I take such joy in finding ways to live a more ecologically friendly life, odd as that sounds. Each time I discover a new way of living wisely I feel a sort of delight that isn’t easily taken away.
Just yesterday, ironically minutes after my final load finished, my back-ordered Wonder Ball arrived, a way of using less or no detergent and getting things clean. I can’t wait to use it! I already started using the Static Eliminator instead of dryer sheets. I had no idea how many chemicals were in those little sheets! But when I think of a lifetime of using them (even if I was someone to use half of one per load), I’m embarrassed by the waste.
One of the great things about having these items for laundry, besides the environmental benefits, is the money saved. The Wonder Ball lasts for 2,000 washes and the Static Eliminator for 500 washes. For a single woman with not a lot of laundry, that’s a long time.
The other thing that is great about using these products for the lifestyle I’m working toward is that they travel well. I don’t have to buy small packages of products I don’t even know if I can trust because that’s all that is available, or alternatively I don’t have to carry bottles or boxes of detergent around.
Another item I purchased part way through the year is a safety razor. This is going old school, and I love it! The razor I chose was the Vintage Butterfly Safety Razor with Gun Metal Finish. Does that sound like me or what? It's pretty hot to look at, and gives a nice, close shave.
I will say it takes some getting used to. After a lifetime of shaving with those disposable things, using quality takes practice. You don’t need to push for one thing. Nor do you take fast, long strokes. It’s just as easy, mind, but it’s a different way. When done properly, it is the closest shave you’ll ever have. And the waste is almost nil. Plus, it’s purdy.
Some changes I’ve implemented over the last year or so:
- Only reusable shopping bags. (If I don't have them with me I go without or don't buy.)
- Only handkerchiefs. (So, so much nicer on your nose!)
- Only cloth napkins. (This includes always carrying one with me for restaurants without them.)
- Rags instead of paper towels. (Best change made - works much better and you don't realize how often you use paper towels.)
- Always use my own container for coffee and other drinks. (Again, don't buy if don't have a container with me.)
- DivaCup instead of tampons, LunaPads instead of liners. (I cannot believe I hadn’t heard of these before! So much more effective, more comfortable, and healthier!)
- Never plastic utensils. (Again, proper silverware carried with me.)
- Ending all catalogues and junk mail. (So easy and so few do it.)
- Changing to non-disposable razor with replaceable blades.
- Laundry detergent and dryer sheet alternatives.
- An eReader instead of books; an external hard drive instead of DVDs.
I’m not militant about any of this, don’t impose my ways on anyone around me (beyond blogging), and when in other’s homes I use what they have. But for me, all of these have been really easy changes. And I feel great about them.
Obviously, there is so much more I could be doing. And I’m working toward quite a few new changes. But I also won’t be so over-the-top about it that I can’t enjoy things with people. For instance, the one and only time I used a paper coffee cup last year was when I was out with a friend and we drove to the coffee shop in his vehicle a mile away from my car with my cup inside it. I was out to have coffee with a friend on a schedule. It was to be my treat. Of course I ordered something, and we had a lovely visit.
I hope this inspires someone – even just a little. It started small with me, just the shopping bags, and expanded from there. But these changes, they feel good. It may seem small, all this… one little person, what can she do? But you know what? I know that last year because of my changes a tree or two less were used for wiping my nose on or cleaning up a spill. I love trees. Simple as that.