News flash: You don't have to be a "dirty hippie" to care about the environment or your health. You can smell good, look fabulous, and have a gorgeous clean home while reducing your use of harsh chemicals, toxins, plastics, and waste. You may even be surprised by how easy it can be!
To prove to you just how easy it can be I have taken on the challenge to stop wasting and start greening!
On May 18th I will be moving into a 2 bedroom apartment with my boyfriend. I should warn that he is not the most environmentally conscious individual, but if it saves money and reduces waste he's all for it! I've got several waste and chemical use reduction goals in mind. We'll start with the first ones on my list and make changes in our lives and shopping habits to meet each of these goals:
1) No chemical cleaners. This includes how we wash our house, our dishes, and our clothes. We'll be making our own - such as citrus vineager cleaner - and we'll be purchasing some items.
2) Reduce "disposable" product usage. This includes cleaning products, paper towels, cotton balls, tissues and other disposable items. I'd like to get it so toilet paper is the only disposable item we use!
3) Buy local. This means no ordering things off the internet, supporting local farms, and local stores. It also means we'll need to limit purchases from chain stores. We've already stopped shopping at WalMart long ago, but we'd like to limit our purchases from other large corporations as well when possible.
4) No chemical health/beauty products. I'm a believer in waste not want not, so I'm not about to throw out the fairly new stick of deoderant sitting on my dresser. I'll slowly be transitioning from store bought products to homemade ones including shampoo, conditioner, deoderant, toothepaste, and soap.
5) No more pastic! This is going to be a challenge because SO much of what we purchase at the grocery store or otherwise comes wrapped in plastic. I'll start by replacing the plastic dishes we have with glass, ceramic, or metal. This means donating the plastic ones and purchasing used when available. We have lots of great resources in our area for used items, not to mention tag sales! The next step will be to reduce the things I purchase that come in plastic. That means everything from lettuce, bread, yogurt, dressings, and cheese to batteries, nylons, lip gloss, and take-out. This is really going to require a lifestyle change. Purchasing fresh bread and supplying my own bag or making my own bread, for example.
6) Reduce waste. I didn't mention recycling on this list because it's sort of a given. Once we reduce our "disposable" products and plastic consumption our waste stream should be greatly reduced but we'll want to look at what else we can stop throwing away at that point. Our new apartment has a small patio and lawn space so I might try to find a used compost roller or start some other kind of composting program. I guess I'll have to wait and see what's left in the trash bin at this point. One thing I'm planning on doing right off is using biodegradable trash bags.
So that's the list. Once I move into the apartment I'll keep you posted on how it's going! I'll also be providing website recommendations and let you know what my experiences are with different products and recipes.
Step 1: Furniture. I had to sell everything I owned the last time I moved so I don't currently own any furniture. To acquire furniture I will be asking friends and relatives for items they don't want. I'll also be looking for used items at our local thrift stores and possibly at yard sales. The only piece of furniture that I will be buying new is a matress. With all the bed bug horror stories and knowing that beds collect a LOT of human skin I will want to start fresh there. We probably won't be starting out with the most fashionable home decor, but it will be a great place to start!