Earth Day is this weekend! Lately I’ve been trying simplify my life and do little things to shed unnecessary purchasing habits, a la KonMari. Like the fact that I go through FIVE plastic water bottles at work every day. For shame. And I keep buying the same products from the store week after week, all of which are packaged in plastic. Surely there are ways around these things! I am on a mission to be a bit more granola. Kudos crunchy people because it’s so so so expensive and very hard.
I am sometimes hesitant to take steps toward being less wasteful because I see it as a time consuming or difficult task to undertake. Then there’s all the crap I’m storing for “one day” that really needs to go to a thrift store. I probably wear only ten shirts ever. The rest are just hanging there in my closet wasting away. Marie Kondo says in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” Whoa. What an amazing thought. We choose to define ourselves by the things we have, and by not getting rid of the waste in my life, I’m choosing to be thoughtless.
I will say, the simpler life doesn’t have to be expensive or hard if you find a few creative solutions. Like reusing things you’ve bought once. I’m looking at you curry paste jars, which just happen to make the perfect vase or beeswax candle.
So here are a few easy ways I’ve devised to celebrate Earth Day and make my home a more earth friendly place.
Say goodbye to paper towels! I just purchased a roll of reusable bamboo paper towels. I am a frequent paper towel user. I probably go through a roll, sometimes two, a week. The great thing about these are that you can reuse them up to 100 times, meaning you are saving tons of money on paper towels. My suggestion is to put them in a little basket on the countertop and keep a small laundry basket for the dirty ones.
Save your jars. I’m now a jar saver. I try to buy things in glass containers and save the jars to put various items in–rice, jam, homemade salad dressing, or even use them as a vase! The jar in the photo above was my curry paste jar. You can easily get rid of the label with a little soap and water or a run through the dishwasher.
Start using cloth napkins. I have always done this. My family used cloth napkins at dinner growing up. Sam says it’s fancy, but I just bought some dark colored napkins at world market and that’s all I use. Nothing fancy about it! They go in with the towels on laundry day and I rarely run out.
Remember to bring your own bags to the grocery. I am the WORST about this. I never ever remember to bring mine. Mostly because I’m particular about what things go together in my grocery bags. But I need to just deal with it since there’s an entire cabinet space in my kitchen designated for those awful little plastic bags. Never again. My mom is better than me and even uses reusable produce totes. I haven’t gone this far yet. I’m the weirdo who just puts loose vegetables in her cart. But for things like cilantro that get all wet and gross, this doesn’t work so well.
Bring a reusable water bottle to work. I keep telling myself this but I for some reason find it so easy to just drink from those plastic ones at work. Those are apparently bad for you, so I will stop. Promise.
Go to the library. I am a book hoarder. After my last move, though, I absolutely could not keep doing it. When fifty percent of your boxes are books, you feel very guilty asking friends to help you move. That’s when I really decided to start using the library. I’m also the type of person that’s fickle about books and will start reading something and give up on it as soon as I don’t like it. Lately, I’ll put titles on hold (sometimes there’s a long waitlist for new titles) and pick them up at my local library later. When was the last time you actually had to wait for something? It’s nice to be reminded of the exciting feeling when that new book you’ve been waiting on is finally held for you. The library is also a great way to use things like guide books that you’ll probably never read again.
Has anyone tried bulk buying in Nashville? I’m curious to see if there’s somewhere we can purchase spices in bulk and bring your own container. I’m assuming you’d need to bring an empty one so they can zero the scale.
I’m also going to start making my own candles out of leftover candle containers and jars! Very excited about this one.
What are some things you’re doing to cut back on waste? These are all really small things, I realize, but every bit counts!