About six months ago my family and I decided that it was time for us to change our lifestyle, to reduce our household waste and make major changes in the way we eliminate single use plastic in our lives. Everyone told me how hard it would be and some people thought it was impossible. Even my own Mother rolled her eyes and said "good luck with that," but we were determined to give it our best shot.
Here's what we learned:
Composting did most of the hard work for us.
If only I had known this sooner, but about 85% of my waste was compostable. We eat a TON of fruits and veggies and previously it had gone in the waste bin, now we keep a big bowl on the kitchen counter and toss it in the backyard compost when it fills up. We also started buying products that were normally disposable and replaced them with items that would compost. Items like bamboo toothbrushes, cotton swabs, cloths, scrubbers, and dental floss all went in the compost instead of the landfill!
Be smart when you shop.
It's when we head to the mall or the grocery store that we get nailed with packaging and have plastic shoved down our throats. The first rule of the zero waste community is to Refuse when we are offered plastic. Refuse that plastic shopping bag – Always, and avoid pitfalls by bringing your own produce bags or bulk bags so that you aren't wrapping your fruits and veggies in tiny plastic bags. Another thing that is hard for some is to avoid processed foods, which is always wrapped in packaging. Try to purchase products packaged in cardboard or glass jars that are reusable. Bulk Barn and other Bulk stores will let you bring your jars and containers, they will take the weight off the container and let you fill up your bulk goodies.
Start small and go from there:
Don't take on the world's pollution epidemic in one day, this is a process, which means you learn with every step. Get a starter pack of products that replace your disposable items to start yourself off and go from there. Take reusable shopping bags and look to change your everyday items you use into eco friendly options, start in one room like the bathroom and move from there to other rooms in the house.
We Saved Money Seriously.
By buying the right products we found things lasted longer and we used less because we valued them more knowing they were not disposable. We stopped going to the store for plastic wrap, paper towels, and dish scrubbers which meant we didn't pick up other things while we were out shopping – we just didn't need to go there anymore. Another thing that helps is buying in bulk and avoiding pre-packaged foods. When we were on the go, we did our best to reduce the waste we created.
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