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Life without Plastic

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beginnings

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I've only just begun, to live in the crunchy lifestyle...


Gateway Crunchiness
I do wonder when I started to morph into a "crunchy granola chick" my mother refers to me. My parents are pretty mainstream. I'm assuming that the genesis of my "crunchiness" started when my parents started homeschooling my brother and I for quality of education reasons (the County School District was and is one of the worst in the country. I've found that once you join one minority group you find out more connected groups exist. Such it is with homeschooling.

Call the Midwife!
One step on my journey to become the Little Urban Greenie was meeting my future midwife for my daughter in one of our homeschool groups. I was her babysitter, she went to my church (I'm a Mormon, so church is a big part of my life and will come up periodically), and she carried her babies in ringsling at the group activities. Through her I learned about subculture granola stuff: green smoothies, babywearing, breastfeeding to 3 years old, having babies at home on purpose, and what a doula is.


Tightwad to Granola
Another step was reading The Tightwad Gazette series by Amy Dacyczyn and learning about menstrual cups and cloth pads, along with other money saving tips that can also be great for more eco-friendly practices. Oddly enough my mom had these. She's not much of a tightwad though. I was gifted them by my mom and I still use them when I need money saving tips. I ordered my cloth pads off of Etsy in my senior year of high school and my first cup in my freshman year of college.



Decisions, Decisions...
No more changes were really implemented until after I got married and we decided to have our daughter. Then things started to accelerate! I watched "The Business of Being Born", recommended by my daughter's midwife. We decided on a home birth and cloth diapers shortly afterwards. We got pregnant and end up being able to have our daughter in my childhood bedroom with my daughters midwife. No complications, no "pain", and fairly quick labour.

We used disposable diapers for the 1st couple of weeks to help adjust to parenthood, but I feel that it was unnecessary and wasteful precaution. Cloth diapers are easy enough and babies get clothing dirty frequently enough that you still have laundry regardless. Our experience has been disposables leek #2 more often and cloth leek #1 more.

As I've learned more from researching, we've implemented more ideas over the last couple of years. We've been eliminating plastic for health reasons and switch into more reusable items made of glass, cast iron, or wood, sometimes stainless steel. Our daughter's only plastic toys are stuffed animals (polyester is plastic too). I tried to buy used or organic natural fiber clothing for health, earth friendly, and economic reasons. We buy or get hand-me-downs (I adore hand-me-downs!), antique for better quality, earth-friendly, economic reasons, and aesthetics. We unplug appliances and other electronics when we don't use them (We use the fridge, so it stays plugged in.)

We save money and are healthier for it. I volunteered for a local organization for the growing season last year, called "The Green Urban Lunchbox". I volunteered an hour a week, learned how to garden organically, and got my pick of one third of the harvest. I also pick up free food from our local branch of Food, Not Bombs. My group just hands out unwanted /"expired"/trash groceries, other groups cook the food and serve it. Volunteers put a jar for gas money. It's a great community builder to collect food that would be trashed and share it with whoever shows up. By the way, I'm somewhat of a freegan, so I like free stuff, keeping things out of the trash, and reducing consumerism by avoiding buying new things when I can.

We bought our first house with less than a tenth of an acre. It was built right after World War 1 and has considerable charm, right space for our family needs now, close to husband's work and public transportation, and downtown. We are planning on urban homesteading it, making it more zero waste and sustainable, and just improving it, because you know, it's old. I like to follow checklists, so my plan is to do different phases toward becoming more sustainable and zero waste. This is our journey towards our 1-2 acre homestead with permits to get, stuff to upcycle, and learning all along the way. After all, we've only just begun...

The Little Urban Greenie

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