So I forgot to mention in my last post that sustainable conscious living is something that I’m still working on. And, as such, I am a newbie. So, no, I don’t have it all figured out in terms how far I am going to go to live sustainably and consciously. But, I do know that I am going to pick a few things that have been tugging at my conscience for a while and start with those. But, before I mention those, I want to share the work that is already under way.
Steps I’ve already taken:
My buying habits have changed but I certainly buy what I need. When I want something I ask myself if I need it and how much use I would get out of the item if I were to buy it. I’ve also decided that when I buy items that I need, I am going to make quality & materials the item is made with a top priority. I’ve stopped buying a lot of unnecessary products that I thought I needed but don’t really need like dryer sheets, fabric softener, different cleaning products for each surface/room, mouthwash etc. Not buying these items in most cases is better for my health while it also reduces my personal waste production.
I’ve started using products that are manufactured keeping both the environment & good health in mind. I do eventually want to transition to buying even personal care products in bulk so I can create less waste (even if the container is recyclable after use). But that is for the future because I can’t do everything at once! It would be too overwhelming!
I’ve decided to support sustainably conscious supplement companies in my private practice. At the end of 2016 I began calling, emailing & researching supplement companies. I created this massive spreadsheet that has information about manufacturing processes, labeling, quality of ingredients, certifications etc. It is probably the research that I am most proud of because it is going to be super useful for my patients. I had a few patients last year ask which supplement companies carried gluten free products or how professional companies compared to other supplement companies. These are all questions I can now answer with confidence and supplement patient answers with a lot of useful information.
I reward patients who bring their botanical medicine glass bottle back to for refills with $ credit. This encourages & supports recycling!
This may seem intuitive but it is only something I’ve done consciously and consistently for three years. I recycle more than I have these past few years. Partially, because when my husband and I were living with his brother’s family, my sister-in-law also had an interest in recycling. Its because of her, my interest renewed. My trash right now is 1-2 small grocery bags a week. And, right now, I throw my compostable items away too. My husband and I live in a condo and I haven’t explored, yet, how to make composting work for us. It is on my to do list to figure out.
I’ve begun to shift my mentality from new is always better to ‘used saves.’
I try to use less water when showering and brushing my teeth.
My husband and I opt for electronic billing vs. paper bills. For monthly bills this is a simple fix. Many clothing stores have the option of emailing your bill vs. printing but this is not yet an option at many grocery stores.
There are probably more steps that I can’t think of right now. But, the point is that even though I've made quite a few changes over the past few years, there is still much more that can be done and it is completely ok! This way of living is a process & it can't happen overnight!
Goals I want to take on & accomplish over the next few months:
Goal 1: I want to 100% of the time bring my own grocery & produce bags when I go grocery shopping.
I forget to take the grocery bags with me & only realize when I reach the grocery store :/ I then justify that it is okay because I request paper over plastic. I reuse the paper bags for my kitchen recycling and when I forget to request paper I use the plastic bags as garbage bags for the kitchen garbage.
I don’t have enough reusable produce bags so I need to either make more or buy more.
I need to figure out a way to have a lined garbage bin without using the plastic grocery bags as my trash bags.
I need to be okay with the added cost of buying compostable non plastic garbage bags once I am able to find where I can buy such bags.
Goal 2: Reduce the amount of packaging I bring home from grocery shopping. I really want to go plastic free as much as I can.
Usually the things that are packaged in plastic tend to be cheaper or even easier to use. The example that comes to mind are the triple washed organic spinach or kale or mixed greens. There are so many companies that provide pre-washed greens because it really makes assembling a salad so easy.
This goal of reducing packaging will also impact my online shopping. I’ve actually become quite good at finding good deals on non perishable grocery items online. The only issue with that is that the box the products arrive in contribute to greater waste & garbage production.
Buying items in bulk bin stores is going to impact where I grocery shop. Right now I either shop at Kroger or Meijer for my basic grocery necessities and then go to Whole Foods for the items I can’t find elsewhere. I will have to exclusively shop at Fresh Thyme or Whole Foods for bulk items as those are the closest bulk bin grocery stores near me.
So, I hope a little insight into my transition makes the transition for you something you want to consider! It is definitely not easy but I advise just picking a few changes and making them happen!