This year on January 1st, I thought about my life and what I wanted to change. I rarely make New Years Resolutions, and the ones that I do make are usually “try to eat better” and “quit smoking” (still trying to do that one but it’s hard now that my husband has picked up the habit just as I was hitting my six months without smoking.)
This year, I decided to finally give up unnecessary waste. This means that before I go grocery shopping, I have to make sure I make a list of what I’m getting so I don’t buy stuff I don’t need, pay attention to how much packaging things come in and choose products that use less or recyclable materials, buying meat from the butcher so that it doesn’t come on a Styrofoam pad, and using my cloth bags instead of plastic bags. I also have decided to stop getting food delivered to my house because of the packaging, and ordering a small amount at restaurants so I don’t get to go boxes.
I have also become more diligent with my recycling and even started recycling glass which is a big pain in the butt in my town. Over the last three weeks, my house of three adults has only produced five bags of trash, and two of those were just cat litter,which can’t be helped as far as I know.
One rule about resolving to produce less waste is that I promised myself and my housemates that it wouldn’t get in the way of basic hygiene and sanitation. I didn’t go through my house throwing away all of my butt wipes and paper towels. I might in the future change some things like wearing my Diva Cup more often or making my own laundry detergent but as of right now I still have items from last year that would be better to use up than throw away.
I have been making a conscious effort to reduce my consumption, reuse what I can, and recycle the rest. Throwing away anything makes me sad right now. And throwing away food makes me mad so I have been trying to make only a couple of days worth at a time. I can’t wait to buy a house so we can make a compost pile with our kitchen scraps and install solar panels.
I have also been making sure to take a bag to pick up trash when my dog and I go on hikes. We have been doing this since I got her three years ago. One of our favorite activities is to go to a creek that is a popular party spot for the kids and find trash to throw away. It gives us something to do while we’re out and it makes me feel like I’m helping the ecosystem of that creek as that place gets really trashed.
I have to admit, after being diligent about this for the last few weeks, going to wal mart and seeing people leave with a cart overflowing with plastic bags and packaged food is disheartening. Going on a hike and seeing that a group had a party in the middle of the woods and left all of their stuff makes me angry. Driving behind someone who dumps their fast food out their window is infuriating. Sometimes I feel like “what’s the point”. But I guess the point is that I feel better about myself and I hope that maybe I could inspire someone else to do the same. I’m trying to do the right thing for the planet, and I know there are many people like me. I hope that I can create change in my city by promoting recycling and green legislation. I feel like it should be a nonpartisan issue.