A Material Girl Goes Green

Easy First Steps to Living an Eco Friendly Lifestyle

Episode Summary

Are you early in your low waste lifestyle or just beginning to consider making the lifestyle changes? This episode will talk you through some of the easiest places to start your journey!

Episode Transcription

Lesley (00:07):

So, yay. We are on episode four this week. The response to this podcast has been amazing. You guys are the best. There's just everything we thought was true, right? There's so many people out there that are just searching for some basic information on living a low waste ecofriendly lifestyle. And we're just so excited to be able to share the journey and the challenges and the wins as has I and my ignorance and Jody has gotten way past where I'm at. Um, but it's just fun to be able to, to share all of those things with, with people and help them through. Right.

Jodi (01:29):

Thanks for listening.

Lesley (01:30):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, because it can be, when we talk about it about every episode, that it can be very intimidating to go from zero and you know that you need to do something, but you're at really not, maybe you don't a little recycling or you're starting to pay attention a little bit about what waste goes out of your household. But like, how do I start, what do I do first? Just start right. Just do that step one. Um, and you'll begin to see how fun, it is, right? How fun. Finding low waste options are. Took me months, months and months and months to really begin to knuckle down and realize that this has to be a thing. This has to be a lifestyle and not just a feeling guilty, right. Then.

Jodi (02:25):

do something about it. Right. Exactly.

Lesley (02:27):

How long are you gonna keep talking about it with people and keep saying, gosh, I know I need to do that and I know I needed to do that and just do one thing. So today we're gonna be talking about some of the eco swaps. Um, so what are some of those easy first steps that you can begin to take to move in the right direction, and start living a much more low waste lifestyle. and we're gonna, we're gonna bug ms Jody for some of the, some of the specific things, cause I've started to do some of these, but obviously she is our, she is our guru. So one of the things that I have heard ms Jodi is that the kitchen and the bathroom tend to be some of the higher waste areas in a household. Is that true information or,

Jodi (03:26):

I would say that's absolutely true. Um, and those are good places to start. So, you know, you talked about the intimidation factor into starting this lifestyle change. You don't need to be perfect. You just need to start somewhere.

Lesley (03:41):

Thank you. I'm glad you don't cause I'm not,

Jodi (03:44):

yeah, we just need everyone to do a little bit and a little bit more and a little bit more and we'll get there. Right. For sure. But yeah, I would say kitchen and bathroom are the biggest waste streams from the home. Um, one place where I tend to produce a lot of trash is when I go out. Yeah. That's a thing. Yeah. So I'm the go, that's a, that's a big pitfall. So you kind of have to prepare yourself to go out too,

Lesley (04:10):

cause you don't control it. Right, right. It's easier in the kitchen in my house to keep things that I know I know I'm going to need. So it's easier to kind of stock the things I'm going to need. But when you're out and people hand you a styrofoam container and you go, Oh man, like how do you do it different the next time? And trying to come up with ways of trying not to make any more waste. Cause not everybody, not every place that's selling you products is going to necessarily be eco-friendly.

Jodi (04:43):

Right? Absolutely. So, um, where do you want to start?

Lesley (04:46):

You know what, let's start in the kitchen. I'm just gonna start asking a couple of questions, um, about things that, some things that are, I know are, are easier to start with. So grocery bags, lots of plastic grocery bags get, get, unfortunately not even recycle, they just get pitched every year. So where, that's an easy one. What are some of the way, what are some of the kinds of bags that we can use? Um, and not use those plastic bags?

Jodi (05:16):

Yeah, bags are a good place to start. So one thing in Indiana, we have a plastic bag ban ban. So it's illegal to ban the use of plastic bags in Indiana. Really? So I get that question a lot. Why don't we just ban them? That's why. So it's on us. We're on our own. So another place you see those things besides just the trash or the recycling blowing all over the place. They do, outside. Yeah, that so mine in the rivers and hate it at par. Stuck in a tree. Yeah. So that's a great place to start. Yeah. Um, one thing if you, um, do you have to use a plastic bag? You can bring that back to the store. You can recycle it in the bin right outside the,

Lesley (06:02):

I've started doing that. So all of my, I got, I have one bag hanging on our account or our cabinet that all the old grocery of anything that we have that is that filmy stuff you said all of it can go in the same place that the bags go in. That was like great news for me. That was awesome.

Jodi (06:19):

Yeah. So all those um, flexible film bags that, um, bread bags that can go back to the store. So that's one thing. Um, you want to reduce first though, right? So reduce your use, um, bring your own bags. I think everyone by now has a bunch of those like that you've acquired from somewhere. Yeah. And they're kind of plasticky it's like a plastic fabric. Um, those, use those if you have them, right. First rule is use what you've got.

