Small Changes to a Greener Life

In my last post about the March for Science, I wrote about all of the things we’ve been doing to use less waste in our house. Let’s recap:

… buying your clothes secondhand (or making them!), washing your clothes appropriately to keep them lasting longer, using dryer balls instead of dryer sheets, using a reusable coffee cup and water bottle instead of disposable ones (especially using ones made of materials other than plastic), using cloth diapers and menstrual pads instead of disposables, using cloth and wax wraps or silicone reusables instead of plastic wraps, using cloth zippered sandwich bags instead of plastic ones, going meatless one day a week, using natural cleaning supplies like vinegar and water…

And I’d like to add putting a recycling bin upstairs so we are more likely to recycle bathroom waste, and reusing glass and plastic food containers for leftovers, and using reusable towels instead of paper towels because we did all that, too.

Now, it seems like we are pretty close to being a zero-waste household. We are not. We take out the garbage far less than we did, but we’re not at zero garbage. Because, let’s get real. Sometimes, you have to do things that are convenient. Buy frozen food, put the raw meat in a plastic baggy, use a paper towel because you have a toddler and sometimes either a dish towel won’t cut it, or it isn’t worth using up all of them and having to do laundry to clean up a particularly bad mess. Sometimes you need a damn coffee in the middle of the day (see previous statement about toddler messes) and you don’t have your reusable coffee cup with you. Sometimes, your toddler just wants to eat fruit snacks and they come wrapped in whatever they come wrapped in.

Trust me. I get it. I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of green living blogs, and they make it look so easy to have a zero-waste household. And, because green living is their job (and because they probably don’t have toddlers at home), it may not be easy, but it is worth it to do their jobs as bloggers well. For the rest of us who have other jobs and tiny children who refuse to eat anything but fruit snacks (did I say that already?), sometimes plastic is a necessity just to get through the day.

The important thing to remember, though, is that what the world really needs isn’t for everyone to do everything (though that would be great), it is for everyone to do something. If everyone wore their clothes at least 30 times and washed them only in cold water, or carried a reusable coffee cup to the coffee shop, or ditched plastic grocery bags, it would make a huge difference.

I think this type of all-or-nothing thinking keeps people from taking that first step. It certainly was that way for me. I figured, “What’s the point of bringing a reusable coffee cup. I’m one person out of a million, and even I don’t do it every time.” But small strokes fell big oaks, my friends. It’s the theme of this blog! If we each take one small step together, we can keep a ton of plastic and unnecessary waste out of landfills and start making a big difference to this world of ours.

Who’s with me?

Photo Credit: Andy Arthur

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