Here we are in the roaring ‘20s! Time to break out the drop waisted dresses and the gin and have a party! (Most of what I know about the 1920’s I know from Downton Abbey 😜) As we move into the new decade (or at least the new year if you’re one of the people who argue the decade doesn’t begin until 2021) let’s check in on those pesky plastic goals.
I wrote a brief plastic free January blog last year as well and this serves as just another reminder to think about reducing plastic and waste all year long. Make some good sustainable new year’s resolutions and maybe set up a plan to get you to Plastic Free July 2020.
I haven’t changed a lot of stuff since my July blogs but here are a few thoughts on how to increase your sustainability this year:
I know we just ended the season but birthdays and gift giving go all year long so if you have the time and the means think about giving sustainable, meaningful gifts. We discussed this a bit in Episode Nine of the Whale Tales Podcast but try giving experiences instead of things-for our collective birthdays, Sara, Nicole and I are going to have a spa day together sometime in the spring; it gives us a chance to spend the day together which is what we all really want and it will happen at a time when we all have the chance to take a break and really enjoy it. A lot of spas offer gift certificates for certain features or just a monetary amount (and most of them can be done online so you can give these gifts to your loved ones far away). You can also give skating lessons or swimming lessons or a paint night or a wine tour or a whale watching trip or whatever-there are so many options instead of another book or a random candle. It also cuts down on shipping and wrapping waste. I was able to buy all of my Christmas gifts in person this year-not from local small businesses sadly but I was still able to minimize my shipping imprint so that’s a small win. I also managed to not use tape on the brown paper I used to wrap gifts (just ribbon that could also be reused) and we’ve used fabric and of course reusable gift bags in the past for presents to get away from shiny wrapping paper that has to be thrown out. I also saw a great list of Green Christmas ideas that listed old scarves (or table clothes or whatever) as a gift wrapping option-could end up being a bonus gift!
This is another issue that is gaining more attention. If you’ve been able to cut down on your plastic waste and maybe your food waste and still want to do something more, look into fast fashion and how you can buy more sustainably. I’ve found a couple new accounts this fall like Recloseted with tips on how to buy second hand or just re-invigorate the clothes you already have and Good On You with tips and lists of ethical fashion. They also list most stores on their site to let you know how good the store is at ethical fashion, so you aren’t lost in the weeds when you’re at the mall and just need to buy new jeans. Again, like plastic, this is not a ride or die change. Everyone has different needs and different budgets and different fashion choices. Not buying new clothes and wearing the same thing over and over again doesn’t bother me at all (Claudia Kishi I am not!), I also work from home two days a week so my “nice clothes” have less pressure on them but that may not be possible for everyone. So think about it and see what you can change. Take a trip to a thrift store, save up and buy a good, sustainable, high quality sweater that you’ll have for years instead of a $6 cardigan…. whatever works for you. Also: hang your laundry to dry when you have the option and that can be any or all of it: socks, underwear, shirts, sheets, anything. They’ll last longer and you’ll be saved the dryer cost (and/or the cost of a new shirt that was shrunk when it accidentally ended up in the dryer).
You can also fix the clothes that you have if possible-sew up tears, add buttons etc but remember to think realistic: don’t buy something thinking “I can totally hem that and wear it all the time” if you aren’t an experienced sewer with the correct tools. It will just sit in your closet until your next clean out and then go back to the donation bin or thrift store.
As always, these are just my thoughts and tips. I am well aware my lifestyle is not the norm and it can be much harder to live sustainably with kids and a house and everything that comes with that but hopefully these tips have got you thinking of some options. Remember, you don’t have to change everything but changing some things will help us all get to a healthier 2020-bring on the gin!