For the last couple years, I’ve been making strides in making my footprint on this earth less conspicuous. It started with deciding not to use takeout cups and then, I made a list of resolutions: I’d grab reusable bags on my way to the grocery store, use cloth napkins, shun Saran wrap in favour of lids, fix what I could instead of buying new, compost, and put an end to the influx of daily flyers in my mailbox. There were few more bullet points but either you can catch my drift or read ‘em here. And since New Year’s is coming up and that’s the classic time to revisit resolutions, I thought to do a little check-in with myself. Here’s what’s up in my life of reducing—I’d love to know that you’re on the journey of “progress”, too!
Composting is second nature now and I cannot imagine throwing my banana peels, veggie scrapings, coffee grounds, and eggshells into the landfill only to have them emit methane as they are stifled under more garbage. In related news, I’m happy to report that using my green bin over the winter was fine come Spring collection. I mean, a little gross before a good spray-out, but mostly fine! Another success has been my commitment to reusable bags (I even remembered them as I Christmas shopped), using containers in the fridge rather than plastic wrap, and to-go cups as the only disposable coffee cup came when my request wasn’t heard and the drink was already made. A sign averts most flyers, we don’t use straws minus my daughter’s washable one, and I’ve responsibly sold, donated, or recycled my used textiles. Oh and I’ve made little switches to a few consciously-created beauty products that are either package-free or housed in refillable or recyclable containers (big love to Green Tree!).
Made the Grade
Something I’ve found challenging is to buy fruits and vegetables without packaging, not just because it’s often a way better deal to buy a plastic bag of apples but because some of my staples are nearly impossible to find without a clamshell or bag. Berries are my biggest culprit, followed closely by spinach which you cannot find by the bunch in winter. Sure, those containers are recyclable but I’m aware of the energy spent in making and actually recycling them. Sorry, environment! Also, CHIPS. Sorry, body! I do use the bags for cat litter or what have you but yeah, can’t exactly buy those in bulk and I ain’t slowin’ down. Another passing grade was my napkin use: at home, perfect! But I did host a children’s birthday party at another venue and couldn’t round up the thirty cloth napkins I would need, so I admit to buying paper. Diapers are another concession I’ve made: I use cloth during the day but because I do elimination communication with my little guy, he was waking up like five times a night because he’d peed and that’s in addition to him waking to nurse, so I use a disposable on him at night for my sanity. Hankie use for my kiddos has been around 80% which beats my score last year but I could do better.
There are some environmentally-adverse facts about my life: I live in a house that uses traditional gas and electricity, my yard is kind of big, I’ve got a hot tub, and I travel sometimes. My Subaru is very good on gas for an SUV and the BMW has incredible efficiency and even turns itself off at a stop sign, but it still means my household has two cars and doesn’t rely on public transit (I want to but having looked at the bus schedule and mine, I can’t reconcile it). Boy, writing it out, I realize I’ve got some biggies to combat! Another place with room for improvement, environment-wise, is buying clothes for my kids. My wardrobe doesn’t need much influx but my children grow and new styles are always SO CUTE. With just Petra, I found more time to visit second-hand shops and sort through to find the gems but with my new sched of two, I haven’t been as savvy.
But then that’s the point. It’s about making small changes that buoy you into making yet more, and all in all, I’m making progress and that’s on the way to perfection, right? And the bullet points are ever-growing for me—I’d love to get solar shingles when next my roof needs to be done, I want to garden more next year, and I do mean to shop second-hand more often. Some of these things will be easier when my busy boy settles down a bit. (That happens, right?)