A Sustainable New Year

Happy New Year! I feel like an entirely new person inspired by endless possibilities.

Just kidding. Same me, same lack of inspiration. I did decide this year to make a formal commitment to producing less waste. Sari started on this a while ago, but I’ve actually been trying to learn from her over the past year. California makes it SO EASY to make sustainable choices. We are composting, she has earthworms that are efficiently turning a lot of food waste into dirt, and we are doing a better job at recycling and buying recyclable goods. I have a LOT of room for improvement, but these are just a few things I’m doing differently this year:

  • Using cloth napkins instead of the 30 billion paper towels I need per meal (washed with a biodegradable detergent)
  • Reusable cloth Swiffer pads. They’re a bit harder to push around than the regular pads, but we have very little that needs to be mopped, so it’s not a big pain.
  • I’m also planning to give the homemade Swiffer solution a try when we run out of our current stockpile.
  • Replacing plastic food storage containers with glass as they break or wear out. We have a lot of glass ones already, but we also have way too many plastic containers.
  • Storing my food in reusable silicone food storage bags. I use a LOT of plastic baggies to store my food in the freezer when I do mass food prep. These are a lot more expensive, but I have to make that change.
  • Keeping reusable silverware in my purse so that I don’t use plasticware when eating out or grabbing food.
  • When I go out to eat, I will remember bring one of my glass storage containers to pack my food home instead of getting a container from the restaurant.
  • Reusable produce bags.
  • I have previously relied on the plastic produce bags when I was scooping the cat litter, but I ordered biodegradable pet waste bags.
  • Sari requested bee’s wrap reusable food wrap for her birthday, so I went ahead and got myself some too. No more Saran Wrap for this gal.
  • I’ve already started making my own lotion, chapstick (reusing my tubes), and body oil, so I will continue doing that.
  • We’ve been saving our containers as they empty and using a local refill station for detergent, hand soap, dishwashing powder, and a few other household cleaning supplies.
  • I’ve been trying to get all of my meat locally when I can, and I’ve been working on eating less beef (MEAT STRUGGLES).
  • Overall, I’m trying to buy less. I donate clothes I’m done with to our career center on campus, but I really need to chill with purchasing. I am trying to do more thrift shopping, but I hate it. It takes TOO LONG to look through everything and I have to physically go into a store. UGH.
  • While it’s unrelated to waste specifically (saving animal bodies?), I am still slowly replacing my cosmetics and beauty products with more ethically responsible brands. I would have never imagined that it would take as much research as it does. I’ve been using Cruelty Free Kitty (thanks, Julie!) to look up brands, and they have excellent resources for people (like me) who are new to cruelty-free shopping. I’m really bummed that BECCA has been purchased by Estée Lauder though.

Most of you have probably been doing these things since you were a kid, but I’m from a town that still doesn’t even have recycling facilities. I am trying to learn and do better. If you have further suggestions or resources, then please feel free to share them in the comments or email me (runningoffthereeses {at} gmail {dot} com).

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