You see it all over social media these days. Whether you call it non-toxic, waste free, zero waste, eco-friendly, or a whole other host of related hashtags, they all mean the same thing. Clean living to help make an impact on the environment. If you are a perfectionist like me, you want to go all in and buy all the things RIGHT NOW! Throttle back Frannie. Just like losing weight, we are not going to change our entire life from modern, plastic, foam packed convenience to homesteader living overnight.
If you are like me, you grew up in the microwaved, tv dinner, everything packaged in plastic of the 80’s 90’s and 2000’s. But it’s 2020 now and unless you’ve been living under a rock (in which case, I want to see your cool underground tiny house!), buying things packaged in plastic is just not what the cool kids are doing anymore. Before you go and throw out all of your plastic water bottles and start a new landfill, let’s look at 3 ways to start your clean living journey without breaking the bank. Pick one change that is easy, cost-efficient, and can work into a daily habit.
Pick Something Easy
Start by taking a look around your house. Where do you see plastic? Paper? Water waste? I like to make lists and one of my favorite lists to make is wish lists. Make a brain dump of all of the changes you want to make as you go throughout your day.
- Throwing the coffee filter in the trash? Can you put your coffee grounds in the garden?
- Using plastic water bottles? Can you make the switch to a water filter system?
- Running the water while you brush your teeth? Turn it off!
The idea here is that you want to look for something easy. Make one change each week and it will add up to 52 changes each year!
Make it Cost-Efficient
Frannie (who is my inner child) loves to dream of how she can be the “perfect woman”. But she gets me in trouble if I don’t reign her in a little bit. When I went through 3 auto drip coffee pots in 2 years after we moved to Cincinnati, I started researching better ways to make coffee. Now, being the science nerd that I am, Frannie was pushing me to get the super shiny chemistry lab looking coffee maker called the siphon, like this one. Now, some day I may indulge her and give her that fun toy, but for now, with two autistic kids in the house that break EVERYTHING, that is just not a practical purchase. Instead I went with a Chemex, like this. It still meets my need to eliminate the plastic tubing in an auto drip that can clog up with calcium deposits, and it still looks like a shiny beaker in a chemistry lab, so it satisfies my nerdy nature!
- Do a budget-check: Can you afford the big commitment of building a big compost bin? Or do you need to just switch to drinking from reusable water bottles?
- Where can you save money: Turning lights off and opening the blinds will save you on energy costs. Using quick wash cycles on the washing machine and dishwasher saves water. I even saw a tip on Instagram where a lady puts a bucket in her shower to collect the cold water while it’s heating up and uses that to water her house plants!
Remember, don’t splurge for the all house water filtration system if it’s not in your budget, just go buy a Brita to start off. Frannie can live with that simple change for now.
Swap a Daily Habit
When you make your wish list or brain dump, identify something that can easily be integrated into your daily habits already. Which daily habit can your start, swap, or do better?
- Switch to an aluminum bottle for drinking water
- Bring your own straw to the drive-thru (it is ok to refuse a plastic straw! They may look at you funny, but maybe the kids just look weird with their noses pressed against the window behind you! You never know.)
- Buy one glass bowl for leftovers . . . and eat them! Rinse and repeat.
The point here is to work your change into a daily habit.
So what is one “clean living” swap you have made? What change can you work into your daily routine today? Let us know in the comments below.