Mother (Nature) knows best: Waste is Food.
Or at least, it should be.
What have we created, that so much of the stuff we produce as humans ends up...doing absolutely nothing but taking up space and polluting?
It was never ok, and now it has become impossible not to see the result of this completely unsustainable way of life.
So step by step, let’s make a change, and go back to the natural law of zero-waste. It’s a hard thing to go against the mainstream current, but if we are kind and patient with ourselves, we can break free of the buy-and-discard cycle.
I believe in little steps.
So I’ll share my top hacks that are so easy I can’t believe I didn’t always do it...and the fact that there are so many cheap ways to make my own stuff makes me giggle. I hope you’ll enjoy trying them:
Repurpose glass jars: always choose the pretty jar when you buy jam (or pickles, or whatever). I’m obsessed with Bonne-Maman jams as much as their jars. The label comes off so easily and I collect them for all kinds of storage, display, flowers...
Reusable bags: seems crazy to me now to be handed a plastic bag at a grocery store. With COVID it’s been trickier because the supermarket would no longer allow customers to bring their own bags...but we figured out to put things back in the cart after paying, then transferring to our own reusable bags in the parking lot. I toss bags regularly in the washing machine. You could make your own, or...permission to buy super cute ones! Get a few and keep them in different places - purse, car, backpack, by the door…
I love lemons! It’s not just that I make lemonade when given lemons...I use them for all sorts of cleaning around the house. The acid in lemon juice is antibacterial and antiseptic - my surface cleaner is a glass spray bottle filled with a mix of vinegar and lemon juice. (click here for a recipe and a bunch of other uses)
Another favorite multi-use product is Tea-Tree Oil. This one costs a little more to buy but is very potent (and I mean it can be toxic, so no ingesting it or letting kids play with it!) A couple drops in a glass of water to soak and disinfect toothbrushes once a week; add a teaspoon or two to specially smelling laundry like pet beds (or gym clothes!); make your own hand-sanitiser.
5. Do you use a natural loofah? And don’t like throwing it out? Don’t! You can still use it to make your own exfoliating soap. Simply slice rounds of your old loofah, place them in soap molds. Melt soap by cutting it into cubes and microwaving for about 30 seconds. Mix well and pour directly over the cut up rounds of loofah. Let stand until set. You could even take this a step further and make your own soap! (More uses for loofah/luffa here)
6. Now for clothing. Getting rid of beloved jeans has got to be the most frustrating. Good jeans that feel and fit well are so hard to find, right? So...once, when I just couldn’t let go, I...yeah, turned them into shorts. Am I the only one who still does that? Now for more ambitious ladies, they could be turned into a skirt, and it is indeed a beginner thing. So go for it, make a hip denim skirt out of your fave old jeans! (Thank you Spruce Crafts!)
Get a weekly box from a local farm! I love that one. It is so easy and a delicious part of the win-win paradigm. Farmers win because they receive a direct and steady stream of income (without losing to a middle man). Earth wins because most of the produce is organic and local. And we win because we save ourselves a boring trip to the store!