Lesley (06:50):

That was one that was kind of a step for me, a little bit of a struggle cause I wanted to like I'm doing the right thing. So in my mind I'm doing the right thing. So I'm thinking, okay, what can I do? And then so I have, I have some of the bags that you're talking about, but I also have like paper bags in there and I'm like, well I don't want to get rid of those Like I'm so how many times can I use those before they're not repairable anymore? And I was several different times that I had, I had left overs. So like K-cups, that was one of my very first conscious conscious ego swaps was the K cups. Um, but I had a box of K-cups, so there was this, there was this tension between I really want to swap, but I really should use these up. And I think that's a thing.

Jodi (07:37):

It is, it is for sure, but use what you have first. It just alleviate that tension. Right now just the best thing to do is go ahead and use up what you've got. And then the other thing is don't go out and buy something fancy and ecofriendly if you already have something that can serve that purpose. So you got those bags laying around at home, just go ahead and use them. Um, if you don't have any, um, a nice option would be a natural fiber. Those will decompose one day, hundreds of years in the future when they're, when you're done with them and then they're also more washable. Okay. So the other thing is you want to wash your reusable grocery bags. Um, interesting because what I'm going to tell you next is you don't need produce bags at all. Okay. I mean, I don't use them. Some people, for some people I seem to have a real struggle with that. They want to put that produce in a bag, but I'm going to wash it and you should wash it when you get home. I don't have a, I don't use those plastic produce bags. Um,

Lesley (08:43):

See now I totally would have to get past that. It's like years and years of conditioning to put them into something before I put them with the rest of the groceries. But that's true. We wash, I mean you wash them when you get home,

Jodi (08:57):

right? Yeah. So you should wash your produce and then um, yeah, they do have reusable produce bags, so if you feel like you need that, that's fine. They have nice natural fiber mesh ones and cotton. Yeah. Ask me how I know [inaudible] those are nice. And then you can wash those too. So you want to keep bacteria off your reusable bags. Um, so just give them a little wipe down. If they're the plastic, you kind or wash them.

Lesley (09:26):

So stick like again, stick with the cottons or the bamboos or, well you said bamboo and flax and some of the natural fibers that don't take so much energy because cotton tends to take a little more energy than some of the others. It's not quite as sustainable.

Jodi (09:42):

Yeah, it does. But you know, that's another item you can thrift pretty easily. Oh, cool. Yeah, I've, I've found a lot of um, nice canvas bags and things like that at thrift stores. So you can use those for your grocery bags too. Good. Yeah. Awesome. Use something used. Use something you've already got. You don't need to go out and reach into us telling us, keep telling us.

Lesley (10:01):

Um, so I talked about the reusable K-cups. That was one of my first eco swaps. Super easy to use, love it, use a lot less coffee. Like I use it a ton. It's so much cheaper. It's kind of sh it makes me feel bad. Like it's shameful how much cheaper it is. Then all the K cups I use, cause I am a coffee drinker. So I, when I say I use a lot of K-cups, I used other lot ofK cups. Um, and it's so much cheaper to use the bag coffee. So that was a total win. And so is that like a little silicone refillable cup? Yes. So you use your own coffee and fill a little cup. Okay. I haven't tried those yet. They are the bomb. They're the bomb. I love it. I love it. And like I said, cheaper and I am cheap. So that's a good thing for me. Um, now one thing I did, I have tried, um, I haven't gotten so, and this came from in a household, I'm working with my husband too, right. So trying to do the things that are ecofriendly for me and for him and the things that I would be comfortable with and would understand the purpose of. He maybe not so much. He's not quite there yet. So the bamboo paper towels were one of those things that I decided, okay. Cause he can use some paper towels. Like he's one of the ones that grabs the edit, goes zing and they all come out. Um, and the bamboo looked similar enough and you can wash them other washable. Yeah. So you wash them. Um, and I haven't, I've only, I've only gotten through, there's like 25 or 30 on a roll look, just like paper towels. They're thicker and they're, they're like cloth, like, um, and I've washed it a couple times, but they say up to 25 or 30 times you can go out and it's so much similar to what he's used to that it's actually been, it's been brought into the household with no fuss. Pretty soon it's transition. Yes. So that was the, that was the option on, on that. And now, I don't know, I haven't had to get to the point that one is beyond salvage. So I will let everybody know how many times I'm able to wash it cause I just throw it in the hot water with my kitchen towels and air for me.

