Happy New Year!
As a new year begins and another comes to a close, we inevitably reflected on our actions this past year. While there is always room for improvement, we wanted to think about what we are already doing for the earth and consciously choose to keep doing those things. Instead of making resolutions this year, we decided to make goals. Resolutions feel so inflexible and are often quickly abandoned at first blunder or slip up. Sustainability is a journey and one that should last a lifetime, not the first two weeks of January 🙂 So we have each chosen something to STOP doing, something to KEEP doing and something to START doing. Just as we are all in different places on this journey, you are too. Luckily, however we are all traveling the same path and can help each other along the way. Hopefully you find something below to personalize to your own life and either STOP, KEEP or START doing.
Cheers to 2019!
The Earth Mamas
Heather’s 2019 Goals
Stop: Adding new clothes to my wardrobe
After living out of one suitcase for 6 months (involuntarily), I have realized that I have everything I could want and more. I do get bored of my clothes, so ways I will avoid the stores is to: 1) plan clothing swaps with friends, and 2) shop at used clothing shops.
Keep: Using cloth diapers
My daughter needs heavy duty padding for her cloth diapers, which is an annoyance when cleaning the poop out. I will keep on with cloth diapers because I know it saves us from using a disposable diaper that will outlive all of us.
Start: Keep track of what I have and lend them out to friends
Around the world, communities are looking to share rather than buy. Tiny libraries and tool libraries are examples or these. Our daughter has tons of books that she could share with her friends, so we will begin Lane’s Library. We also have lots of kitchen and eating utensils that are used sparingly. These could be shared with others, so they wouldn’t need to be bought.
Charlotte’s 2019 Goals
Stop: Buying cleaning products and laundry soap and only make my own
This is something I have tinkered with for years, however, now I want to get serious about. I want to use essential oils and Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps to make multi-purpose cleaning products that are safer for my children and the environment. In addition it will stop me from buying cleaning products and laundry soaps that come in plastic containers.
Keep: Using shampoo, conditioner and soap bars rather than plastic containers
They are better for the environment and they usually have less harmful products in them and are cruelty free. I love Lush products they come in shampoo or conditioner bars or plastic tubs that you save and return to the store and continue using the tubs and give you another product for free! The little tubs of shampoo and conditioning bars last me about half a year. I usually buy homemade bars of soaps whenever I see them at markets. I also love Dr. Bronner’s multipurpose bars of soap which come in all different scents.
Start: Using reusable cloth diapers with my son
I recently read that one diaper takes 450 years to break down! YIKES! My son is 13 months old and probably has at least another year left in diapers. He uses about 5 diapers a day so that is at least 1,825 more diapers he will use that won’t break down in his lifetime. I am going to make the investment to use cloth diapers for the rest of the time that he is using diapers.
Erika’s 2019 Goals
Stop: Buying plastic sponges for cleaning dishes
I still do not know a better option than plastic sponges 🙁 but, I am willing to do the research and find more eco friendly tools. I am open to suggestions.
Keep: Carrying my reusable kit (container, straws, water bottle and cutlery)
I have been carrying my reusable kit for 3 years already and it has not been a burden. I will keep bringing all those useful tools and will now add a cloth napkin to my reusable kit. Really proud and happy about this.
Start: A kitchen compost
According to United States Environmental Protection Agency “Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up about 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.” This makes me want to start my own compost at home. If I can help with my 30% of the waste I know I produce, then that is how I can help.
Natalie’s 2019 Goals
Stop: Buying New clothing items
This is a very hefty topic, and this post about New Year’s goals isn’t the place to unpack and discuss at length. So I will be as brief as possible. Everytime a new garment is made there is a long manufacturing process it has undergone that’s incredibly damaging to the environment. Furthermore, clothing production frequently infringes on human rights. Unless you have very carefully researched who made your clothes and how they sourced out the materials, it is unlikely that you have avoided either with your purchase. Companies have invested billions in selling us the idea that we need MORE, MORE, MORE. And not just more, we need NEW. In the fashion industry this has created an ugly beast, often referred to as ‘fast fashion’. In reality, we don’t need new, and we certainly don’t need more. Most importantly, if you do WANT something new; it is likely at your local thrift shop, and can simply be new to you. I am making it my goal in 2019 to NOT buy any new clothing for my daughter or myself. The most sustainable item is one that has already been made!
Keep: Upcycling with my sewing machine
To build upon my ideas above, there are so many things we already have at home that can be given new life through upcycling. Especially clothing and textiles that are ripped, stained or torn. They aren’t in condition to wear or donate but they can easily be made into something else! I love making baby clothing out of items that my husband and I no longer wear. As my sewing skills progress I am learning to make other things as well such as bags. I love finding a way to make use of something that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
Start: Buying in Bulk
I need to consciously choose to purchase in bulk whenever possible. I am always looking for the largest amount with the least amount of packaging but I need to specifically set out to shop at places that offer more “bulk” options. This will often mean stopping at more than one store, but that’s an extra step I am willing to take!
Clarrissa’s 2019 Goals
Stop: Caring about what other think
This has been a difficult one for me in general. Being embarrassed has kept me from advocating for my beliefs and at times moving forward in my less waste journey.
Keep: Using reusable cloth wipes for my toddler
I have been doing this since he was born. I started off with cloth diapers but I abandoned them when we moved houses and then moved countries. I have however, remained committed to the reusable wipes.I use baby wash cloths and a spray bottle with a bit of soap and water that I keep next to his changing table.
Start: A Kitchen Compost
This should be an easy one and I have just been too lazy. Hey, I am human. My school has a program that offers a compost bin that I can bring back and they will compost it for me. I have been intimidated by the thought of carrying (8 months pregnant) a giant box of rotten food. BUT, I don’t really know what the compost entails. So,I will follow up with it and if it doesn’t work I’ll figure out my own compost.
Lindi’s 2019 Goals
Stop: Wasting food
Food waste is something I’ve been trying to tackle yet inevitable happens on a weekly basis. I haven’t really pushed myself to make those small changes in my kitchen routined to help save time and money.
I am going to be more conscious of what foods I tend to waste most often and set a plan to start using those items up or buying less of them.
I am going to set a weekly menu. This way I can use it to better guide me at the grocery store and hopefully avoid those unnecessary or impulse buys.
Also, I will try to find new ways to better process and store food to keep them fresher for longer like beeswax wraps and making and freezing sauces or soups from scrap veggies.
Keep: Buying local
I am grateful to live in a place where local produce can be found year round! Finding a local farmer who provides food baskets on a weekly basis has been a game changer for our family. Not only are the veggies noticeably better than those at the grocery store but, it feels good knowing the farmer who has worked hard growing the food (without pesticides) that you put on your table to feed your family. “Farm-to-table” doesn’t have to be something you only experience at a fancy (expensive) restaurant. Most cities and towns have some sort of farmers market or food basket services, it’s higher quality food, without the long shipping distances and grown by someone in your community.
Start: A herb garden
I have this window above my kitchen sink that would be perfect for a little herb garden. There’s nothing better than the taste of fresh herbs and you don’t need a lot of space to grow them. Just a window sill. It’s a great alternative to help reduce the amount of dry herb bottles that pile up in my cupboards. They get pushed around and pushed to the back and forgotten and I usually end up buying duplicates. Growing my own will help reduce the waste from the extra containers they come in and throwing out the herbs that I can’t use before the expiration date.
I’m hoping to really “spice” up my cooking with fresh herbs grown right in my kitchen!