This blog seems to be becoming more and more “eco-friendlier than thou” and “I hug so many more trees than you” and less about hand making stuff. But I’m not sorry. It’s all going to come together. I swear!
Recently, I started researching living more economically and frugally. And I’m happy to report that it is working. In the past I have lived pretty frivolously and sometimes beyond my means. My husband is amazing at budgeting and living within his means, and I had to come clean a few months ago about semi-secretly blowing his (and my) means on stupid crap that I thought I needed (or just really really wanted.).
So, I scaled back. WAY back. We began living pretty minimally ( or as minimal as you can live with 400 skeins of yarn hiding in your upstairs linen closet). I abruptly stopped spending money on anything other than what was absolutely necessary. And I started noticing that money was piling up! I found that we had $300 stashed away where we chucked our change and leftover bits of money! And so much more in the bank!
While researching how to save the most money while grocery shopping, one day in June, I came across the idea of buying things in the bulk bin section of the grocery store or coop. The idea is that you save money by not having to pay for packaging. This is not totally new to me, having grown up in a moderately crunchy granola household. “But”, I thought, “it’s time to give this a try when grocery day comes along again” (I go twice a month).
At the same time, I was trying to purge our house of plastics, which have been shown to cause a plethora of awful side-effects, and I had a shadow of an idea that they may be terrible for the environment. But they also break much faster than glass or metal, so are not a good investment for us.
I realized one day how much trash the two of us (mostly me) were generating. It must have been a side effect of my research, but as I was taking out another big bag of trash AND recycling to the garage, it struck me that I’d just done this two days ago. There are only two of us! We had generated enough trash to fill half of a huge garbage bin in FOUR days! This was still less than some of our neighbors, but this time that didn’t make me feel any better (EVERYTHING is a competition).
Two weeks and one whirlwind of zero waste youtubers, blogs, documentaries, and books (from the library) later and we were (very slowly) on our way to zero waste life (but really more like way-less-waste. I am far from having this totally figured out.). Two days ago I realized we’d been using the same trash bag for almost two weeks and it wasn’t even full! Progress.
I’m really excited for this, but at the same time sometimes the more research I do, the more depressing it gets. Humanity is pretty steadily using up this planet and abusing our natural resources like it’s going out of style. And Americans are at the very front of this trend.
When it first struck me that I can’t save the whales… or the albatross (albatrosses?) or the world all by myself, this is what came to mind.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 -The Holy Bible
And that’s what has given me hope. I believe in the God that created this earth that provides everything we need. And by living in a way that doesn’t abuse our precious natural resources or the beauty of this earth, I am glorifying God. I can’t do a whole lot. But I can do whatever I can do, and hopefully others will see it and get inspired.
Here are some links to great books and documentaries if you’d like to get started!
The Clean Bin Project (Documentary)
The Story of Stuff (Short Documentary)
Zero Waste Home (Book)
Plastic Free (Book)