Adopting a new lifestyle or making major changes to your existing one isn’t something that can happen overnight, and making changes to reduce your impact on the earth is no different.
So what’s the best way to get started on a big shift? One step at a time, of course! As with everything, moderation is key. If you get hung up on trying to do everything at once, you’ll likely do nothing. So pick one thing and start there.
This is a large part of the inspiration behind our new refillery concept — that choosing one small action and starting there can make a big difference. I have found that since we’ve made the change in the store, the philosophy of reducing and reusing has been radiating out into other areas of my life. In my home, we already made efforts to reduce waste and buy ethical products, but it only makes sense that the more you move in a certain direction, the more opportunities you’ll see to further the shift. Something as simple as remembering to bring our cloth grocery bags when we walk the dogs because we know we’ll be passing the grocery store means less waste in our home, and it cements that habit so that it becomes the norm.
Relying on refillable products, bought in bulk — whether it’s laundry detergent, shampoo and epsom salts or rolled oats and jelly beans — requires a core shift in how you shop and how you move through the world. We’d like to play a part in coaching you on how to do this.
We hope that through our social media posts, live videos, direct communication with you and our interactions in store, we can inspire and empower you to make the changes you want to make.
Here are our top five simple changes that you can make today to shift your thinking and actions toward a lower impact. Pick one to start!
BYOC: Bring Your Own Container
If you’re headed somewhere where you’ll be needing a container (salad bar? leftovers at a restaurant? your local refillery?), bring your own container, ask the cashier to tare the scale with your container on it before you fill it, and save the plastic or styrofoam! Many establishments make an effort to supply recyclable or compostable containers, but remember that reusing is always better and lower impact than even recycling or composting.
Refuse the Bag
When you make it to the till, consider whether you will really need a bag. You may choose to bring your own (carry a bunch to the grocery store, or keep a small stuffable bag inside your purse or on your keychain), or maybe you simply don’t need one. Some instances when you might refuse the bag: you already have one from another store (ex. at the mall); you can carry your purchases in your hands; your purchase will fit in your purse or backpack. Tell the cashier before they reach for the bag that you won’t be needing one.
If you can make it yourself, fix it yourself or build it yourself, do it! DIY self care products are fun to make and contain only the ingredients you choose. Making your own meals or meal components often saves waste and money. And often, repairing something you already own or building things out of what you already have keeps waste out of the landfill, saves money and also saves you a trip to the store!
As mentioned earlier, reusing is always better than recycling. Recycling is a great option and will almost always win over sending waste to the landfill, but it still requires trucks to drive waste to a facility, energy to recycle it, and often there are issue such as a lack of options for end use, or storage. Always reduce your consumption first, and reuse or repurpose items and packaging second.
Buy Local & Walk
Of course, frequent your local retailers! If you can walk or bike to the store, even better. Combine errands to reduce the number of trips. Getting to know your local retailers helps to build community and keeps money in the local economy.
Above all else, don’t beat yourself up for any of the things you are not doing! Do what you can, and spread the word about how you do it and why it works for you. Sometimes we don’t realize just how easy a change will be until someone we know relates their own experience. So talk about it with your friends and family!