I’ve given up eating meat. I’ve given up running marathons. I’ve given up eating sushi. I’ve given up following any TV programs (because since Buffy, what’s left?). I’ve (mostly) given up drinks that come in plastic bottles. I’ve given up Nestlé products. Some of these things I’ve given up because I don’t have time for them (marathons, TV). Others I’ve given up on principle (meat, sushi, plastic bottles, Nestlé). I’m planning to give up more, for both reasons.
This summer I wrote about my despair about the ubiquity of plastic — and plastic waste. I wrote that though I am currently not capable of making big, revolutionary changes, I am certainly able to “make small changes, one or two at a time.” Though we haven’t yet figured out urban composting, as I had hoped, I have been methodically replacing my usual personal care products with nontoxic, no-plastic alternatives. For example*:
- Soap: Dr. Bronner’s
- Shampoo: Dr. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo (I’m not yet prepared to go “no poo.”)
- Toothbrush: Preserve toothbrushes, which are recyclable. Note, however, that recycling plastic is not really a solution — this alternative is just the best one I could find right now. For example, I also recently bought an Appa Kappa toothbrush, which is biodegradable, but it comes in a hard plastic case (???), so I’m probably going to return it.
- Deodorant: I make my own.
Not everything needs to be replaced — some things, like (for me) shaving lotion, can be given up altogether. But it’s been difficult to find suitable replacements for some necessities. For example, I’m not willing to give up fluoride toothpaste (though I know that there are cons to fluoride), but I don’t know of any toothpaste that comes in anything but a plastic tube. And for some items, there just aren’t any no-plastic alternatives. Am I ready to give up my contact lenses? Not today.
But I am certainly ready to give up — or change — much more — because I’m not willing to give up on the Critter’s future. Beginning this month, I’m going to formalize my commitment to small changes by making (and reporting on) one small change each month. My inspiration: Hip Mountain Mama‘s One Small Change project, which focuses on reducing our carbon footprint. Also, the Organic Sister has just launched a new Web site, Sustainable Baby Steps, which provides a wealth of resources on sustainable living that I’m sure I’ll be drawing on. (If you like giveaways, BTW, she has a great big one going on now.)
This month’s change: no more disposable tampons or sanitary napkins! Just what you were hoping to hear about, eh?
What small changes have you made?
* The links are provided for your information only; I’m affiliated with none of these companies.