My Journey to Sustainability (July 2019)
Since I’ve been trying to be more sustainable and low waste, I’ve tried to make a lot of progress this summer. Some areas I did good in and other areas I need to improve in. I also made a lot of swaps this summer although I actually haven’t used some of the items yet due to other reasons.
Eventually, I hope to try enough products to give a review on what I like and what I don’t like.
Bamboo dish brush
Sewing Desk- I finally can make, tailor, and mend my own clothes!
Soap dispensers for bulk liquid soap
Silicone baking mats- Mom approved!
Where I succeeded and where I failed being sustainable so far
About the zero waste or low waste swaps
The drying racks I wanted to get because while I still have a decent amount of clothes I put in the dryer, I have a lot of clothes that need to be hand washed and hung up to air dry.
I previously was just hanging them from hangers, but I’m always worried about them stretching out funny, so I got an over the door flat hanger.
The zero waste laundry detergent is local although I found something similar online and I’ve also thought about trying a laundry egg, soap nuts, detergent tablets, and some other swaps if I don’t like it.
I ended up buying some reusable face rounds that are white on one side and black on the other so that I could apply my cleanser without worrying about staining the white side too much. There is another brand I would like to get for when I travel, but I’m holding off on it right now.
I have a bunch of reusable bags I keep around the apartment and my car, but even then I’m not always great about remembering or I feel silly carrying in my giant bags. So I got the Chico bag that clips onto my purse, is small, and then I always have an extra bag just in case.
I found a brand of olive oil soap that I’ve read can also be used to wash dishes. But I’m a little skeptical about it, so I am going to give it a shot. If I don’t like it, I will use it as hand soap, try a different brand, and then go back to using liquid dish soap.
Finally the low waste razor is still plastic, but I ended up getting a purple Flamingo razor. I’ve been unintentionally growing out my leg hair, so for a first try, I guess we will see how it holds up.
With the Flamingo razor and similar brands, I’m still throwing away a plastic part, but at least it’s just the head and not the entire body. I would like to try a safety razor, but even though it wouldn’t be an expensive swap, it would be a hassle to bring the blades to the waste facility during a very narrow window every so often.
Although I will be moving closer I think to the facility, so I might change my mind. I’ve seen mixed reviews about the Flamingo razor, so depending on how I like it or other brands, I might make the swap completely.
Cleaning Supplies- fail
As I’m moving to a new apartment this month, I REALLY wanted to get some low waste cleaning supplies from Blueland and CleanCult (or maybe Brandless). But unfortunately, I had to get plastic bottles due to budgeting concerns. I at least bought natural cleaning supplies from Target.
Low Waste Moving- win
As I’m moving to a new apartment, it was really important to me to use as many reusable storage boxes as I could. Especially boxes I already owned.
I also found that using reusable boxes means less packing tape needed.
I cut down on a lot of items I had and will be doing another decluttering as I unpack.
I also tried to use newspapers and blankets and towels to pack breakable items instead of packing bubbles or anything like that.
The downside to moving is that we will have a longer commute, therefore using more gas and energy to travel. On the bright side, my friend moving in might be able to bike to her job instead of driving or taking an Uber.
Secondhand books and magazines- win
My boyfriend finally got a teaching job, and in order to fill his classroom library I scoured the shelves of Half Price books, gave him books I didn’t need, and bought books from the library book sale. So far all his books are second hand.
It was also important to me to find books with lots of representation. I tried to find books of different genres and include books with POC and LGBTQ characters.
Switching to Email- win
Ive been trying to cut down on the amount of mail- physical and not- I’ve been getting. So in that effort, I have gotten the majority of my mail switched to email and I’m trying to get rid of junk mail.
Not only that, but when I have the option, I’ve been trying to get my receipts through email as well. Thankfully more companies that use systems like PayPal, Square, and membership cards allow you to opt in to email or text. Or if you online shop.
Last year I said goodbye to my National Geographic History print magazine and switched to the digital IPad version completely.
Using reusable cups- win
Lately when I’ve been going to Starbucks and other coffee shops, I’ve been mostly successful in having them use my reusable cups and my straw. My only issue is remembering my straw and trying to use my cups when I have other people with me. I get a little self conscious about it, but I’m trying to be better.
I’m hoping to get more reusable straws- another metal, a plastic, a glass, and a silicone for variety and so I have one with me.
On that note, I’m also hoping to start trying to bring my own take out container. Although I know a lot of restaurants can’t fulfill the request due to laws around sanitation.
How am I doing so far overall?
Overall, I think I am doing pretty well on becoming my own version of sustainable and low waste. Although I believe that a lot of things are out of my control at the moment.
For example, energy waste is a huge cause of environmental pollution and while I would love to get second hand, energy efficient appliances, I’m not in a good life spot for that.
And my SO and I had to compromise on a living area that unfortunately gave us longer commutes. I’m hoping one of us can carpool eventually or get better fuel efficient cars. My SO just got a new used car but it doesn’t get the greatest gas mileage and he has the longest commute, so eventually that’ll be something we’ll have to fix for both our sanity.
But as far as my waste goes, I think I am making good progress on that. I hope to continue but it is a learning process.