5 Key Sustainable Changes ...but Mother must I?

Oct 10, 2019

By Sam Rupel

Our culture is built on simple solutions, and over time simplicity has been defined in single use plastics. But now, we are being hit in the face with the need to change these habits for ourselves and for future generations. Many of our examples leading the way as the face of the zero waste movement are clean cut perfection. Being both chic and zero waste at the same time seems unattainable and scary. It is. Well, at first it is, but these challenges become habits before you know it. Every little change you make shows others that they can do it too, and together we can make the biggest difference.

Getting started, maybe you feel like diving straight into a month long zero waste challenge, maybe you just want to start thinking about reducing some of the plastic in your life and buy some bamboo utensils - both are valid starting points. Either way, you must listen to your Mother (Earth).

5 Key Sustainable Changes You Can Consider:


  • Reuse what you already have. Wash and reuse ziploc bags, plastic utensils and cups, etc.
  • Plastic and glass containers (yogurt, pasta sauce, etc) can be used as tupperware or storage containers.
  • Dirty plastic produce or bread bags can be used to pick up after your pet.
  • Pro tip: Check out The Wild Minimalist for great blogs and a cute online shop. You can’t compete with how cute this is:
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  • Buy in bulk - with reusable containers
  • Make bringing and using your reusable items a habit (water bottle, fork, spoon, knife, straw, cup, bag, etc)
  • Start to say no every once and a while to canned drinks and plastic wrapped snacks - your wallet and your body will thank you anyway.
  • Find a shampoo bar that suits you, use bar body soap to reduce all of those plastic pump containers.
  • Pro tip: Eating your ice cream out of a waffle cone saves the planet.


  • Every city is different - Check your city website to see what goes in what bin.
  • Pro tip: The sticker on top of the recycling containers can be too small and not too clear. Print yourself and your work a little reminder sheet with photos  so there is no question of where goes what.
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  • Everyone hates compost because it is confusing what you can put in it, it smells, and it is a breeding ground for little bugs.
  • However, it’s fantastic for diverting waste from the landfill and it’s extra good for the planet! Hopefully you either have a bin provided by the city for organic waste or a home garden you can use your fresh homemade dirt in.
  • Pro tip: Keep your compost in the freezer, it will keep it clean, it won’t smell and there will be no bugs. I repeat: NO. BUGS.


  • Try making your own cleaning products, personal care products, and fun drinks.
  • Find recipes that make you excited to cook and spend quality time in the kitchen with your family and friends. It makes for great social time and helps reduce waste in your shopping and eating habits.
  • Pro tip: Check out the blogs and vlogs. You do not have to reinvent the wheel, there are plenty of chic humans who do these things on the daily and can help you find a solution (pun intended) that will work for you.

My advice for taking steps that you can maintain in your life is to go slowly - make sustainable changes and start these conversations with the people you spend time with. So many people are confused about first or next steps and are embarrassed to bring it up.

Go check out cute Zero Waste Instagram-ers, they will provide you with daily inspiration and share on your feeds when you do make choices that benefit Mama Earth.

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