I’ve decided to go waste-free, and for me this means many different things, but first and foremost, taking my time. Now, I don’t mean taking my time about making this decision; I mean getting comfortable with the idea that I am no longer a convenience shopper—that it might take me a couple hours or a couple weeks to figure out the best way to provide for myself without taking away from the earth or those who live on it.
It means making a practice of thinking in the long-term. Planning grocery trips, extra planning for trips in general, becoming decisively more educated on what I and my environment do and do not need.
This decision came as a result of being seriously underwhelmed by my progress as an individual on the issue of climate change. Coming home from rallies or meetings and realizing that I haven’t exactly been practicing what I’m preaching. It isn’t fair for me to speak out on what the world should do, if I can’t speak out about what I myself am doing.
I think I’ve been afraid to face my own role in perpetuating waste culture, thinking that I didn’t have the resources to do better—it would be too much on top of everything else.
Thankfully, the first step in making a change is being conscious of the opportunity to do so.
And looking around my apartment a few weeks ago, I began to have idea after idea—I wonder if floss has a sustainable alternative, or my shampoo bottle? And instead of just going about my day as usual, I sat down, made a list, and took it to our good friend the Internet.
It turns out, there are biodegradable, plastic-free, tree-free, chemical-free, or waste-free alternatives to all of the products I was going to buy on my next shopping trip. And quite a few things I could make for myself.
Floss, q-tips, lotion, toothpaste, detergent, deodorant, toothbrushes…I mean the list goes on, as lists usually do. People, I was astounded. I was under the impression that these kinds of products were still a thing of the hopeful future, and I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time to say I was wrong.
Immediately, I felt this overwhelming relief. It’s not all on me to figure this out, and it never was! I don’t have to have a million dollars (although, hey, that wouldn’t be terrible) to make this happen for myself.
There are loads of environmentally conscious creative minds out there shaping small businesses and sites in order to give people a budget-healthy chance at doing the thing we love most (living!) better. And I mean way better. For everyone.
This will be the first post of many about my journey toward a truly sustainable way of life. I am very excited to share my finds along the way about the places in Wilmington and around the country that are making it possible for people like me and you to make that change from the home-space out.
I encourage anyone reading this to begin to make a list of the items you use most around your home, work space, and otherwise, and ask yourself:
What happens to those items when I throw them away?
Where do they go?
Are they negatively effecting someone or something when they leave my hands/my space?
How do I feel about the amount of waste I or my household produce?
And keep in mind, you’re asking these questions for positive reasons. You’ll be surprised, to say the least, at the things you’ll begin to notice and the ideas you’ll begin to have. Let that creativity flow!
Until next time, here are some things to think about in starting your own journey to being waste-free:
- Don’t feel bad about making a commitment to do better next time but follow through with that commitment.
- Decluttering is a big part of this—creating more space for value/valuable items that you will use over and over again. (A value cycle! What a lovely thing.)
- Decluttering can also mean saying no to clutter (extra purchases, single-use plastic, décor that goes right out the door, etc.) before it comes into your space.
- Matching your lifestyle with your beliefs and passions is a beautiful and fulfilling process, so take your time, and enjoy the feeling.