Merry Belated Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!
So, yes, I know there is a joke in here somewhere about procrastinating and New Years resolutions, but I have been super sick over the holidays which is why my annual Resolutions post is more than a little late… But as they say, better late than never, but not me because I still have laryngitis!
We spent our New Years away from the city at Steve’s family cabin on the Sunshine Coast. Having the flu meant that I basically bundled up in front of the fire with the dog, played Scrabble and went for a couple chilly winter morning walks. It was a great time to sit back and reflect on 2017 and all that I accomplished including graduating from my program at Simon Fraser, starting the ball rolling on Cedar Coast as a business and being a expert guest on the Health Wellness and Lifestyle show. I am really looking forward to working with new clients and on new projects in 2018, which I will announce in just a little while here.
Now I’m excited to share with you 18 easy resolutions that you can implement (some or all!) in 2018. I myself will be taking on a few of these resolutions, so check back on the blog and Instagram for progress reports!
4. Brush Wisely. Try something new with your oral hygiene routine by switching to either bamboo tooth brushes which can be composted or to a toothbrush with a reusable handle. Bamboo toothbrushes are an excellent way to have the traditional toothbrush feel, while being greener. Some brands come with plastic bristles which need to be removed before composting, while others come with bio-based bristles which biodegrade. We personally use Radius Source toothbrushes which have reusable handles made with recycled fibers and resin. The heads of the brushes can be recycled.
5. Be safe. Safety razors are fantastic option to switch to this New Year. Disposable razors or razors with disposable cartridges are wasteful as they cannot be recycled due to their mixed material natures. Safety razors use only a stainless steel double edge blade which can put directly into the recycling bin. I personally collect our blades in a clean tin can and dispose of them once or twice a year. Although they are usually marketed to men, I find that safety razors do a fantastic job of for my needs as a lady. I do recommend that you use a good quality shaving cream to get the closest shave possible. I personally I love shaving lotion bars like these from Enfleurage Organics and lotions from Lush.
6. Get organized. Now, I know I am a bit biased when it comes to organization (it is part of my business) but I believe a large part of personal environmental sustainability can be achieved from minimalism and minimalism can’t be achieved fully without organization. By choosing a small task such as cleaning out and organizing under your kitchen cabinet or laundry room, you get the chance to evaluate what you own and why. Expired cleaning and beauty products should be emptied and properly recycled while things such as unused paint and stains should be taken to your municipal recycling depot for properly disposable. Not feeling up to the task of purging your home of environmentally harmful products and getting organized? Contact me for your consultation!
7. Get local. Make an effort to shop locally. Not only do you support your local community, but you get to discover new designers and companies. Buying local can be done in many facets of your life. From produce and meats, to jewelry and clothes, shopping local can be a great adventure. We switched to locally growth meat last year by purchasing through Meridian Meats and Hopcott Farms. This year my goal is purchase my clothing from Canadian designers only by locally owned shops like Be So Real.
8. Think outside the box, big box that is. Last year’s resolution list included breaking it off with Dollar Stores. They sell cheaply made products which have a faster failure rate than a Trump immigration policy. This year I suggest you take that idea one step further by avoiding big box stores. Many of the retail giants pay their employees unfair wages (remember the in-store food banks Wal-Mart started for their employees because they didn’t earn enough to feed themselves?) In addition they also sell poorly made products which are designed to fail after a short amount of time. Start weaning yourself off the big box stores by doing a little research about alternatives in your area for household items (or what you would normally buy there.) Write a list of these alternatives for yourself and post it to your fridge. The next time you need a new duvet or blender, make an effort to shop at these alternatives first. It may not always work out, but it is the small steps that lead to great strides eventually.
9. Wiggly squiggly worm bins. I often hear from owners of condos or townhouses that they can’t compost or their buildings do not participate in a municipal composting program. There is a solution! Worm bins are self-contained units which rely on the hard work of worms to compost your green waste. The compost and worm castings can be either used in patio gardens, given to friends, used in house plants or just returned to nature. The blog Chunky on Chia by Sarah Claire has a wonderful post about how to build your own worm bin here. I am also a HUGE fan of Hungry Bins by Greentools Canada, their self-contained units come all ready to go, just add green waste so check them out if you are serious about reducing your overall food waste.
