By Ashleigh Prince
out&about is my personal journey of discovery asking questions and getting more informed. I want to share my findings with you so we can travel the journey together.
I decided over a year ago to really pay attention to what I was consuming and the waste it produced. I decided to sort everything and learn how to dispose of things and reduce waste.
Here is what I am changing everyday…
Friday was my day to clean out my garage and I headed to my local recycling center. Where I live in Nashville, recycling is offered curbside, however they don’t take glass. So glass I cannot reuse, I bring to the recycling center.
I decided over a year ago to really pay attention to what I was consuming and the waste it produced. I decided to sort everything and learn how and where to dispose of things I wasn’t sure about. For example: batteries, light bulbs, old computers, paint, clothing hangers, etc.
It opened my eyes to many things I never paid attention to before: I began to notice how wasteful a company can be in packaging their products; to question how environmentally safe it is. It lead me to be attentive to where I could cut my waste whenever possible.
The first place I began: water bottles. Next, I started noticing how much waste comes from my daily coffee or tea and the number of bags I use when I go grocery shopping (plastic bags for each group of fruits and veggies, a separate bag for frozen)… you get the picture. And I am just ONE person.
Following are a few actions I have taken and I consciously make an effort to do the best I can. I’m not 100% there but the old conditioning and habits are falling away and a new way is emerging.
I bought several reuseable water bottles to discover which one works best for me. I finally found one and we are now inseparable.
Each time I went to Whole Foods Market, I would purchase a new reuseable bag. Eventually I was able to find what bags I liked best and organized a system for my shopping, so my bags where where and when I needed them. In the produce section, I stopped using plastic bags completely. I just pile my produce in a basket, just as I am doing at the farmer’s market or the farm’s store. When in season, the farm is the only place I buy my produce and many other dry goods now.
Next I went on a hunt for a great coffee-to-go cup. Instead of throwing away the paper cup, paper sleeve and plastic top many times a week, I switched to a glass to-go cup. I have learned that I need more than one cup-to-go, so I can always grab a clean one before leaving the house. Anthropologie or local coffee shops have a lot of choices to create a fun collection.
So now when I leave the house, I ensure that my water bottle is filled, my coffee to-go cup in hand and a lot of reusable bags in the car. I feel better about the way I am consuming and I like the positive reactions from shop owners and employees whenever I ask to refill my cups or use my my own bags.
It’s a wonderful conversation starter and possibly inspiring others to do the same!