On the path to reducing waste

Published on October 13, 2016

I believe that positive change is more likely to stick when it's manageable and not too overwhelming. Trying to green your entire life, all at once, is neither easy nor recommended. Making small changes gradually over time is the way to go.

For example, throwing out all your plastic food storage so that you can replace it with glass or stainless steel is both wasteful (perhaps use it until it wears out and then replace one piece at a time, or recycle it if possible) and very expensive . The majority of folks don't have the kind of disposable income to replace everything at once, and while they'd like to be more eco-friendly and use better options, often times finances, time restraints and priorities come into play, and as they should.

One small change I've made over the last year is switching to a bamboo toothbrush. A video I watched by the family run company Brush with Bamboo  solidified my choice. The owner speaks about plastic toothbrushes, and brings up a few salient points; to paraphrase.. 'Did you ever consider the environmental impact caused by your toothbrush?... all of the plastic toothbrushes you've ever used in this lifetime, still exist... all of the plastic toothbrushes ever created, since the 1930's, still exist."

That really stuck with me.

It's recommended that you get a new toothbrush every 6 months. I'm 40, which means I've gone through approximately 80 toothbrushes so far in my lifetime. Consider all the people on the planet who use plastic toothbrushes. Where are those old toothbrushes now? In landfills, or in our waterways, the oceans, washing up on beaches...

 

Sometimes I'll personally make changes in our family first, then get my family on board once I'm convinced. Well I'm convinced, and the other day I visited Pomme Natural Market and picked up bamboo toothbrushes for Eran and our girls Sophie & Lila. I also picked up Eco-Dent floss. It's packaged in a cardboard container, rather than those plastic containers the majority of floss comes packaged in.

 

Whenever we visit our dentist for a cleaning, we are always offered a 'goodie bag', containing a new toothbrush, floss (usually only about 3 metres in a plastic container), a small toothpaste sample, some reading material and it all comes in a branded plastic bag. For a few years now I've been refusing the bag as it just always seemed so wasteful, but I was still accepting the tooth brush and floss. Not anymore. It's such a small change, but it really does add up. When it's the girls turn to go to the dentist next, we'll refuse the 'goodie bag', but I will let them choose a toy from the treasure chest (I can't be the no-fun mom all the time). I'll give them their new compostable bamboo toothbrushes, we'll have a conversation about why, and it will just become a part of their normal, just like cloth snack bags are, and putting away their own laundry.

I think it's good to recognize that my normal is likely different than your normal and that's okay. My present normal is different from my normal of 5 years ago. That's okay too. We are all in this together, and there is no judgement. We do the best that we can with what we know and have at that time.

 

I believe that we can make a change in this world if we collectively make small choices, that have a big impact over all. I believe that one person can make a difference. I want to teach our children that they can make a difference. This is starting small and is easy. It's just toothbrushes and floss, but it really does have a big impact. Imagine if you make one small chance a month, or every six months. You're always moving forward and making progress.

Posted in Family Life, Green Living


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