As I said in our last blog post, we’re taking the new year to refocus our business as well as our personal lives to reduce our environmental footprint on the world. We’ll be making small, but sizable steps to make permanent changes in our lives in ways that will benefit our planet. We have attempted to live a “Zero-Waste” Lifestyle, taking tips we’ve read online. We found it unsustainable and honestly, unapproachable. There were so many things that I couldn’t do, had to buy, or get rid of things that brought me so much joy. That is why we created the Low-Waste challenge. We never expect perfection in your lifestyle changes (nobody’s perfect, right?). Together, we’ll take a deeper look at our current lifestyle and how it’s impacting the Earth.
It’s going to be important through this challenge to choose changes every month that you know will be sustainable and permanent for your lifestyle. We know that there are some things that just aren’t realistic for your lifestyle, or let’s be honest, you just don’t WANT to have to give up!
We say Low-Waste instead of Zero-Waste because ZERO has always sounded so inflexible and unattainable to us. We completely understand if you’re just beginning your eco-journey. This is a great jumping off point whether you’re just starting out or possibly looking for more ways to shrink your ecological footprint. No matter how you got here, we’re so glad to have you with us taking the Low Waste Challenge! We don’t expect perfection, we just want to see you trying!
Every month we’ll post a more in-depth look at that month’s challenge along with an email newsletter to keep you up to date and active in the challenge. You'll also receive two Low Waste Challenge Checklists that you can print out or save to your computer to keep your low waste journey on track!
January: Purge unneeded Items from your home
In January we’re going to purge any “extras” that we don’t need. This can range from clothes that don’t fit you anymore to housewares that are just clutter around your home. Really try to go through and determine if you really NEED something (or it brings you joy, as Marie Kondo says!). Overconsumption and waste are a big problem on our Earth at the moment (Americans are especially guilty of this), and this is a great first step to taking inventory of all of the things you own and determining what you cannot live without.
The next important step is to donate these items, this way they can get a second life! We recommend donating to a local homeless or women’s shelter instead of Goodwill or another thrift store.
Don’t know where to find your local shelters? Check out the Homeless Shelter Directory.
Check out our January blog with all the deats!
February: Don’t buy anything new
After we’ve donated all of the items that we don’t need anymore we need to make sure that we don’t buy new things just to replace all of that clutter. Remember, we gave it away for a reason!
Items like groceries, gas, and other things you need of course do not count toward things we’re not buying. We’re talking about clothes, shoes, home décor, furniture, kitchen items, or anything else you gave away last month. Things that you already own and do not need more of.
I don’t want this month to feel completely unattainable, so if you do need to buy a new shirt or a new décor item, just make sure that you think twice about purchasing the item. Do you really need it? Could you make do with something you have at home?
Click here to see February's Blog!
March: Make a Low Waste tool kit on a budget
This month we’ll be creating a low waste tool kit from things that you already have in your home. Again, we’re still avoiding needing to purchase anything new as long as we have something that will do the job. So this low waste toolkit will not look like the picture perfect ones you see on Instagram, and that’s okay! It doesn’t need to!
The most important part is creating a toolkit that will significantly reduce the amount of plastic and waste you create. We’re not looking for perfection, just working toward reducing our ecological footprint.
Check out our Low Waste tool kit ideas here!
April: Low Waste Beauty
The first three months of this challenge were getting you prepared for the low waste mindset and taking a look at what you really need VS what is just “extra” in your life. Now we’ll be getting into specifics on ways you can reduce your waste throughout your life.
Low Waste beauty can look like a variety of things based on what your personal routine looks like. We would be silly not to suggest our variety of handmade, zero waste products such as soap, body butter, and lip balm as a good jumping off point for starting this month. Low waste beauty can be a variety of things such as bamboo toothbrushes, plastic free makeup products, shampoo and conditioner bars, or a Waterpik instead of plastic floss. Purchasing these things isn’t considered wasteful, but an investment as you’ll be using these for time to come and they produce no or significantly less waste.
May: Reusable bags
We all know that plastic bags end up in the ocean and are found littered all over the world. This month we’re ditching plastic shopping bags altogether! Find a cloth bag somewhere in your house. It doesn’t need to be fancy and it doesn’t need to be a bag that’s made specifically for shopping. Just grab any bag you’re not using in your house (grab more than one if you have it!) and put it in your car. Now you just need to remember to bring it with you into the store when you shop!
