The crisp, cool air and the renewed health found after a cold is energy enough to start the week with a glow. I am rejuvenated and searching to begin new projects.Our most recent household project is an idea that travels well.
Less Plastic, more life. Let me expand… I’m not sure why we decided to live an increasingly lower waste lifestyle but I believe it has something to do with the weight of being a constant consumer. There was no fearful statistic that instigated this change, but the constant need to run to the store for more paper towels. Maybe it was the long to do list as a new parent, but I felt that I was more concerned with going to the store than living my life. Something had to change. I wanted to live smarter, not harder.
We were ready to accumulate less, and go to the store less often too. Taking a long look at the waste we were producing as a household gave me a terrible feeling. Was this normal? The number of trash bags we were using a week was atrocious. This goal became about cleaning things up in a more intentional way.
We have, over the last six months, significantly lowered our footprint with ridding our household of paper products; Paper plates, paper bowls, paper towels, plastic cups, water bottles, and even cupcake liners. I could barely imagine a life could be comfortable without these products, but I was willing to give it a try.
How to Start
1.) Start small. Pick one product at a time. Ex: Water bottles.
2.) Identify the sustainable solution. Make sure it is realistic. Ex: I purchased a reusable water bottle.
3.) Recognize how this will make your life simpler. Don’t add to your list but instead seek to be more effective. Ex: I don’t need to go and purchase a case of water bottles each week. It saves money, the environment, and is totally chic.
We started small. Water bottles made a huge impact on my and our home. Our next category was paper plates. Where we ran out of paper plates, I didn’t buy more and we used the porcelain ones that had been collecting dust in the cupboard. The dishes were hardly noticeable after a few days. I found that I really loved eating off of finer dishes each night.
There is something really lovely about the way it was changing how I felt, and functioned. The act sends the message that you are worth more by using the best plates you have. If George Washington came to dinner you wouldn’t serve him on disposable paper plates…so why not treat yourself with that same respect?
Why it matters: benefits
-We save approximately $1,500 a year by switching to a more sustainable strategy.
-We focus our shopping more on fresh produce than products and lead a healthier diet in result.
-We no longer have a Costco membership. I no longer need the most competitive prices on all of our paper and plastic needs. This means one less shopping trip as well.
-I feel lighter. Not only because our dumpster isn’t overflowing, but because I am helping my planet the best way I know how.
We can make a difference today. Maybe you’re not ready to jump in with both feet, but starting somewhere makes a huge difference. One person living a zero waste life doesn’t quite equal the impact of 100 people living a more conscious lifestyle.
Photography by Shelley Foster