I'm nerdily excited to share my resolutions for 2020 which all center around how I can reduce our household’s footprint and create an intentional, sustainable home.
Going zero-waste is super intimidating for me. As anyone with babies or young kids knows, life, work, and taking care of other humans is madness and you’re doing your best to survive. Despite that, I know there are some easy steps I can take to reduce waste in my house that we aren’t doing simply out of habit. So, I’m going to approach this incrementally, and start with a few changes I can make that I know will have a big impact. Here are the 2020 resolutions, in order of easiest to hardest. Below this list, I am sharing some of my favorite green household products and steps that we’re already taking, so if you’re new to greening your home, be sure to check out those recommendations too.
- Stop using paper towels for every-day wipe downs and cleaning. I’m purchasing a couple of these puppies instead that we can toss in the wash. (PRO TIP: Old cloth diapers are also amazing cleaning rags and we use them on the regular to mop up spills because they are so absorbent.)
- Save my coffee grounds for the garden. We already do curbside compost pick-up, but I want to start separating the grounds and create a system saving them to nourish the garden instead of buying plastic bags of compost. They don’t stink like other food waste. At least that’s my theory. Stay tuned.
- Buy from the bulk aisle more often, and, here’s the kicker-- bring my own containers. Guys, this really should be a no brainer for us. We regularly shop at a health food store that offers lots of good bulk options some of which would allow us to reduce other food packaging waste. Fig bars, pastas, legumes, dried fruit, candy, it’s all in the bulk aisle! But getting in the habit of bringing my own jars and containers requires some planning ahead and building up a little stash of extra containers to grab when I need them. So, I’m going to do that. If you aren’t sure how it would work to use your own container at the store, here’s a good article on what to do.
- Stop buying food that comes in unrecyclable plastic clamshells. That includes the pre-washed salad and spinach greens (this is a total time-saver that I’m going to have to work hard to part with, but, hello, slow-living). And, take-out food. I’m going to begin asking restaurants if I can bring my own reusable container for food pick up. This also requires a bit more planning and yeah it’s weird. But words cannot describe my hate for plastic clamshells. Like, I loath them and their no good, unrecyclable, crackly, landfill space-sucking faces. And I will be the weird hippy who brings my own Tupperware into the Thai restaurant. Watch me.
- Install rain barrels. Last, and hardest in terms of cost, but definitely not least. In the PNW where we get bucket loads of rain for half the year, it’s really an obvious choice to reduce water usage for our landscaping. I’m hopeful it will save us money over the summer when we need to be watering the garden every day. (Little known fact: Portland goes for months without rain in the summer).
I didn’t create a specific resolution for this, but generally, I’m also going to be more intentional about moving away from plastic items when we need to purchase new household things. Helen Milan is a beautiful shop that has some great natural and plastic-free items for home and baby.
What We’re Already Doing and Green Products I Recommend
- Composting (and recycling duh)
- Using reusable Stashers instead of sandwich ziplocks
- Using beeswax food covers instead of sandwich bags or plastic wrap
- Using reusable produce bags instead of plastic bags at the grocery store
- Using 100% earth-friendly, non-toxic biodegradable cleaning products:
- Swapping out plastic sponges for cellulose sponges that biodegrade
- Opting in to 100% wind power through our electric company (To be fully transparent, this costs us a few extra dollars per month, which I am happy to pay for considering the climate change emergency).
FYI, none of the above products are affiliate links. They are just the products that I use and that I love and feel great about recommending to you. I feel like we’re off to a great start, 2020! I hope you get some good ideas from my little list and would love to hear yours!