My 2019 eco-friendly resolution: Part 2, June update

In 2019 I resolved to drastically reduce my waste–garbage and recycling. I first wrote about it in a blog post in March, three months into the year. Since it’s now June, I figured it’s time for another quarterly update!

Below is my list from my original blog post, updated. I’ve also added some notes to clarify a few things.

It was really eye-opening to revisit my original list, to see how much has changed. I can honestly say that I feel very proud of how far I’ve come. I can’t stress enough how these slow, small, almost trivial sounding steps have really built on themselves. What felt insurmountable before seems so easy now (why was I afraid of giving up paper towel?!)

The reason I’m writing this is to, hopefully, show you that it’s not as daunting as you might think. If I can do it, you can do it too. ūüôā Also, I’m not perfect, and I don’t think you need to be to make real, positive, changes.

Things I was already doing (before 2019)

  1. Going car-free as much as possible
  2. Living in a small home
  3. Choosing natural, nontoxic beauty, personal care, and cleaning products
  4. Choosing organic/local foods when possible
  5. Going meat-free most of the time
  6. Avoiding skincare products that contain microbeads
  7. Avoiding impulse clothing shopping
  8. Bringing my own bags to the grocery store and the mall
  9. Using my water bottle (and not buying bottled water)

Changes I’ve made so far in 2019

  1. Using bamboo toothbrushes
  2. Using compostable silk floss
  3. Using bar soap instead of body wash
  4. Using refill hand soap and dish soap
  5. Using shampoo and conditioner bars (or refills)
  6. Using refill baby shampoo
  7. Using cloth makeup removal pads instead of disposables
  8. Using lip balm in paper tubes
  9. Using deodorant in paper tubes
  10. Using a metal safety razor and blades
  11. Using a hemp shower loofah instead of a synthetic exfoliating mitt
  12. Using mostly zero-waste in my feminine hygiene [NOTE: I occasionally still use disposables for particularly tricky days]
  13. Reducing my use of cotton swabs, and making sure I only use compostable ones
  14. Omitting plastic wrap (I use this instead!)
  15. Omitting plastic sandwich/snack bags (I use these for dry goods and these if I’m worried about moisture)
  16. Reducing my use of foods in crinkly bags (that means chips and toddler snacks) and returning the bags to the store [NOTE: We now do one bag of chips per week, and that’s it.]
  17. Choosing glass, paper, and (non-BPA) cans when possible, instead of plastic food packaging
  18. Choosing better plastic packaging if I am using plastic (larger bags, plastics that are better quality and easier to recycle)
  19. Choosing bulk tea
  20. Using paper or biodegradable bin liners
  21. Using cloth napkins
  22. Keeping a jug of water in the fridge, rather than running the tap for cold water
  23. Following the recycling rules better (to avoid contamination, etc)
  24. Buying milk in glass instead of plastic (we go through a lot because of my son)
  25. Bringing my own bags for bulk products and produce
  26. Buying most bread at bakeries and farmers’ markets, in my cloth bags
  27. Vowing to buy textiles/clothing made from natural fibres to reduce microplastic pollution¬†when possible [NOTE: I’ve slipped up on this a few times, I’m sorry to say.]
  28. Hanging clothes to dry when possible, especially those with a high percentage of synthetic fabrics (this is challenging in a small space!)
  29. Choosing non-plastic (or recycled plastic) toddler gear, such as plates/cups/cutlery, etc
  30. Choosing experience and zero-waste gifts [NOTE: See my blog post about it here.]
  31. Saying “no” to receipts (with a few exceptions)
  32. Batch cooking and baking on the weekend to rely less on packaged foods. In addition to meals, these snacks are hugely helpful to make in advance:
    • applesauce oatmeal muffins
    • banana bread
    • egg bites
    • cookies
  33. Drastically reducing my use of paper towels [NOTE: I almost never use them anymore]
  34. Using more refill stores (like the Soap Dispensary in Vancouver and the Port Moody Refillery) for food, personal care, and cleaning supplies
  35. Asking for no (plastic) straw when I go to restaurants [NOTE: It took me forever to get into the habit of remembering this, for some reason. I would forget, and then have a mini meltdown when the plastic straw arrived.]
  36. Bringing my own containers to restaurants for leftovers and takeout (I also ask for no cutlery/chopsticks/fake plastic sushi grass) [NOTE: This is my favourite thing to do, because usually other people ask about it and I can tell them.]
  37. Using a travel mug or “for here” mug at coffee shops [NOTE: Starbucks automatically prints stickers for all cups, including “for-here” cups, which means no customer can leave without creating waste. I hate this, and try to avoid Starbucks now.]
  38. Bringing cutlery and a napkin to coffee shops
  39. Saying “no thank you” to free promotional items [NOTE: People can be surprisingly pushy! Holy cow.]
  40. Giving unwanted items away to people directly (often using Mom groups on social media)
  41. Cancelling unnecessary mail
  42. Repairing items rather than replacing
  43. Choosing cards that aren’t wrapped in plastic, and don’t contain glitter or rhinestones
  44. Creating a balcony garden for herbs and some veggies
  45. Spreading the word through Instagram, this blog, and the articles I write

Changes still to make

  1. Choosing more Zero Waste makeup and skincare as I use up my old products
  2. Putting a “no junk mail” sticker on my mailbox
  3. Sending old mascara wants to wildlife rescue organizations
  4. Making DIY cleaning products when I use up my old products
  5. Doing even more batch cooking and homemade foods. Some things I want to try:
    • waffles for toddler snacks
    • burritos for my husband’s lunches
    • crackers
  6. Supporting farmers’ markets and local businesses even more
  7. Replacing household goods with better versions as they wear out and need replacing [NOTE: I think this will always be ongoing]
  8. Doing bulk coffee [NOTE: We’re already doing recyclable tins and a Zero Waste coffee maker/cloth filters]
  9. Buying toilet paper without plastic packaging¬†[NOTE: I’m already buying recycled]
  10. Getting the whole family handkerchiefs instead of tissues
  11. Buying non-plastic chopsticks to use forever in the home
  12. Cloth diapering [NOTE: I’ve been trying, and failing, with my son. Apparently toddlers don’t like changing to cloth. I might just have to start fresh with Baby #2 one day.]
  13. Choosing a hybrid for our next car, possibly
  14. Getting more involved in an organization, and volunteering

If you’re following along closely, you’ll notice that even though my list of things I’ve done is much longer, by list of things I want to do is still long. That’s mostly because I keep coming up with more ideas to take on! I suspect it will always be this way.

What about you?

I’d like to end on the same note as last time: my actions, however small, make a difference. So do yours! I mean that with the least amount of judgment possible. Let’s celebrate our little victories together.

Have you been at this for a while? If so, I want to hear from you! Please let me know your thoughts, tips, tricks, recipes, or anything else.


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