It’s no secret that we are seeing a massive impact on the health of our planet given that the globe has been forced to pause. We have seen the proof via videos and images that
It’s no secret that we are seeing a massive impact on the health of our planet given that the globe has been forced to pause. We have seen the proof via videos and images that while we as humans are suffering and struggling through this pandemic, our precious earth is flourishing. The air is cleaner, animals are becoming bolder and the ozone layer is healing.
I know that it’s hard to imagine that one person’s actions can actually make a difference, but given the direction we are going in (the one where we are headed to an existential crisis from climate change ) maybe if we all do JUST a bit, we can slow the process of our extinction via a tsunami caused by melting ice caps… but then again, we could be taken out by the murder hornet.
Now that we are all stuck at home, I thought it would be a great time to jump on the “moving towards a zero waste” or “more sustainable” life bandwagon! Besides, running after a toddler all day long and using her nap times to catch up on house chores, I don”t really have the time to take up Yoga, make sourdough bread, or redecorate my house. I kid you not, when my boss told me I was going to be temporarily laid off I actually said the words out loud to my husband “That’s ok, I will get in shape, take up yoga maybe and do all the little projects around the house I have been waiting to do for years!” Bahahahahahahah
I say zero waste, but after much research I realized that trying to achieve an absolutely zero waste lifestyle would be next to impossible. That being said, I still want to do what I can, so moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle seemed like a more reasonable goal.
We are lucky to live in a community that not only recycles but also started a composting program last year. This reduced the actual “waste” in our home by quite a bit, but we still fill our garbage bin to the point of overflowing every other week, and the worst part – the bag we use for the bin is non recyclable as well!
I am proud that I am teaching my kids to both recycle and compost, but when you think about all the products we use, there are soo many that are non recyclable! Chip bags, food bags like the bag in a cereal box, frozen food boxes, takeaway cartons or coffee cups and other materials that have plastic, glossy or shiny coating are not recyclable, and all of these end up at the landfill.
So how could we, as one family, make enough of an impact to help reduce the overall waste that goes to landfills? It’s overwhelming when you really think about what we as a species are doing to our planet. So instead of being sucked down the rabbit hole of despair and ripping open a bag of chips and buying a candy bar – both plastics non recyclable- I am going to start doing what I can, and hopefully that will help me sleep better at night.
Here are 5 things I have done in the past few months in my effort to hug our planet;
- Switched to Norwex cleaning products – Using these cleaning cloths has significantly reduced my use of paper towels, and has 100% removed windex and other non biodegradable chemical cleaners from my home. I used to buy the large package of 12 paper towel rolls from Costco monthly, and I am happy to say that I have used only 6 rolls within the last 6 months! If you want to to learn more about Norwex you can read my blog about it here!
- We bought metal straws – It started with my daughter seeing a video about a turtle being choked by straws, and her chanting for weeks “ We need to save the turtles and stop using plastic straws!!!” So we ordered some from Amazon and use them daily! Plus they come with a little brush so they are super easy to wash!
- We use reusable snack bags – Again another Amazon find! Even though these are recyclable, they often end up in the trash. In my home, we used these little suckers for lunches and snacks (because containers took up too much room in the lunchbag), for leftovers in the fridge and even for organizing and putting things away like art supplies.
I have recently stopped buying them and now use the reusable ones, so I will keep you posted on that!
- Silicone baking mat – To those that know me, it’s no surprise that I bake and cook…A lot! I own three cookie sheets and with use and time, they are now black. The colour doesn’t bother me, but I don’t like to put my food directly on it so for years now I have been using foil to line the sheets. Besides the fact that it made for quick clean up, it was convenient and easy to use. However, because the foil gets food stuck all over it, it can’t be recycled! I have thrown out an embarrassingly large amount of soiled foil, and I knew this was one thing I had to stop. The silicone baking sheet was a great alternative! It’s nonstick and super easy to wash. The fact that it replaced the foil was just an added bonus! ( Amazon as well!)
- Cotton Dryer Balls – A Direct quote from the AmericanScientific website says “ According to the health and wellness website Sixwise.com, some of the most harmful ingredients in dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener alike include benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer), benzyl alcohol (an upper respiratory tract irritant), ethanol (linked to central nervous system disorders), limonene (a known carcinogen) and chloroform (a neurotoxin and carcinogen), among others.
If all these reasons don’t turn you off the sheets – the nail in the coffin might be that they ARE NOT recyclable.. If you choose the right kind, some may be compostable but still covered in chemicals.. Yuk!! I got my dryer balls through Norwex – again see the blog here – and they do a great job! In the winter I do add some foil smashed up into balls to reduce the static, but otherwise , they do the job. If you want a scent attached you can even add in some essential oils and voila! Chemical free drying!
So these were only 5 of the small changes I have made in the last few months, and I hope to expand on this sustainable living lifestyle as much as possible. I’d love to hear about what you have been doing! Comment Below!!
In a perfect world I would buy products from bulk stores in compostable bags, or with zero plastic packaging. I would buy all my clothes/furniture/toys etc second hand and have an upcycle program defined for everything in my household… pipe dreams for now. But here is what I can promise; I will learn more about zero waste and how I can do my part, with my family to ensure that generations that come after us, have a beautiful environment to grow up in.
PS : Did you know that July is “Plastic Free” Month? Well it’s just around the corner and I am hoping to inspire you to take part in the challenge! #plasticfreejuly I know we will! You can sign up with various companies like this one!