BUT WHERE DO I START?!
When I decided to reduce plastic in my life I was looking at my personal care. Specifically the bottles of body wash in my shower. I found a bar of soap I loved (cucumber scent, like any self respecting 90's baby) and a soap bag to put it in and, voila! Plastic Problem solved. Until I looked at the plastic bottle of shampoo...and conditioner...and shaving gel...and the plastic razor...and the plastic bottle of lotion....and face wash...and, and, and, long story short, pretty soon it felt like the plastic walls were closing in around me. If this sounds familiar, I'm here to tell you that it's normal and it gets better. Maybe you feel surrounded by plastic now, but there will be a time in the near future that you will phase out so much of it you'll be amazed! I know, because that's exactly what happened to me and if I can do it, ANYONE CAN. (seriously, I used to tell my mom I didn't want to own real plates, I just wanted paper, so I could throw them away after every meal. I also had a brief love affair with press n' seal but that's in the past)
When I look around at my fairly low waste home and think about how I got here I can't help but think of the things I've learned, the things I've always known, and the things I'm still working on so I wanted to share some of that here in hopes that it might make your life easier if you're just beginning to reduce plastic and waste in your life! With that being said I give you:
Low Waste Life skills For Effectively Reducing Plastic in Your Home Because Who Wants to Throw Away Money On Plastic:
1. Take baby steps. I cannot stress this enough and it's for two reasons. The first being that swapping one thing at a time is WAY more budget friendly. The second being you are more likely to get the hang of new products and routines if you can focus on one thing at a time. Through my personal experience AND my experiences with customers, we are more likely to stick with plastic free options when we take baby steps and only add a new swap once we get the hang of another. Even if it's something as simple as refilling coffee, it can take a few trips to work it into your errands and routine. Take small bites!
2. Use what you have. Real talk: I still have a 5 year old bottle of shampoo in my bathroom because I made the swap to shampoo bars and LOVE THEM. This is fantastic but now I have a 5 year old bottle of shampoo in my bathroom. once you start trying plastic free options and loving them, you will leave your other products in a random cabinet taking up space like the island of misfit toys. Not to mention if you do an overhaul of all your things and throw them all away....it's kind of defeating the point. Use what you have, and once those containers are empty, clean them out, refill and re-purpose, and as a last resort, recycle! Using what you have is sometimes boring but it certainly helps to reduce waste in the long run. If you have un-opened items you no longer want due to ingredients, allergies, etc. See if you can donate items to local shelters, food pantries, or organizations!
3. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself permission to keep what makes sense and ditch what doesn't. You heard me. If you can't see yourself giving up clorox wipes or plastic flossers....then don't. Pick something else! Try a different swap! Tackle a different area! Don't let the fact that you use SOME plastic keep you from reducing the majority of it in your home! It's true that I end up using single use plastic almost every day and I'm far from the ever elusive ZERO WASTE status. You know what else is true? The fact that I have reduced my plastic and single use trashy habits by a HUGE percentage (we're talking more than half) since I began thinking mindfully about my habits as a consumer and taking responsibility for my actions and what I send to the landfill.
I'm going to keep this blog to my top three tips but I'll close with this. Perhaps it sounds strange to say this about my own store but I never could or would have gone to the trouble of reducing my waste this much without an accessible place like Marillas Mindful Supplies. A place where I could find these plastic free swaps and connect with down to earth people who allowed me to make the changes I could over the past few years. In a way that's what keeps me joyfully continuing this adventure. Every time someone comes in and shows interest in making a small change or emails us a question about a product, I feel so fulfilled knowing that we can provide that for our customers because that's what I was craving and wanting before we opened and that's why Marilla's is alive and well today. So if you're just beginning your low waste journey and feel the plastic walls closing in, start small, use up what you have, and we would be honored if we could help you along the way here at Marilla's!
P.S While we appreciate every online order, (and each one helps tremendously) if you live far away it never hurts to search for refill shops near you to see who you can support in your area as well!