Today marks the beginning of my 5th month of zero waste, plastic free lifestyle. The minimal living part is still going well. I am working on downsizing all of my art supplies by offering free art workshops to communities that need them, so that I can move towards greener options that involve me making supplies and getting more creative with how I create. I contemplated giving up art altogether but then I would die. Or just become an incredibly horrible human being. I’m a multidisciplinary artist and I just need to accept the fact that my heart will always love to create in all ways, that painting with brushes will always remain and this lifestyle just adds to the fun challenges of it all.
Today marks the 5th month and I am writing to you 5 things that I believe can help those that want to pursue the greener lifestyle.
1) Buy a stainless steel water bottle. I haven’t bought a water or any drink in plastic in years. Probably about 3 or 4 years. I watched the documentaries Addicted to Plastic (Canadian filmmaker) and Tapped and my life changed. It also made me want to be a documentary film maker but that’s a different story. Just use a non-plastic water bottle. Carry it with you. There are so many places to get water from if you’re traveling too. At restaurants, you can ask for a glass of water with no straw and refill your bottle that way. The golden arches will fill up your water bottle. You can buy a stainless steel water bottle for $20 or less and you can have it forever. Plastic bottles are essentially carrying tap water you buy for $3 and then you throw it away all while you ingest more chemicals. It’s also a waste of money. Using a stainless steel water bottle saves money. And if you want to filter your water, buy a Binchotan Charcoal Water Filter.
ADDICTED TO PLASTIC
2) Get a blender. It helps with food waste. My dentist told me I needed to eat more fruits and vegetables. As if basically only eating fruits and vegetables wasn’t enough. Anyway, she told me to drink a smoothie a day. So I have been. It’s great for blending up kale stems, spinach stems, broccoli, or anything that you’d otherwise toss including fruit or vegetables that are about to go bad. You simply save it for a smoothie (freezers are a great holding place) and then you use up all that goodness in a wonderful tasting drink. Your kids won’t even blink twice. My son drinks green smoothies all the time. It’s also incredibly helpful when you want to bake your veggies into a muffin. Blend up all that ish, throw it in a recipe and watch the kids devour. Seriously get a blender. It saves food waste and it saves money too.
3) Reusable bags. They are the easiest way to reduce waste but it seems so many people are just forgetful. That was me. I also wasn’t aware at that time. I didn’t really see the big deal in using a plastic bag. Who cares I thought? The world is doomed anyway. I forgive the old me. It wasn’t until I realized how often I was just taking the vegetables, fruits, groceries etc. out of the plastic bags and throwing them in the garbage. I was throwing plastic bags into another plastic bag and throwing that into the dumpster. You don’t need plastic bags to put your produce in. You don’t need plastic to buy bulk products. If you’ve ever owned a reusable bag, just do yourself a favour – keep one in your purse, back pack, by the door, in your car – keep it in plain sight until shopping with it becomes a habit. You also get to keep your .10c so you save money.
4) Clean with vinegar, baking soda and cloths. This seemed like a basic one so I never bothered to talk about it, but I’ve used vinegar and baking soda for the last 3 years since baby was born. I didn’t want to use any conventional chemical cleaners. I use vinegar and water in a spray bottle on my mirrors all over my house with a washcloth. I’ve never experienced streaking. The only time I get streaking is when my son breaths on the mirrors, licks them and wipes food on them. The vinegar and water still gets it off. Baking soda I use in the toilets, sinks and tubs with a scrub. I recently bought a wooden scrubber thing with natural bristles and no plastic on it. My toilet scrubber is still the shitty dollar store one. Thanks China and I’m sorry! But baking soda is amazing for everything and is safe for the environment. If I want to really clean out my stainless steel water bottle or whatever else, I use diluted vinegar and baking soda combined and rinse with warm water. It’s also fun for the kids to watch the fizz. Using this method also saves money.
5) Choose your fashion wisely. As in, I suggest you shop local or thrift or if you have the luxury of having sewing skills, make your own clothes. I won’t get into it but all I have to say is fashion is the second largest pollutant in the world and is second only to oil. That’s pretty bad. If you want to see what happens when you buy that $5.99 top at a box retailer store and just who it is affecting, watch The True Cost. If you need to educate yourself or your children on anything, try this one first. Shopping local or thrift and saying no to “fast fashion” also saves you money.
Hope that helps you! I understand that this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but the choices are there. They are super simple too. And you can see that the options all save you money. I’m not sure about you, but I do like money to spend on simple pleasures, feeding my son and I healthy foods so we can live longer and putting the money towards doing good deeds.
So yes, every dime counts.
Every choice matters.
You have a choice to be conscious in what you do and even if it seems like a burden, the only person that can ever make a difference in this world is you.