4 simple swaps to live more sustainably

October 1, 2018

 

1. bring your own container

Come prepared!

Wherever you're headed for the day, think ahead as to what you're going to get up to and bring your own container for whatever comes your way. The goal here is to try and avoid single-use plastics and frivolous packaging when possible.

 

Headed to a cafe? Bring your own tumblr!

To a restaurant? Bring your own container for your take-away meal!

Sitting in? Have your container of choice ready for your leftovers!

Going to get smoothies, juice? Bring a travel bottle! And it can double as a water bottle when you get thirsty later too!

Not sure what you're getting up to and don't want to carry extra things around? Have no fear!

When in doubt, I always bring a little produce bag out with me, as it can serve as a wrapper/container for any dried goodies like cookies/pastries, fruit, chocolate from your local shop, and any bulk foods/items you happen to stumble upon throughout the day!

 

And if you're feeling like you want to one-up this step, also bring around a spork/cutlery, and a straw as well if you're into those suckers (see what I did there 😉)

Snag some of my 100% bamboo straws HERE

 

my handy produce bags (left), byo smoothie jars (middle), and using a resuable container to snag some dounts (right)

 

 

2. menstrual gear & baby doodoo

This was a swap I was so so nervous to make before I actually did.

But think about how many single-use tampons, pads, and their wrappers/packaging/transport waste is used just by one person every year, and is sitting somewhere in a landfill. Now multiply that by all of your menstruating friends. WOWZA.

And maybe even couple that with the single-use diapers every baby wears each day. Not entirely the same subject, but they kind of all host the same societal function of keeping bodily stuff absorbed and easy to deal with. One certainly a more beautiful and magical thing than the other, but you get what I mean.

 

Swapping to a menstrual cup was really scary for me. I guess part of me was scared it was going to leak, as I think most people are concerned with. But truthfully, I was more intimidated by inserting/removing it. Just looking at it, I was like... I just don't understand the aerodynamics of this, truthfully. And then the idea of rinsing it out in a public space freaked my germaphobe-self right on out.

What I'm trying to say is, I know it can feel intimidating. And there certainly is a bit of a learning curve to inserting it properly to keep it from leaking. BUT once you get the hang of it... EASY PEASY!

 

It took me a while to research and find one I liked but when I found the Intimina collapsible one (the lily cup), I was sold. The fact that you can carry it with you anywhere and anytime, just like having a spare tampon in your bag, made it a lot less of an intimidating new concept. When you're getting used to using the Intimina, it certainly sometimes collapsed by one notch when inserted, but you slowly get the hang of it. And regardless if it's collapsed or not, it shouldn't change whether it's "seal" has formed or not so it shouldn't creating any leaking issues (or at least I don't remember any...)

 

Anyways, yeah. That's the cup I wear and I LOVE it!

Recently I've also decided I want to get some reusable pads, and I think I'll be going with the ones from Luna Pads or GladRags.

 

Another cool option that's seemed to have taken the internet by storm in the last year is period proof underwear! I haven't tried them but I've heard great things about Thinkx, Sustain, and Modibodi.

 

If you want more info and reassurance on literally anything related to mensuration/fertility/all that good stuff, I 110% recommend checking out FemmeHead on youtube. She's a menstrual educator and advisor and she is WONDERFUL! Highly recommend. She can answer literally any and all questions you have.

 

photos via Intimina (left), sustain (middle), and Luna Pads (right) 

 

3. loose produce, farmers markets, and seasonal plants

Here's the thing. Virtually anything we buy and use on a daily basis, has been wrapped at one time or another in plastic. And we all know that today, food is not an exception to that rule. Good whole food is bagged and rationed out and sold on shelves. Everything from items that have absolutely no need to be wrapped up, like an unpeeled orange, down to the spinach/lettuce we buy. I know that I personally would have NEVER picked up loose lettuce before my sustainable awareness started, much less had gone out of my way for it. I don't think I even knew that you could actually buy loose bunches of spinach (or fill your own bag with cut baby spinach from a box in some cases). I just thought that buying a bag of pre-washed baby spinach in a bag was how it was. And I never even thought twice about it. Nor did I think about it for many other food items.

 

Think about it: bags of rice, boxes/bags of cereal, cartons/bottles of almond milk, plastic net bags of potatoes or apples, and the god-forsaken tetra packs. And don't even get me started on places like Costco and Trader Joes, who sell little to no foods free from some sort of plastic wrapping. You can't even buy a cantaloupe at Costco without a mesh bag and plastic tag. From a business standpoint, I get it. Their uniform product rations and contracts with farmers/growers are what allow them to keep their prices low. And from a business standpoint, it is smart. They have inexpensive produce year round. But I do hope they work their way around the plastic issue at some point in the future. They have to. They reach millions upon millions of consumers in North America (and across the world) every day. Thats millions of bags and plastic boxes lying somewhere out of sight, yet still prominently here somewhere. They (and others alike) have to change their structure. Our home depends on it. Our children's health depends on it.

 

Any who, my rant aside.

 

I just didn't realize that there was anything wrong with the excessive single use plastic waste I produced. And just to carry one item from one place to the next. It doesn't really have any fundamental purpose other than convenience. Our grandparents survived just fine without this throw-away culture.

 

My point here is, look around at what you have available. For me, that meant refraining from going to places like Trader Joes, Amazon, and Costco. And I moved on to my regular every day grocery store, where there was unprocessed food (aka, produce, grains, and legumes, etc.) that was sold loosely.

 

And even if there is some plastic waste involved in transport/stocking the store, which there evidently always is, you're still drastically cutting your waste since it arrives in wholesale sizing. And honestly, in today's consumer culture, taking your dollar away from the wasteful options makes a more powerful statement than the actual waste reduction. When businesses are loosing money, they'll put it where they can find it. They'll start to reveal how much plastic/single use waste comes from their products and they will change their packaging and they will begin to offer plastic-free options to consumers. Businesses will always go where market demand is.

 

photos via google images

 

4. goodbye "new" 〰 thrifting is queen!

Need something new in your life? Pause first and ask yourself if you really need it first. And if you do, try finding one that someone has already bought and didn't use or no longer needed.

Whatever it is, be it furniture, accessories, camera equipment, or clothes. I guarantee there's someone out there trying to get rid of the exact thing you're looking for. And for a fraction of the cost! And the best part is, there are so many online/community platforms now that make it so much simpler to find exactly what you're looking for. So, contrary to popular belief, you won't have to compromise on trends! You can still have all the things that keep you aligned with your own style!

 

My favourite places to go? 

1. I always check local thrift stores first! Like value village, good will, etc.

2. And then after that, I look to local online platforms like facebook marketplace and craigslist. That way the items don't need to be shipped in packaging materials and transported further (saving on both plastic waste and carbon emissions).

3. And if I can't find it there, then there's always online second-hand platforms like ebay, depop, the letgo app, and poshmark!

 

 

 

 

 

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