EARTH DAY - ZERO WASTE

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Submitted Date 04/23/2019
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Happy Earth Day!

I thought another zero-waste related article fit well with posting on Earth Day, so here we are.

I've touched upon some topics on zero waste beauty and DIY projects before, and have been a bit overdue on posting a part two to my zero waste beauty part one article, but I personally feel like this one can just be a big ol' mash-up of some of the things that have helped me the most in being close to waste-free, and things that have actually made my wallet happier and life easier, and hopefully will make yours as well or inspire you to make simple and small switches that do make a difference.

Living to prevent waste is important to me not only because I want to reduce waste to help the planet, but also because it's great for helping my mind stay decluttered and at least have a little more at peace.

With how I used to be such a huge consumer on unnecessary products or things that were packaged in unnecessary plastics, I felt cornered in my own room with all the waste sitting around. It's so refreshing to not have to unwrap a single item and stuff layers of plastic in the trash or feel that I don't need to buy ten different beauty products that could have been made into one. I feel like I have more control over quantity with buying things in bulk, and a lot less money wasted on multiple products as mentioned above. Why do I need to buy a face moisturizer, body moisturizer, hand moisturizer, and even hair oil, all in different plastic bottles, when there are natural refillable oils I could be using or body butter I could make myself from just a block of shea butter and other oils? I love knowing each ingredient in things I buy, and I eat fresher and in season produce now instead of piling up plastic-wrapped frozen meals in my fridge.

Little things turn in to big changes over time, and it really turns into a benefit for your own self and so much more. Here are things I'm so glad I discovered and learned/tips when I first started out reducing:

Accumulating jars:

You don't need to buy a huge box of jars to start out reducing waste. Find them at thrift shops, which are abundant with tons of different shapes and sizes. I'm so glad I didn't splurge on a ton of jars when I first started out. Mason jars are packaged in plastic, anyway! What helped the most was first buying products packaged in glass such as tahini or peanut butter jars. My apple cider vinegar jars are now my kombucha bottling jars. Trader Joes has glass jars of fruit juice that are helpful to hold liquid products. A lot of my jars are either peanut butter jars or gems I've found thrift shopping.

Wanting to be more zero-waste does not mean throwing away every plastic thing you have:

Before I started, I was buying tons of plastic products mindlessly, but I still use them. I'm still going to use them until they fall apart. I get how you might want to throw away cupboards full of plastic Tupperware so you can replace them with glass or metal, but my advice? Don't. Either keep using them or donate them. Throwing them away doesn't help because of 1. Producing waste 2. They probably still have a lot of life left in them. If you're adamant on getting rid of all plastics in your house, donate, donate, donate.

You don't need fancy products, and do your research beforehand:

As more people are becoming aware of zero-waste, a lot more of these fancy products are coming out. Like "zero-waste kits" and the rise in popularity of bento boxes, or silicon Ziploc bags.

It is possible to freeze glass, BTW! Silicon is a product to do some research on, I see a lot of products now advocating for zero-waste that are silicon-based like those Ziploc bags or water bottles. Before, I had thought I needed to buy silicon Ziploc bags because of how I freeze my fruits or want to take food out without carrying Tupperware, but I'm glad I didn't invest in them. I've found easier ways to utilize the products I already own to freeze foods and bring along trail mix or granola with me rather than silicon bags. There are of course necessary changes that help a ton, like reusable water or coffee bottles or straws if you really use them, and a lot of things are catered to your own lifestyle. A zero waste kit sometimes has things some people don't even need. Try to map out what you use the most of that is disposable which has reusable replacements and start out with that. My biggest thing to find alternatives were plastic bottles and produce bags. I also saw how much I replaced razors and makeup, so I went for those things first. Buying a metal razor was an awesome investment for me. Plus, disposable razors are so pricey. Which brings us to:

Start learning about zero waste beauty products:

Either after you finish each beauty product, learn more about them or just start researching now. After I finished my mascara, I tried to find out if I could make my own. When my foundation was running out, I tried to find out how to mix up my own skin tone. You can make your own products easily, and it's quite fun!

- Also: start noting what ingredients are used in natural beauty products

There are a bunch of natural beauty brands out there, and although I do adore some, if you look at the ingredient list you'll realize that if you're already trying to make your own beauty products at home that you could probably make your own version of that twenty-eight dollar lip balm or eyeshadow. I try to make my own products as much as I can, and if there is something that I just really want or don't want to make myself, I feel fine splurging on that. Mascara is something that's hard for me to master, so I have no issue buying a sorta pricey natural zero-waste mascara (because, trust me, most natural beauty products are expensive. Mostly because the best I find are from small shops and not big brands. P.S: support small companies!) when I don't spend as much on other products anymore.

Start confronting your habits:

It's good to confront some habits that may be contributing to some wasteful things. For example, I have the biggest sweet tooth ever and used to constantly snag from the aisle of candy by the cashier. That my friends, is my ultimate weakness: chocolate bars. But have you ever visited the bulk aisle for sweets? Cause that area (depending on your bulk foods store) usually has a large array of sweets to choose from. To gummies and chocolates, I've even seen peanut butter cups. There are also tons of granolas, it's just a greater decision in my opinion because you don't just get one chocolate bar, you get a bag of stuff that you can mix and match, why not? Other habits could just be always forgetting your reusable bottle, maybe invest in something you absolutely love and will not forget. Maybe you hate chopping up your own fruit and buy them pre-chopped in plastics, I'd urge you to try out whole fruit because in the end it's cheaper and lasts longer. Etc. etc., there are lots of things that you could pinpoint. And believe me when I say that making changes like this is easy, and they're all small changes that add up. Once you find your own route of reducing or reusing, move on to bigger things (which again, are big depending on your own lifestyle). For me, that's things like composting. And trust me, you can still be someone who never cooks and always get's takeout and still can reduce waste. Don't be scared to ask grocery stores or restaurants if they can put your bread in your own bag or your food in your own container. It all starts somewhere!

Happy earth day :)

 

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  • Kiersten Felch 4 months, 3 weeks ago

    What a great reminder on the easy ways we can help the environment. Make sure to use everything and just be mindful.

  • Tomas Chough 4 months, 3 weeks ago

    This is great advice. Thanks for sharing all your research and experience!