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May’s Zero Waste Wins and Struggles

Somehow it’s May and we’re already nearing the end of the school year. It’s been quite the ride, correct? Yet the days move forward, the seasons change and I keep working on my zero-waste lifestyle in order to help the Earth. Like I always say, small actions add up to big ones. Every little bit helps, and initial nudges become regular habits. I also admit that we’re all human and can’t live this lifestyle perfectly. We’re all going to make mistakes and do things we wish we hadn’t. So I like to be transparent about my journey. This month, I had one struggle and two wins. Bad news first…

Kids have their own opinions. When my girls were younger, I bought the majority of their clothes used and via Kidizen. I would let them choose from a pre-selected lot, but was able to steer their wardrobe for the most part. However they’re growing up and want to shop at real stores where they can pick the latest fashions and clothes that are “in style.” Unfortunately, there are no more kids consignment shops in my area, so we recently visited the fast fashion shops. Sure, it was fun to have a “girls day” and treat my older daughter to new some clothes. She had a great time and I loved watching her choose and find items she loved. At the same time, there was guilt about buying all of these new clothes and how that would affect the Earth. But what now? For one, I can balance this shopping spree by being even more selective about the items I purchase for myself. If you follow us on Instagram, I’ve been sharing some new-to-me/pre-loved outfits as I rebuild my work wardrobe after a long hiatus. I will also hopefully hand the majority of these new kids clothes down to other kids I know, such as my younger daughter. If not, there are other options. Which leads me to point two….

Think Outside of the Goodwill Box. You’ve probably seen the articles that Goodwill and similar charity organizations are overfilled with items that they can’t handle. Many of these unwanted items will likely be therefore sent to the landfill. So what can you do? Look for alternate sources. For example, I recently learned that a local school in my community keeps a closet for kids who need an extra tshirt, pair of pants etc throughout the day. I then remembered that I had a bag of outgrown clothes just sitting around the house. Eventually, I was planning to send them to Goodwill (because I wasn’t sure where else to turn) but decided to bring them to this school instead. The nurse happily accepted all of the items and I know they’ll be used. Will they eventually end up at a thrift store? It’s possible, and that’s ok, but I like knowing that they will also get used and appreciated a few more times before they’re done.

Eschew the traditional roses for something more local and sustainable. For many years, I happily received fresh flowers for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc. I LOVE flowers and would often treat myself to them at the store. However I recently learned about how taxing they can be the environment – even just their carbon footprint from travel – and have been trying to break the habit. For Mother’s Day, I therefore requested a plant grown by a local nursery and loved it just as much. Plus, it’ll last way longer than a bouquet of flowers. However I still also love floral arrangements and was thrilled to find local tulips at Concord Farmer’s Market last weekend. I supported a local farmer, brought some joy and beauty to my home and was gentle to the Earth. I’d call that a win!

How about you? How have you struggled and/or prevailed this month? Share with us! We’re all on this journey together. – Rachel

PS Did you hear this exciting news? Pick-up trucks are getting a makeover. Can’t wait to see these new beauties popping up all over NH!

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