Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with your Zero Waste journey? The good news is there is a lot of advice out there. However that can also be the bad news- it can be a bit overwhelming.
In my opinion the most essential tool you need to begin, continue or refine your Zero Waste journey is your brain. Yes- your brain. Any advice you get needs to be filtered to fit your lifestyle. Not the lifestyle you imagine or are striving towards but how you actually live. The nitty gritty day to day life with home, work, family, pets, etc. Big ideas and goals need to be tailored and adjusted into achievable steps. When we are successful, we feel positive, motivated and more open to examining and refining life changes.
Your brain is also the most powerful tool in educating yourself in order to make informed choices. In our blog 19 for 2019- Tips for Going Zero, Tip #1 was-
- Educate yourself. The more you know, the more motivated and committed you will be to keep your resolutions to be plastic free and zero waste.
I wrote my first eco-conscious blog back in 2016. At the time, I was working on not using plastic grocery bags. I know! Now it seems quite ridiculous but back then if I remembered my reusable bags it was all well and good but if I forgot I would take plastic bags and feel guilty. Now I never use plastic grocery bags and my town has banned them. The most important change for me was making a conscious choice and then tweaking to make my choice a reality.
We all have a responsibility to do our own small bit to help reduce the amount of trash and plastic waste we create. The journey is an awakening if you open your heart and use your brain.
Many years ago, when my family was the only year round family on remote Gotts Island I actually did "Black Friday." Black Friday is literally going to a mall after Thanksgiving and buying stuff. I believe it came about because I listened to a talk radio station out of Boston. This is long before talk radio was so political, of course the station talked national and local politics but also covered many human interest stories, food, psychology. For me, it was background conversation while I worked alone in my log cabin. I'm sure I was influenced by all the ads for Black Friday- it seemed the thing to do.
So we headed ashore- no easy task- involving boats and our car. I have no idea what we bought. Probably broccoli and other fresh vegetables. It was crowded, we ate at a fast food joint and by the time we got home we were all cross and grumpy. That's my one and only Black Friday adventure.
This year, celebrate sustainably and slow down. There is no need to pile the family in the car, deal with hordes of people to buy cheap stuff made in China. There are so many other things to do.
#OptOutside was started by the outdoor gear company REI a few years ago. They are closed for business the Friday after Thanksgiving. REI's mission is to connect people with each other and nature instead of spending time shopping for bargains.
Another alternative to Black Friday is Buy Nothing Day. This began in Canada to highlight overconsumption. Instead of shopping the idea is to slow down and participate in a community event, get outside or even spend a bit of time doing what you love. It's a perfect day for some self care.
Both #OptOutside and Buy Nothing Day are movements and philosophies. We're a small business which depends on sales to survive. We understand how complex the world and economies are. We also knowing making choices about your purchases is a way to vote for the kind of economies and world you want.
9 Ideas for #OptOutside & Buy Nothing Day
1. Take a walk no matter what the weather is. Bundle up, put on rain boots or rub in the sunscreen- just get outside.
2. While outside pick up trash. There's nothing like picking up lots od single use plastic to help you make better buying choices.
3. Clean out a closet, cupboard or room and donate useable items to your local charity shop.
4. Write letters, postcards or call family and friends far away.
5. Make holiday cookies or gifts.
6. Read a book, play cards or do a puzzle.
7. Get some ART and visit a museum or gallery.
8. Dedicate some time to self care, give your self a facial, a hot soak in the tub or simply a bit of time doing whatever you love most.
9. No matter how you spend the day- do an activity that nourishes you and helps your community and environment.
Halloween is coming. I actually love this holiday especially when I was teaching. It's an opportunity to celebrate the season, indulge in goodies and a chance to dress up and pretend.
The problem with all holidays is our enjoyment creates mountains of trash- bags of candy, plastic decorations and tiny toys make a lot of trash.
Here are some ideas to help you put the green into trick or treat bags.
Plastic free candy is a challenge, look for candy wrapped in foil or paper or cardboard boxes. They will be bulk packed in plastic but it is better than handing out plastic wrapped candy.
It's easier to skip the candy and pass out other sorts of treats. My favorite idea is a bowl of nature items including shells, sea glass, acorns and stones. If you live in the city this would be a real novelty for some kids.
Paper straws are a great treat to help raise awareness about the problems of plastic. Amazon sells boxes of 150-300 and depending on your street a single box could last a few years.
Sidewalk chalk, tiny cookie cutters, pencils, erasers, bandages, magnets, coloring books or printed coloring sheets, remelted crayons all are lower waste treats and last quite a bit longer than candy.
You can also buy an activity card set and hand out one card per child. Your local bookstore or toy shop will have a selection. Expect to pay around $10-12 for a deck of 50 cards.
The website Teachers Pay Teachers has some different printables including Halloween Yoga cards and Halloween PE. Download to make cute books, printable bookmarks are another option. The downloads cost between $3-5 making these a fun and cheap treat.
The materials to make a craft are also nice treats. Friendship bracelets made from embroidery thread are a calming way to end the Halloween frenzy. You can make a kit for each trick or treater and include directions. Here is a link-DIY Printable Friendship Bracelet .
I hope this blogs helps you think about ways to celebrate without making lots of extra trash. Handing out an eco item can help raise awareness about our planet. Let's all work to make Halloween more green.