Aspiring to live low waste? Here are 3 things you can start doing today.
ONE. REUSE YOUR CUTLERY.
This is probably the easiest change you can make - for most it requires no [or minimal] new purchases. I purchased an organic, bamboo cutlery set from BlueApeBlades on Etsy. This little set included cloth carrying pouch, knife, fork, spoon, bamboo straw with cleaning brush and chop sticks. There are a ton of zero waste options out there for you, I settled on this set as soon as I saw it was made from a local vendor in St. Louis, MO. At first, I paused on my purchase feeling slightly guilty that it would require shipping while in the same city. In the end, I felt the positive outweighed the negative. So, you can imagine how excited I was when I learned that Etsy has Carbon-Offset Shipping. This means that for any carbon emissions released into the atmosphere as a result of shipping items on Etsy, they invest in projects that reduce carbon emissions by the same amount. If you aren’t sold on purchasing new cutlery, you have another option: I am sure you currently own a metal fork, spoon, knife and likely a small kitchen towel; reusable cutlery can be as simple as wrapping up your current utensils and bringing them along with you.
TWO. SAY “NO” TO PLASTIC BAGS.
Lucky for me, I received a reusable tote from a purchase I made at Golden Gems sometime last year. For $10, you can buy the same ‘cool shit inside’ tote on their Etsy page. Even if you don’t need a reusable bag, you should still check out the their store for some cheeky [slightly offensive but super fun] home goods and gifts. This tote along with another I received from a purchase at Lululemon’s stay in my car at all times. Even then, I will find myself mid-way down an aisle at Trader Joe’s without it in hand. If you are doing light shopping, you still have the opportunity to say “no” to plastic [or paper] bags and carry your items out the door. It’s also an opportunity to be a little more intentional in your shopping, can’t carry everything with two hands? Put something back. Since I already own a few reusable bags, I didn’t go out and purchase any additional reusable totes [at least not yet], however, if I were to pick up a few extra [let’s say for the farmer’s market], I would get a few of these net bags from Wild Minimalist. For me, the next step is to start purchasing items in bulk. When the time comes, there are two items on my list: cotton muslin produce bags from WildMinimalist and organic hemp bulk bags I found on Etsy.
THREE. PURCHASE A METAL SAFETY RAZOR.
Okay, this is one I never had on my radar until very recently. At any given time you could go into my shower and see anywhere from 4-6 plastic, disposable razors. Scrolling through Instagram, I came across a post by Albatross stating that the EPA estimates that 2 BILLION plastic razors are thrown out each year. This is enough to wrap around the Earth 6 times. I saw this and I had zero doubts about purchasing a metal safety razor. For under $30, I bought their flagship butterfly razor. It came with a hemp carrying bag and 10 blades. Albatross also has a blade take back program - the first in the world! The razor itself [if taken care of] can last a lifetime. Another sustainable option is Cukur’s safety razor on Amazon for $18.00 — which also comes in minimalist, plastic-free packaging. Although I encourage you to support a business with a more sustainable mission, if the idea of waiting on shipping loses your interest, Target has a cheaper option for $23.99 [comes with 5 blades].
Enjoy taking these (seemingly) small steps - you're just getting started.