10. Aerosols. Ditch the aerosols. Using aerosol hairspray and dry shampoo is convenient yes, but is also damaging for the environment and atmosphere because their propellants are harmful. I found that Giovanni brand hairsprays are excellent options for those looking for great distribution without an aerosol. Additionally, Captain Blankenship makes a great smelling dry shampoo for those days in between washes.11. Buy bulk more often. This is a weird one and will require more explanation. Sometimes the bulk bins aren’t the most economical for things like flour, sugar and pasta. So I suggest that you buy the largest quantity of the item you need instead to cut down on packaging. Instead of buying 6 1lb bags of flour this year, buy the largest bag you can get at your grocer (I think 10lbs is the largest at my store.) It will save you packaging overall!
12. Eat your veggies. Take up a meatless Monday! Buy reducing the amount of meat that one eats, you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. A single pound of beef requires 6813-9462 liters (1800-2500 gallons) of water to produce and the livestock industry in the US uses more than 50% of all corn grown to feed animals. That is a lot of agricultural land that could be used to produce nutritious and healthy veggies instead.
13. Gift smarter. Buy better. Next time you’re invited to a baby shower or house warming, try to buy one or two quality items. For example, instead of loading up on cheap onsies from Wal-Mart, buy some quality pieces that will be wearable once the baby grows out of them. Baby clothing swaps are a big deal (I hear) so why not make sure that the items you give don’t need to be turfed after a month of use? If you are crafty, or know someone who is, give a meaningful gift which is handmade. I love these adorable nursery wall hangings made by Aly. She upcycles fabric and uses foraged driftwood for these adorable cloud hangings which add personality to any nursery. Contact her for more information!
14. Pick something to recycle. This is a big one and it’s easy! Try to find an item in your grocery list or pantry to swap out for a recycleable. For example, if you buy eggs in the Styrofoam carton, try to buy them in the cardboard (even better buy cage free and organic, but it’s up to you) instead. Cardboard is much more easily recycled or composted compared to styrofoam, so one switch can go a long way!
15. Go Organic, beyond the plate. You have heard me talk about the environmental detriments of conventional farming techniques for food; well, those also apply to crops like cotton. So try switching from conventional cotton balls and swabs to organic ones, even at regular grocery stores, the cost difference is very little. Organic cotton uses much less water throughout its processing, doesn’t require synthetic fertilizers or pesticides and has marginal differences in yield when compared to conventional cotton. Other options include using jute or hemp dish scrubbers rather than steel wool or plastic scrubbers and making an effort to buy organic cotton, wool and sustainably made vegan leather.
16. Pick something to not buy. This was a tough one for us, but we are making the plunge into not buying chips in traditional foil-plastic packaging. I love chips. I love chips and wine together. But from now on we are purchasing tortilla chips because they come in paper packaging. This can apply to lots of items such as granola bars and crackers (make your own or buy in paper boxes) and even feminine hygiene products (switch to a Diva Cup and Lunapads!) Overall, it is a great step to reducing your packaging related waste.
17. Donate. Donating your unwanted goods and clothing not only gives a new life to your items, but it gives someone else access to an item they may really need. Along with buying quality items for your own use, when you’re done with them they can keep going with someone else and not end up in the dump. Don’t like to have to drive to a donation center? Groups like Big Brother will come to your house and pick them up for you! It doesn’t get easier than that. So next time you go to turf that old suit, don’t! Donate it.
18. Waste Less or Wasteless Wednesday. This is a fun one that Steve and I are taking on this year as well. Every Wednesday we plan to not produce any waste. This doesn’t mean we are keeping our garbage on the counter until Thursday, this means whatever we cook or do can’t produce actual garbage. Compost and recycling only! I will be chronicling it on IG for you guys, so follow me there for ideas and progress! Find it daunting? Try to produce less waste on Wednesday (hence the Waste Less Wednesday) by planning a meal in advance with bulk ingredients and produce!
Alright guys! Now feel free to share this post with your friends and family, encourage them to make some sustainability goals for themselves this year. I myself am going to make a large pot of tea and lay on the couch with the dog… if there is room for me…