Leading a more sustainable life should be on the top of everyone’s list. But, it’s hard to change every single thing you do and keep it as a habit. Not everything on the top sustainable/low-waste/plastic-free lists are going to work for everyone, especially not all at once. My friend just couldn’t handle the extra responsbility that came with cloth diapering her kid, and that’s okay (read the nitty gritty on disposable vs. cloth diapering here). Her sanity needed to come first and she ended up doing her part by taking a lot of second-hand items for her baby’s needs. That’s a huge sustainability step.
Sustainable living isn’t the same for everyone and that’s okay. I preach a huge eco-friendly lifestyle and do my best to live as close in harmony to the Earth as I can. But, it doesn’t always work out that way. I used to stress about how I should be better, that I should be doing everything I can. Now, I’ve decided that instead of dwelling over these issues, I’ll accept that there’s nothing I can do about them either ever or at this moment, and move onto problems that I can tackle instead of stressing myself out to the very max. Here’s a list of all my non-sustainable things I do so you know that you’re not alone in this eco-friendly journey:
Second hand clothing shops
Look, I’m all for donating to thrift shops and people purchasing clothes there. But, for me, someone who can’t get over the fact that I don’t know who owned and wore the clothes before me, it’s not something I’ll do. That being said, I do absolutely love clothing swaps with friends. Just don’t tell me you got my new favourite item in a second-hand shop…ignorance is bliss.
Until there is a dentist that recommends the new toothpastes out there, I’m not going for it. For the amount of toothpaste I use a year, it’s just not worth it for me to stress over finding a toothpaste that works, and one that work sin my budget. Bamboo toothbrushes, though? Hell to the yes.
So, I drive a truck. It’s only a 5 cylinder, so it’s not chugging gas like a mofo. But, it’s not the most fuel efficient. I love it, though. I do only drive when necessary and try to fit in errands into one drive instead of many others. I also work close to home (less than 20 minute commute) and take highways for most of it which means better gas mileage. Before that, I worked solely from home for months.
While halting driving is out of the question for me as I live outside of the city (and live a more eco-friendly life than if I lived in the city…before y’all get up in arms, that’s for me and my sanity. You may be living a super eco life inside the city. Do you), cutting down has helped tons. And, for any roadtrips, we take my husband’s much more fuel efficient vehicle. Little steps for everything you do.
Don’t get me started on the meat issue. I mean, I started myself, so let’s just say this: locally bought meat from a farm that values the environment is key. Our farm-to-table beef comes a farm that cares deeply for the environment, one that has increased biodiversity by listening to the land and planting strategically to bring back the original critters, as well as feeding their herd.
Will I ever stop eating meat? Doubtful. But, we’ve cut down on how much we eat and I am very conscious about what we buy. 95% of our meat comes from local, sustainable farms. That also includes eggs. Hunting, when there’s time for it, also plays a role in what we eat. Meaning, no farming or forest loss has occurred for us to eat.
I’ve yet to find a conditioner bar that works continuously well. So, until that is found, bottled conditioner for me. Pro tip: if you’ve bought a bar conditioner and aren’t liking it for your hair, use it as an in-shower body moisturizer! No waste!
Banning the dryer
I line-dry my clothes in the spring, summer, and early/late fall months. But, I don’t think twice about using the dryer in the winter months. There’s no point in squabbling over it. Unless I had a basement solely designated for drying clothes, or only had one load of laundry to do a week (hahahahahaha), it’s impossible to air dry all of my clothes inside the house.
Of course, Bounce sheets are only used in the driest of months (to use them up) and reusable dryer balls are the only other things being thrown into the dryer with my clothes.
Yes, I’m creating lots of plastic waste every single day, but I’m trying not to worry about it. Why? Because I used to have monthly contacts, but my eyes felt too dry to use them. So, I switched to two-week contacts, and yet…my eyes felt like they were being scratched with tiny razer blades. So, I’m sticking with my daily contacts.
While I make my own lotion bars and my own face balms, regular hand lotion is a must. The lotion bars are great for a nice body moisturize, but my hands need something stronger, especially in the winter or when playing in dry dirt in the summer months. And while I always reach for those made without palm oil, I do not have the budget to pay for overpriced lotions in tins. So, unfortunately, they come in plastic bottles.
Only buying in bulk
I don’t. I try to buy things in bulk/package-free, and it’s getting easier every time I head into Bulk Barn or Scoop n’ Weigh, but I don’t buy everything. I also sometimes run out of reusable bags and have to use a plastic bag while I’m there. But, I’ve stopped worrying about it because I’m getting better each time I go to a bulk store and I’m learning what I can easily manage changing over in my home. For some, it’s easy to buy bulk everything. For me? Not so much.
I debated whether or not to put this on my list. But, it is something I do that isn’t sustainable, at all. At least, the way I do it. I’ve updated my travel habits to make things as eco-friendly as I possibly can at this moment. And, after each trip, I get better and make more adjustments. I had wrote a post about traveling and how I’m looking forward to exploring Canada more, instead of heading off on long-haul flights every time I’m itching for a trip. And, while I still want to do that, cutting out far away travels isn’t going to be in my foreseeable future. I know myself and I love exploring new places and meeting new people (funny for someone who hates the general public) and immersing myself in other cultures.
Travel is going to be a big one for a lot of people and cutting down on it may be the only option people feel they will be able to do, sustainably. And, I say sustainably because people have to live their lives, as well. It isn’t sustainable for someone who loves to travel to sit at home all the time. Taking different vacations, leaning away from resorts and cruises, being better about the reusable items you pack, learning about animal welfare while traveling, there are so many options available.
I struggle with my guilt over travel, and I’m sure I’ll continue to do so, but I’m learning to let go. There’s no point in causing so much anxiety to an already anxiety-riddled person. New goals: travel less, longer trips, closer to home. Even if the ‘closer to home’ means Europe or South America for the time being.