Change where I didn’t expect it

Over a month has passed and so much more has happened than what I anticipated. While clearing out my beauty product drawer in order to replace it with natural, non toxic alternatives, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to buy more than what’s necessary. That means the only the bare essentials, bear necessities.  Not only that, it’s a better way of life for me.

The Zero Waste Movement came to my attention while looking into DIY skincare recipes. It promotes creating as little amount of trash as possible, including recycling and food waste. In order to do that I’ve looked into my trash can and seriously thought about the value of its contents.

I grew up in a home where thrifty was a way to survive rather than a trendy movement. Waste was almost punishable with my parents. They worked so hard to give us what they could and carelessly throwing stuff away was borderline disrespectful. While that may not be the best way to think about it, it has proven to be a helpful tool.

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rehome, Rot 

That is what goes through my mind before I buy or accept any material items now. Refuse what isn’t needed. Reduce what is. Reuse what’s there. Recycle what is left over. Rehome items that can still be useful to others. And let anything organic rot back into the Earth, to be reused by nature.

Having less is so much more. I’m saving money, cleaning less, learning useful skills, connecting with my community, eating healthier, all while greatly reducing my impact on the environment. I don’t need to buy a bunch of eco-gear or take college courses on sustainability to change the world.

Eco-friendly is a scale rather than a label. Something can be eco-friendly, but to what extent that’s true depends on many factors. Green washing, or using the environmental movement to sell or push products, tricks consumers. Many of them with their hearts in the right places. While businesses need to be supported in order to have a healthy economy, I don’t want to support a business with unethical standards. A single purchase promotes a market. People won’t give their time, money or vote to an organization they don’t believe in. Why would they do the same for a business. Businesses also have mission statements. It’s the consumer’s job to see if those values are being followed.

I’ve had to learn so many different label meanings, what goes into an expiration date, what ingredients are and how they are sourced. It seems overwhelming at the beginning but becomes second nature. This information helps me spend my money wisely and helps me figure out what I will and will not buy in order to reduce the amount of waste I’m producing.

Life is so much more intentional now. I’m in love again.

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