Friday, January 30, 2015

Less. Step 1.

I can get easily overwhelmed with all the things I'm not doing. I am a lazy person with a strong sense of guilt. Nowhere in my life is this more evident than where it comes to my environmental impact. Sometimes I will read something, and it will become so very obvious that I'm wasteful and irresponsible and so utterly consumed by consuming. Earlier this week I fell into one such funk. I had stumbled upon Zero Waste Home, and it put me in the worst mood.

So often I read about these really inspiring projects, but instead of being inspired, I am overcome with paralyzing guilt. I know this sounds dramatic, but I swear I could barely sleep Wednesday night because I felt so stuck in my ways.  I felt stubborn and resentful of even being forced to consider my choices. I can't be that woman. I can't (or rather don't want to) devote my life to this very honorable cause.  It made me feel awful.

But yesterday, as I drove to work I realized that I didn't have to be perfect. I don't have to be zero waste. I just need to be less waste.

I decided that the easiest way to start was pick three ways to reduce my waste.  So here they are:
  1. Olive oil. The Whole Foods near me sells it in bulk. My bottle is empty, so I'm going to refill it this weekend rather than just buying a new bottle. Also, I know every meat eating homesteader already does this, but I've been saving my bacon grease and using that instead of olive oil a lot of the time anyway.
  2. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. I made myself natural toothpaste. The recipe might need tweeking.  I'm not forcing it on the kids and Tom until we run out of the rest of the toothpaste we have and I've figured out something a little more palatable. And from now on, I'm going to buy compostable toothbrushes instead of plastic ones. (Added bonus: they look prettier too.)
  3. Coffee. I am no coffee snob. I drink cheap stuff from a plastic tub, but I'm going to up my coffee game and buy better beans sold in bulk. I'm going to bet it tastes better too.
It feels so much better to have a plan in place. It removed some guilt and got me excited about the whole concept.  It actually is becoming fun to think about all the places I can remove waste, but I'm not pressuring myself to implement every idea RIGHT. NOW.  I am also giving myself credit for the things I improved this past month. I have not used a single use bag. I haven't had a soda. And I curbed my Amazon book buying habit in lieu of ordering things from the library, all of which are saving me money, making it a little easier to afford the more expespensive coffee.

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