June: Natural and Zero Waste Cleaning
From washing dishes at the sink to doing your laundry to wiping down your countertops. This month we’ll be focused on creating more sustainable habits with your cleaning products. Again, this doesn’t mean that you should go out and buy a bunch of new cleaning supplies to start over. Go little by little as you run out of your current stock of cleaning supplies.
Solid dish soap, refillable containers, plastic free laundry soap, and even all natural cleaners will be great replacements to make in your new low waste journey.
We have some fun ideas for new products that we’ll be launching in time for June. Make sure to check back in!
July: Learn to upcycle
Upcycling is a great low waste habit to start for the month of July. This month we’ll be suggesting different upcycling projects made from materials in your own home. What is upcycling? Upcycling is using items that you may usually throw away and creating something new out of them.
This would be a great month to get any kids (children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren) involved in your low waste journey as well. We’ll be getting crafty with what otherwise may have been thrown in the dumpster. We have typically strayed away from upcycling projects because sometimes we feel like they still look like trash, that’s been glued together. We’ll be going live on social media to do some upcycling crafts with you that don’t look like trash!
August: Plastic free Beverages
Plastic free beverages is the first way that we, personally, got started with a low waste lifestyle. Reusing glass jam jars as drinking glasses and reusable straws at home have been our go to, but we know that we’re not doing our best to be low-waste when we’re out and about.
So many people and companies ditched straws altogether when those sad photos of straws affecting turtles were circulating online. We want to drive that same energy to reducing our plastic use with more than just straws! Plastic tops and even the wax lined cups are all not recyclable, and therefore are just adding to the waste we create.
Plastic drinking bottles (water, tea, soda) are some of the biggest plastic polluters in the world! Cutting these out completely from your routine could have a huge impact on your ecological footprint. Buying a water filter or canned soda instead of plastic bottles are small, easy fixes.
We’ll work together to reduce or even eliminate our waste when it comes to beverages in and out of our homes.
September: Plastic Free Food Storage
This month we’ll be looking at our kitchens. What do your current food storage options look like? How many times can they be used before throwing them away? Are they made of plastic? Some of the biggest single-use plastics for food storage are plastic bags and plastic wrap. There are a few different options to replace these items such as beeswax wraps or silicone containers for a vegan option. Again, we don’t want you to feel like you have to invest in any of these items. Do you have something laying around the house that could be used to store you food? Old glass marinara jars or Tupperware you already have are also great options.
October: Contact a government official about corporation’s environmental activities
Did you know that more than 60% of waste created is created by corporations and not consumers? So although the work we’re doing is great, we also need to contact lawmakers about creating stronger regulations for corporations and ensuring that they stick to them. We’ll be providing scripts for you to make calls or emails for you to send to your local lawmakers about legislation to conserve our planet. We would love for you to invite a friend or family member to join you on this one!
November: Eco Friendly Holiday
In America, November is a month where we gather together with family and those we love to celebrate what we’re thankful for. This is also a month where plastic cutlery and plates purchases are at an all time high. These items are used one time and then are thrown away to sit in a trash pile for the rest of eternity. If you’re hosting, then use silverware and plates that can be washed and used again and again. If you’re not hosting, try discussing with the host how important it is not to use single-use plastic and offer to help them do the dishes and clean up when dinner is over.
December: Sustainable Gift Wrap and Decorations
December is a beautiful month of giving gifts and decorating your home, no matter what you celebrate. This month, we’ll be showing you a few different sustainable decorations you can display in your home. We’ll also be focused on sustainable gift wrapping. Wrapping paper, plastic tape, and tissue paper are only used once then thrown away. Investing in fabric bags are an eco-friendly choice that you can use year after year! If you’re not ready to invest, newspapers, Kraft paper, or other reused packing material also works great!
We hope we've gotten you thinking about your Ecological Footprint and how our actions impact our Earth. We would love to have you join us every month to check in on how your challenge is going and what’s working for you! Let us know in the comments if you're joining the Low Waste Challenge with us!
Make sure you’re getting our monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on the challenge and how you can reduce your ecological footprint. Sign up below!
Want to learn more about what all an ecological footprint entails? Head on over to Global Footprint Network for a more in depth understanding on the different things that impact our Earth and you can even take a quiz to see where you currently stand on your eco footprint.