden ones. There are a lot of options out there! We are lucky to purchase ours at a locally owned, family run shop.
Double ethical whammy!
And of course, we are crazy conscious about the power usage in our home. We utilize natural light throughout the day and have energy saving lightbulbs for the evening. We try to remember to keep electronics and appliances unplugged when not in use. Or at the very least, completely turned off. This is one of those shifts that won’t cost you any additional money. In fact, it will save you money!!
We still have a long, long way to go. Even though we tried hard this Christmas to be more intentional with our waste, we both feel we recycled far too much paper and tossed too much packaging following the presents being unwrapped. Our goal for next year is to invest in reusable fabric gift bags and scarves to use for wrapping as opposed to paper.
Another switch I’d like to do is transfer from prepackaged products to homemade, chemical free cleaners in glass bottles.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Currently I use disposable makeup wipes and would like to transition to washable cloths. Which I do use sometimes, but I find that I feel bad using makeup remover that comes in a plastic bottle. So it’s either one or the other, and I need to do a little more research before I fully decide the proper route. Not wearing makeup in the first place that needs to be taken off is a choice I’ve been making quite often. Not only is better for my skin, wallet and the environment, but it’s also kinder to my self esteem and productivity. (I will speak more about my relationship with makeup later this year.)
Something I am heavy on the fence about is transitioning into the use of a menstrual cup. So many friends swear by them and I love the principle of it, but I’m still not 100% wrapped around the idea. At least not yet! Working on it.
A few ideas we are super on board for, are unrealistic during our current season of life. I would absolutely love a garden! A great big one if possible. I would love to compost as well. Both are tough to accomplish while living in an apartment. One day though, it’s going to be glorious.
We also often talk about a tiny house. If we could live that life. I’m heavily torn, because I would like to think I could. But at the same time, I also love to entertain. Have dinner parties and game nights. Things that already prove difficult in our apartment. Never mind a space less than half the size.
I do really love the idea of solar panels and living off grid. I don’t know how realistic it is in Alberta, Canada. But the thought is lovely.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
Keep the conversation going.
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Comment below if you’ve jumped on the electric train with us and have begun making low waste/ eco friendly swaps in your home. Or what your goals are for taking care of your home, family and planet earth!
Good luck on your journey fellow eco-warrior! Chat soon.