One of my goals for the summer was to begin making habits for a low-waste life. I've read and heard a lot of things about the crazy amount of trash that the average human produces, and I want to do what I can to buck that trend. I truly believe that one person's actions can make a big difference on the environment, and I'm choosing to work to reduce my waste production. While I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be, I've made significant steps and I'm excited to share them!
Changes I've made so far:
1. No more plastic bags. I now have enough reusable produce bags and grocery bags that I never need the plastic ones from the store.
This is one of the bags that I had made while I was living in Africa, which we now use as regular grocery sacks.
We made these mesh bags to use for produce. I'm hoping to put up a post about how I made these sometime soon!
2. Recycle. We don't have recycling pickup at our apartment complex, so we take our recycling across town about once per week. Unfortunately, Walla Walla's recycling service doesn't accept glass. Because my roommate and I are from Portland and Salem and can't stand to throw glass in the trash, we save up our glass and take it home with us whenever we can.
3. Buy bulk. We have chosen to start shopping regularly at the local grocer which is only two blocks from our apartment, and also happens to carry bulk products. We now buy many of our dry goods from the bins and bring our own containers to fill. This completely eliminated the waste of packaging for these items, and allows us to purchase only the amount that we need.
Lessons + tips I've learned:
1. Don't try to go all at once. One step at a time is the best way to make long-lasting changes.
2. Use your existing resources as much as you can. Going low-waste doesn't have to mean also going broke. We are using canning jars and many of our existing plastic storage containers for bulk purchases, then only buying new containers when we don't have one available.
3. Find ways to encourage yourself to make the changes into habits. When we were transitioning to reusable bags, we consistently forgot them at home. We finally made a rule that if we forgot the bags, we had to carry everything out of the store without any.
I'm looking forward to working to continue my new habits even as my life speeds back up with the beginning of the school year, and I hope this may encourage someone else to start picking up low-waste habits!