Over COVID I went through a documentary phase, and while I’ve always been concerned about the environment, these opened my eyes that I had to take more action. Over the last several months I’ve been slowly making changes to reduce our waste and impact on the planet. I thought I would share these changes in case anyone also wanted to switch to sustainable living but didn’t know where to start.

On a side note, I was thrilled when I read the announcement that Canada will be banning single use plastics such as straws, grocery bags, utensils, coffee stirrers, six pack rings, and containers . I read how some people were concerned about this decision after Alberta announced plans to grow their petrochemical sector and to start a plastics recycling economy. But folks can relax, because even without these items there is A LOT of plastic out there!

1. Refill stations to reduce plastic

This was a big one for me. One of the biggest plastics we use is in packaging of cleaning supplies and personal products like shampoo and conditioner. I learned that Purple Carrot is a local company that has a large refill station where you can bring your own containers and stock up on the items you need. I purchase dish and hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher tabs, shampoo and conditioner.
I didn’t go out and buy fancy glass containers for these though. I reused the last plastic container I had from the store. When these break I will replace them with glass/metal containers.

2. Buying local produce

I always loved the idea of the Farmers Market and buying directly from farms, but I always thought “it’s cheaper at the grocery store.” I have since learned that it’s only a couple dollars more and the fresh produce tastes better. You’re also saving carbon emissions because picking raspberries from the local u-pick is better than buying some shipped in from Mexico.
During the summer, sticking to local produce has been easy, I know it won’t be as easy during the winter. Superstore is great at labelling their produce if it’s local saying what area of Canada it’s from which is great.

Next year we’re putting in a family garden to grow our own produce.

3. Buying items packaged in glass instead of plastic

I have so many glass jars now! One of the first changes I made was to buy food in glass containers instead of plastic. i used to buy the large plastic Ragu spaghetti sauces, now I buy the smaller glass ones. It’s often a little bit more expensive, but I’m talking maybe a dollar or two. Worth it to reduce my plastic consumption.

4. Using a couple cloth diapers a day

I’m doing something I swore I never would- using cloth diapers! But there’s a caveat, I don’t do it full time. After Logi has a dirty diaper, I use a cloth diaper knowing it will only get wet. The goal is to replace two diapers a day with cloth. This will result in saving more than 800 diapers from going into the landfill.
Diapers take 500 years to break down! While I wish I was awesome enough to go all cloth, I’m proud of reducing my waste a little.

5. Reusable wipes from old clothes

Along those lines, how many of you use baby wipes to wipe messy faces and hands? Instead of using disposable wipes, I’ve taken all the old stained baby clothes that I cant give away and cut them into reusable wipes. I have them in a diaper wipe container with all natural soap water.

6. Replacing items with environmentally friendly versions when needed

When I first watched Plastic Ocean I immediately went on Amazon and ordered glass Tupperware to replace my plastic. But if I were to do this, I would be throwing a lot of things away at once. So what I’m doing is using everything up before I replace them.
I used up all my deodorant before changing to all natural. I’m waiting for my plastic cleaning bottles to break or wear out before buying a glass one. When replacing toothbrushes, I’ll buy bamboo. 
It’ll take time to get to a more natural state of living, but taking these small, very easy changes is a step in the right direction.

Additional Sustainable Living Tips

Other easy changes I’ve done including using reusable cloths, shopping bags, sandwich bags, and straws.

Other Ways to Help the Environment

What sustainable living tips do you have?

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