Now that 2017 is in full swing, I thought I would do one more 2016 recap post. I’m including my favorite environmental choices that I made during 2016. Hopefully they are decisions that can also help you on your environmental journey.
Zero Waste Shopping
Making more environmentally friendly choices, such as going zero waste for my food shopping has made such a huge difference in what I consume. Avoiding foods with packaging has helped me to eat healthier. More nutrient dense foods tend to be ones with Mother Nature made packaging – such as fruits and veggies.
I’ve become a pro at shopping the bulk bins at my local Whole Foods and natural/organic stores. It may take more time to prep your jars and bags for your trip but it easily becomes habit. If bulk shopping isn’t available in your area, try to bring your own shopping bags instead of using plastic ones. Every little change counts!
2016 brought great changes with the amount of items I felt I’d need to keep and hold onto. Being raised with the mindset that it’s great to have “spare parts” or supplies always available if something needs to be repaired, has made for a few multiples of items.
Once I realized other people could be using these items that have been hanging around my home waiting to become useful I then began my purging. It was great to have the space to hold onto all these items but in reality I would never want to haul these things around every time I moved.
Keeping only the most important items, which evoke the strongest memories are the ones that you will care about and take great care of for the future. It is likely that there won’t be too many items, so that already helps to avoid the issue of clutter.
Clutter makes us feel like there is a burden hanging over us. When you have more than you need, it can be a waste of resources – someone else could be using that item that you aren’t. Currently on Netflix there is an hour-long documentary called Minimalism. I watched it last night and it is a really great film for anyone who is curious about minimalism and what that entails. The film follows along two friends who have adopted a minimalism lifestyle and how it has impacted their lives. It is filmed during their time touring the United States for 10 months on their book tour.
Buy Nothing New
American marketing practices are in the business of informing you that you don’t have the best product. They say they’ve just created a better one that you need to buy. This linear thinking of constantly needing to upgrade to the newest and “best” product is terribly wasteful and couldn’t be further from the truth of life. A marketing company’s job is to sell and sell they do, but the truth is that we can all be great with exactly what we own already.
That two year-old cell phone you have – is it still functional? Yes? Great, then keep on using that device until it’s barely holding on. It takes so many resources to create a cell phone. They contain many precious metals that have the potential to become depleted in the future. Mainly because of our over use of them to build with. Although they can be recycled for its precious metals does not disappear from our earth ever.
As consumers we have the ability to vote with our money. Invest in quality products, they are likely to last a lot longer than if we bought that item of lesser quality. Purchasing something brand new without any justification aside from “I want it” creates a lot of wasted items. Especially when the old good condition item isn’t donated or tossed in the trash. My Dad and Grandpa were often repairing items around the house during my youth that happened to break. When did society get so lazy to think only purchasing new was the only option?
If your item can’t be repaired how about considering a second hand alternative first? Asking a friend or searching for a replacement at the thrift store or Craigslist first before purchasing it brand new. I promise there is enough of anything secondhand you are in need of. So much already exists in the world before you need to purchase it brand new. Consider your actions on the environment before taking action.
When I changed my way of thinking I was easily able to make more sustainable choices. Though it might take practice for some people and bit of getting used to. Yet I know these choices will have a lasting impact for future generations to enjoy the earth.