Okay. Let me just preface this by saying I have never been a “save the environment” person. I was always grateful for people who cared and who did something about it but I have always thought of it as some sort of hippie thing. However, the path of being intentional and minimalistic kind of led me down this road by accident and there is actually A LOT of overlap in wellness (my major), minimalism, Montessori, thriftiness/frugality and being environmentally friendly. So pretty much everything I do and love combined.
So after reading this book I felt so inspired to at least try in some way!
So here is what we implemented:
- Walk and bike whenever possible– We actually already share a car and Dan walks to work so this one wasn’t too tricky but it has made me stop and think about other times that I take the car when I could walk. Exercise, nature and helping the environment!
- Shop at bulk (not bulk like Costco and Sam’s Club) stores and use reuse-able produce bags and containers– I used to think bulk meant buying a lot of something and storing it or shopping at Costco and Sam’s club but I was wrong. I honestly never even knew these stores existed but they have these huge tubs of things like rice, nuts, pancake mix, flour, sugar, nuts, cereal, spices etc. and you just fill up your bags right there and pay by the weight.
- Avoid single use plastic as much as possible– We are still buying some of the things like cheese sticks and fruit leather but there was a lot we didn’t need or could replace with things that weren’t single use. We also have avoided using plastic bags. Again, we still have them and use them occasionally but the majority of the time I can just pack them in these reusable containers.
- Add a recycle bin– I know pretty pathetic that we didn’t even have that.
- Stop using paper towels and Chlorox wipes for everything and use microfiber cloths instead
- Do toy swaps with friends instead of always buying new toys and when I do buy toys try to buy wooden, high quality toys that will last a long time as much as possible
- Use reusable dryer balls
- Use reusable makeup wipes
- Try natural cleaners and see if they even work– Okay so I haven’t done this one yet but I want to. Have any of you done it? They had all these recipes in this book with vinegar and essential oils etc. I remember my mom using straight vinegar diluted with water to clean our floors growing up! Cheap but smelled awful. But maybe with some essential oils it will do the trick? Plus, I think it might be more fun to clean if I had these bottles. haha
- Make Christmas and birthdays less wasteful– We are going to try only buying gifts our kids (and spouse) would really love and less of them overall. Also, (especially as our kids get older) hopefully we can give more experiences!
So there you have it. Ten small, intentional ways that you can start to create a zero waste home.
A few of her other suggestions were buying from and supporting to the second hand market, going to farmer’s markets and renting out your house when you are on vacation! I never thought of turning your home into an Airbnb as a way to be less wasteful but it is true and walks you through exactly how to do it in the book. She also had some pretty radical ideas that are not really my thing like wrapping your gifts in towels instead of wrapping paper, making your own butter, making your own deodorant and using cloth diapers. (if you want to do that though be my guest!)
BUT hopefully you see that there are some things that you can do instead of just being like me and ignoring the topic all together.
Now here is the real kicker.
We actually saved money doing this. We were able to cut our grocery bill this week shopping this way and I am thinking we might be able to cut $80/mo by doing this! Like what? I always thought saving the environment was going to cost MORE… but nope! At least not for us– shopping organic and at these bulk stores has actually saved us money. And apparently that is pretty common.
She shares in the book 10 ways that this lifestyle actually saves you money here are just three:
- Reduces consumption- focus on activities rather than stuff
- Eliminates needs for disposables
- Encourages bulk grocery shopping which is generally cheaper
As for our trash? We were taking it out at least daily (sometimes even multiple times a day). Now, we are taking our trash out twice a week and maybe we will even be able to get down to once a week once Lucy is out of diapers. I saw this quote on instagram and loved it.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly we need a million people doing it imperfectly.”
I feel like that pretty much sums it up. I know it can feel overwhelming to implement this sort of thing and it feels like it is going to be so much more time consuming (trust me, I love Walmart online grocery) But even if you do one thing, it is still worth the effort– plus you might even save a little mulah in the process. 😉
Photos from: bevcooks.com, danslesac.com, and @zerowasteinspo