I’ve been trying quite a few new products in my attempt to replace products in plastic packaging with zero waste alternatives. Some of them have been awful, some have been bearable, but I’ve also found quite a few products that have eclipsed their wasteful counterparts. So, what are some of my current standout personal care items?
It’s January 31, which means my month of buying “nothing” is over in less than 24 hours. Last year, I did dry January, which ended up being rather unremarkable, but I did like challenging myself to forego something at the start of the year. This year, I decided that I would start things off by really embracing the “Refuse” part of zero waste and attempt to buy only food/drinks, experiences, or replacements for personal care items for the entire month.
So how did Buy Nothing January go? Well, technically I failed because I did end up buying things. But, they were things I needed or made sense to buy in January rather than waiting until February. Here are the things I bought:
Menstruation is one of those things that society is really uncomfortable talking about even though it happens to roughly 50% of the population and is a necessary part of our ability to continue as a species. Periods are at best a minor inconvenience and at their worst, they prevent young girls from accessing education or isolating them from a society because they are seen as “impure.” Periods can also wreak havoc on the planet because of the products we use to manage them. The average person will menstruate for 40 years and use approximately 20 tampons per cycle, a total of 9,600 tampons in a lifetime. Not only is that a lot of waste, it’s also a lot of money. Fortunately, there are a myriad of products on the market that will make your cycle easier on the planet and your wallet.
In the age of internet and food delivery, there are no shortage of ways to get food delivered to your home. Some of these services, like meal kits, are (in my ever so humble opinion) wasteful and only good for reinforcing general attitudes of excess, busyness, and laziness, but others are based on the principle of getting fresh food into the hands of consumers. Over the summer, I got the occasional CSA box from Terra Organics. I loved that the service was local, but it didn’t deliver directly to my home and the box was only offered for a short season. Then, I learned about Imperfect Produce. Imperfect Produce is a food delivery business that sources produce that doesn’t meet grocery standards and sells it to consumers at a discount. American consumers have been trained to have ridiculous standards when it comes to produce, meaning farmers have little incentive to harvest produce that is the wrong size or shape according to grocery stores. As a result, resources are poured into growing food that is destined to rot in the field.
Today’s post come as requested by my best friend and her little sister. To be honest, I still consider myself a beginner in the zero waste world. I am by no means perfect (by which I don’t mean I accidentally use a straw every now and then, frankly, I sometimes just decide that the temporary pleasure of soda from a fast food chain or prime rib for Christmas dinner is worth a lapse in my morals). Despite my lapses, I’m still pretty proud of the changes I’ve made in my life over the past few months, so if going zero waste (or at least reducing your waste) is one of your goals for the new year, here are my recommendations for how to start.
Like most people, as the year draws to a close I am reflecting on 2017 and thinking of the things I’d like to change and accomplish in the coming year. Some of my goals for 2018 are personal, others are professional, but most of them are geared specifically towards my zero waste lifestyle. I want to delve even deeper into the zero waste lifestyle next year, here’s how I plan to do so: