Hello you beautiful human being!
Today I wanted to start new series on my blog/YouTube channel that revolves around reducing waste.
For years and years I have been doing the bare minimum which has been recycling. I always had the fear that going all in would be extremely overwhelming and as we all know life itself is very overwhelming. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a million different little things you can swap out or add into your routine that won’t be a huge burden/adjustment.
The more I researched, the more I listened, the more I read, the more I realized how urgent it is that we all take small steps in the sustainable direction. Just one swap can make a huge difference and hopefully with time and the knowledge you will naturally want to incorporate more.
With trash very quickly taking up our land and our oceans there is no better time than now to start making small changes.
Below is a video I created to talk about nine easy steps you can make today that will reduce your waste significantly. If you don’t want to watch, you can just scroll on down and read all about the swaps!
1. Don’t use produce bags
This is a massively overlooked easy swap. Why use the produce bags to separate out your fruits and veggies? You can just drop them into your cart. If you are worried about germs or them touching the checkout belt you can invest in reusable bags that you can bring every time you shop.
Here is a great reusable solution (click the photo):
2. Don’t buy fruits/veggies that are cut up
Did you know that cut up fruits and veggies were introduced to store shelves to accommodate people who don’t have the ability to do it themselves?? Fun fact of the day here for ya! I think the meaning behind it is wonderful and I don’t suggest it be cut from store offerings but the sad part is that it is packaged in plastic. Eventually I will do a whole blog post about it but in lament terms, it’s killing the earth. The type of plastic that is used to house the fruit/veg is non recyclable so it just ends up in landfills which then ends up leaching into the earth or making its way into the oceans. It’s quite problematic and the easiest solution is for the able bodied people to buy whole fruits and vegetables and cut them up themselves.
Here is a great solution to save time cutting (click the photo):
3. Don’t buy salads in plastic containers
The same facts about plastic from #2 applies here as well. The plastic that salads come in cannot be recycled. Same thing with salads in plastic bags. All of that ends up in the landfills so the easiest way to avoid that is to buy bunched salad (with rubber bands or twisty tabs). You could also check out local farmer markets and bring your own containers or bags that they can put the salad in.
4. Buy liters of shampoo/conditioner
Plastic is the issue with this as well. So in theory the bigger the quantities you purchase, the less often you will be buying brand new plastic bottles. Another solution could be to buy shampoo and conditioner bars which comes with zero plastics but that isn’t for everyone. I personally use Pureology hair care because I have color treated hair so my best solution is buying liter bottles. Those last me over a year which I think is pretty decent.
5. Adapt a minimalist lifestyle
This one is also not the solution for everyone but I think small changes in the minimalistic lifestyle direction could benefit not only the earth but you as well. Unlearning the drive to buy, buy, buy can save you a lot of money. It can allow you to declutter and really find the things that spark the most joy. Diving deep into need versus want has really helped me slow down and enjoy the more meaningful aspects of life. I have learned to love the process of letting go of things that no longer really serve me. I enjoy taking my time to find the best versions of things that I truly need. I’m not encouraging you to give up all of your material possessions but getting out the mindset that I need to buy these things to be successful and happy is a very outdated concept. I think trying to step away from that could all together increase your own self esteem and self worth.
6. Gift experiences and money
This has to be one of my favorite swaps. To me there is nothing better than helping someone experience something you know they will love. Broadening horizons is so essential to growth so gifting this to someone is way more meaningful than a knick knack they will one day throw out. I love knowing that they will keep the experience in their minds and hearts for forever is so valuable. If you don’t know what someone will love for an experience you can always give them money as a gift. I think we could all use some extra cash…am I right?? I will admit that as with everything there are some exceptions to the rule, like if you really know someone will love the item or needs the item, then by all means get it for them. But I do want to encourage you to stop buying candles, socks and general knick knacks that someone doesn’t actually need or want.
7. Buy second hand clothes
This one has taken me the longest to adapt to because for so long shopping has been a way to reward myself for hard work. I came from a pretty poor background so when I was able to have my own job and my own money I couldn’t fathom second hand shopping. It felt like a step backwards. I didn’t get out of that bad mindset until I learned how awful fast fashion is. Now I only try to shop at sustainable/eco friendly shops if I am buying new because I can’t find what I am looking for. Otherwise second hand clothes are a brilliant way to save money and the planet. If you don’t love going to second hand stores and digging to find the treasures there are a million different online vendors that can make that easy for you. I love Poshmark for the search ability aspect. If you aren’t looking for anything in particular Etsy is a great place and Instagram has a ton of second hand vintage type pages that you can browse through.
8. Don’t buy seasonal decor
This is more in terms of plastic or single use type of seasonal decor. If you use the same decor year after year thats wonderful, by all means, keep using it. If you feel that new seasonal or holiday decor makes you happy then perhaps you could try and get more organic like for Halloween you can buy a pumpkin but use the seeds to bake pumpkin seeds and before it goes bad use it to make a pie and in the end compost it. For fall you could collect leaves and make a wreath with wire which you can reuse for something else later on and the leaves you can compost. For Christmas you can buy a potted tree or make sure the live tree you buy is reused somehow. A lot of farms will pick up your old Christmas trees and use it to feed the animals or you can call around your local state parks and see if they can use it for mulching purposes.
9. Fix things when broken
Why throw it away if you can fix it? Mending broken objects is becoming trendy…thank goodness. There are so many things that you truly don’t have to throw out and get new like shoes, clothes, jewelry, electronics, lamps and so on. You can go to a cobbler or a seamstress or a jeweler or an electrician to fix all of your broken items. This is not only wonderful for your wallet but also the earth and for keeping jobs alive.
I hope that you truly enjoyed this article and learned something. Fingers crossed that you can take away at least one thing to introduce to your lifestyle. A little can go a long way. Don’t ever forget that!
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Thank you for reading! XOXO, Rutele.
DISCLAIMER: Although some of the links listed above are affiliate and I do make a small commission, all of the opinions are 100% my own.