This is going to sound a bit like a granola-crunching post, but it is something that has been on my mind for the past 4 years.
It’s not so much that I want to turn into a hippie, a 100% vegan, or start turning my hair into dreadlocks (…somehow I think it would be a look I could not pull off), but the idea of waste and the environment has been on my mind for about 6 years now.
We really only have one planet Earth right now, so until we find a second Earth to destroy, I have an obligation to try my best to do my part.
As a result, I’ve been a lot more conscious about plastic and waste in my life and it’s starting to change my mindset but not my lifestyle, so I thought I’d do a list and see if I could solicit some more suggestions or ideas!
Or just help other people who want to do things.
ECO-FRIENDLY THINGS I ALREADY DO
- Stopped using detergent in 99% of my laundry
- Stopped using the dryer and using any dryer sheets
- Bring my own reusable bags
- Stopped using makeup remover
- Use handkerchiefs
- Compost food
- Repair what I already own
- Don’t dye my hair or using any products or hairstyling tools
- Buy secondhand and thrifted clothing
- Use reusable feminine products
DRINK LOOSE LEAF TEA
As a tea snob this was inevitable, but I don’t use tea bags and I don’t need to toss them.
My loose leaf tea is simply put into water, steeped, and then composted.
I also use a reusable tin that they just re-fill when I want more.
NO DETERGENT IN LAUNDRY 99% OF THE TIME
You’d be surprised that using detergent is not that necessary.
Warm water and agitation, gets the dirt and sweat out, and it doesn’t smell like anything afterwards.
I would not recommend this for reusable cloth diapers or greasy kitchen towels.
Throw a little detergent in there.
NOT USING THE DRYER OR ANY DRYER SHEETS
I’ve taken to just hanging things up like in the good ol’ days on hangers with clothespins (I don’t have a clothesline any more).
As for dryer sheets, I learned that the soft feeling you get from the dryer sheets, comes from animal fat. It’s kind of gross, but understandable.
Still, I noticed it leaves a film on my clothes and I don’t particularly enjoy the scent or the feeling, so I just hang everything up to dry.
The towels are bit crunchy but are fine after one dry-off. It’s a small price to pay.
WHAT ABOUT BLEACHING WHITES?
For bleaching whites, it would be better if I had a real backyard with real sunshine and hot weather, because I could just hang my whites out to dry in the blazing hot sun and get them bleached naturally without any chemicals.
Alas, I live in Canada, land of polar bears, igloos, and snow.
(EVEN IN MARCH.)
(We just had hail in MAY. MAY!! 2013.. HAIL!!!)
So I just don’t bleach whites very often and I avoid buying white things like white kitchen towels.
When they get a big stain, I have a bleach alternative that I rarely use that doesn’t hurt the environment, but I rarely use it. I still have the bottle of bleach from about 4 years ago.
YOU MUST STILL DRY-CLEAN SOMETHING
I dry clean my coats and things I absolutely cannot hand wash, but I don’t do it very often.
I dry clean my things perhaps once a year or every 2 years (like winter coats).
BRING MY OWN REUSABLE BAGS
This one is easy. I just keep a bag with me all the time.
I’ve eliminated all those flimsy plastic bags I went crazy buying a while back (donated them), and bought some plain organic cotton bags which I plan on decorating with paints because I’m that kind of person.
I will concede that not having plastic bags sucks for household garbage disposal (that $0.05 rule has pretty much been abandoned by many retailers I frequent, they just eat the cost of the bags), but now we just use bigger garbage bags, and we try to waste as little as possible.
COMPOST FOOD AND ORGANIC WASTE
Toronto has a great program that lets you compost food and organic waste.
All the peels and things go into this compost Green Bin, and this has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced our garbage pile.
I’m pretty pleased about it.
I have a huge stockpile and I throw them all in the wash after I use them.
Warm water and agitation gets anything out. Seriously.
I don’t only have one or two either; I have about 15 cloths and I use them constantly.
REPAIR THINGS I ALREADY OWN
Shoes, clothes, everything gets repaired rather than thrown out if I can help it.
DON’T DO ANYTHING TO MY HAIR EXCEPT CLEAN IT
I don’t dye it, I don’t use any products on it except coconut oil on the ends, and I don’t use any hairstyling tools.
Au naturel for now. Maybe my tune will change once I start getting more and more grey hairs.
BUY SECOND-HAND CLOTHING
USE REUSABLE FEMININE PRODUCTS
This will certainly be too much for the male readers of my post, so I’ll just say the names of two products: