I’ve been trying to reduce my waste in general for several years, but have found a few roadblocks along the way. Money, having to spend more time on things, convenience… all valid reasons for low-waste to get shoved back a bit. However, I’m determined to make 2022 my lowest-waste year yet. And I plan to do it in a simple, sustainable (for me, and for the planet) way.
Every month, I want to pick three easy things to swap out. Obviously, I want to use up what I have before making a switch, and I don’t have the money to go all out, but I feel like even small changes will make a big difference to me. I’m aware of my waste, and I’d like to get it down as much as one person can.
As of this month, our recycling program has ended in my area, meaning that the little good recycling did do for us is over with. It also means whatever we fit into our recycling bin would now have to fit into our trash can! Which isn’t ideal, even for a small household like mine. I’d like to try to salvage as much as I can from having to go into the garbage by upcycling, but reducing waste overall is my family’s best option.
As a side note, I don’t want anyone to feel like it’s their sole responsibility to stop climate change or eliminate the ever-growing landfills of our world; giant companies continue to choose cost over sustainability, giving us little freedom to choose effective products with eco-friendly origins and packaging. It’s cheaper to buy things in plastic, and more often than not, we have to opt for things in such packaging. It’s not your fault that Johnson and Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, and the handful of other corporate giants have monopolized the shelves and filled them with disposables. We can do our best to reduce waste on a consumer-level, but if we want a real change, we have to demand it from the companies that blame it on us. Low-waste living is a conscientious lifestyle that can have some impact, but for the world to start healing, we have to make it accessible.
Anyways, here are some of the changes I’ve been thinking about making. For now I’m posting three months at a time so I can reevaluate my journey and needs every season. Feel free to comment your own, follow along with my journey, and share your results with various swaps!
- Buy things in more sustainable packaging – particularly when grocery shopping (swaps to make from plastic include cardboard, glass, and natural fiber cloth) I don’t have a ton of money, so this change will be gradual and most likely something I work on for the rest of the year!
- Make some grocery bags out of old shirts – before I moved, I had a handful of these that I used, but I didn’t take them with me, and have slacked on making more! I plan to make some. This tutorial by Hello Glow does an excellent job explaining how to do so without sewing
- Stop using paper plates – when I moved in with my fiance, he had a stack of paper plates, and I admit that I’ve been grabbing them way more than I ever should have. So I’m going to stop using them and encourage him to do the same, and just let his grandma use them if she needs to.
- Source used shipping boxes for my soap business – I’m in need of small ones, so I’ll be checking on my buy-sell-trade and buy nothing groups to stock up!
- Be better about washing my reusable masks – I hate reaching for disposable masks, but I haven’t been keeping up with washing my reusable ones! I want to work on maintaining a fresh one at all times.
- Stop eating out as often – eating out has always made it hard for me to reduce the waste of a meal. Everything is disposable and with Covid cases rising, it isn’t realistic to BYO reusables. So, I’m going to try to stop eating out as often, and when I do, try to avoid as much unnecessary trash as possible.
- Swap paper towels for reusable dish cloths made into unpaper towel rolls – I plan to make at least two rolls to have on hand. Link for adding metal snaps to fabric by LTRL Trend on YouTube
- Evaluate the cleaning products under the sink, and make or buy more sustainable options as they run out – this one may take more than just march, and my fiance’s grandma may continue to buy her own cleaning products, but I’d like the ones I use to be better for the environment, and for us.
- Swap plastic/store-bought sponges with loofah sponges (link to a guide on growing your own loofah gourds by National Garden Bureau, and a link to purchase them on etsy)
What swaps did you make in 2021, and which ones are you leaning towards for 2022? Let me know in the comments, and share this post to inspire others to do the same!