Jodi (12:12):

I just have cut up t-shirts and old towels and that's what I'm using for everything. I have my nice couple of nicer dish towels for company, but yeah. Um, that's been able to work for me. And yeah, some people ask, you know what, if you wipe up like a meat, you know, the meat package spilled. I just make sure I do a load of those that night. Yeah. Right away. Yeah. Like, I don't mind it with good. Yeah, don't let it sit around. But um, again I'm just using stuff that's already laying around.

Lesley (12:46):

well and maybe a couple of years I'll be able to get him there. Cause I've seen some, I've seen people that just store those loose rags in like a, just a little container on the kitchen counter and that's just right there for him. He's not, I would be better to be there than he is. So we'll see in a few years how far I can push him. I consider it. Um, so the plastic wrap has been a thing like what to replace the plastic wrap with that he and I can deal with. Um, because that's another thing that he can use a lot of plastic wrap if given the option. So those silicone food covers the beeswax covers and then the silicone food bag things cause they're all super cool, great options.

Jodi (13:39):

They work great. Um, again, if you just flip a plate upside down and put it on top of a container and that's like old school, lower way to rational, I know. Um, that works too. But if you're carrying something somewhere and you want it to be kind of sturdy, um, the silicone ones are nice. One thing I've found is you kind of have to try to figure out the right size so I do have a set and they, they work awesome. But if you have like a little food around the outside of the bowl you're covering, it'll kind of slip sometimes. Sure. but they're, they're nice. They're washable, reusable. the beeswax is super nice. They smell nice. They're pretty as, I've just got some of those, I'm so excited to try them. It's a cloth that's literally just covered in beeswax. So you kind of mold it with the heat of your hands around the thing you're wrapping. And it works for, um, covering a dish. But it also works for just wrapping food, like a piece of food, like a sandwich.

Lesley (14:42):

And it's, I heard it's antibacterial. The beeswax is antibacterial too, so it helps the food, fruits and things like that to not spoil this. [inaudible].

Jodi (14:51):

Yeah. Um, and then you will need to refresh the wax every so often cause you're kind of, you're going to need to rinse those in warm water. And so some of the wax will go away. Okay. So those do need to be refreshed now and again, but everything there is totally biodegradable at some point. So that's awesome.

Lesley (15:08):

Cool. Awesome. Very good. Um, and the reusable food bags now one day, not today. We can always, we're not gonna have time, but we're going to have to talk about the difference between plastic and silicone. Okay. And why the one is better than the other and how it breaks down and all that kind of stuff. So we'll chemistry. Yeah, we'll have to talk that, talk that through.

Jodi (15:27):

Those bags are great though. They're washable. They seal really, really well. Um, and it's nice if you do like food prepping and you're doing a lot at a time. They're very stackable. Um, you know, I also just use an old peanut butter jar, but that takes up a lot of space. So, um, you see again for what works for your lifestyle, use what you've got that those, those are a nice option. Totally washable. And even I think in the dishwasher it says,

Lesley (15:56):

awesome. You haven't gotten any of those yet, but I, it's on my list for sure. Um, okay, let's go through some of the daily but daily kit, right? What are some of the things that we, we need as we're out and about in our day that really makes a big difference in plastic consumption,

Jodi (16:16):

right? Yeah. So, um, the outside world, like you said, is the place where we lose control over best intention sometimes. So, um, I always have my water bottle. That's the easy one. I've always got my coffee mug cause I need that. Um, and I, amen. You know, I'm not into um, denying yourself, but if, if you make a little rule that you're not going to get coffee unless you brought your mug that might cure it pretty bad. That'll help you remember real quick. So I'm coffee, my water bottle, I always carry, um, some bamboo utensils because for me, plastic utensils are just as bad as plastic straws. I see them all over on the ground. I was.

Lesley (17:01):

there more. There's more, right. I mean, a class plastic straw is bad, but it's one with the kits. The kits kill me because people use the fork out of the kids and then the spoon and the knife get pitched. Oh, the disposable cans.

Jodi (17:15):

Yeah. And it's wrapped in more plastic. I know. It drives me nuts. It's, yeah, it's uh, it's a pretty bad one. And there are small plastic items, but there's a lot of energy that goes into making those things. Shipping 'em and um, they're not necessarily, they're used for a minute and then just thrown away.

Lesley (17:35):

And some of them aren't used at all to utensil. Yeah. Probably won't get used hardly at all.

Jodi (17:40):

Right. So, um, there are so many cool options for to go.

Lesley (17:45):

That's an old vintage thing is what I've found. So I've been looking for fun and I go real fancy. Cause I figure if that's, you know, just for fun. Um, vintage silverware. so like knives and then I have, I'm, I'm gonna make, hear me say this, so I do it. Um, I'm gonna make a little wrap for them. So yeah. Find a vintage something vintage shirt fabric or something that I, that I can find it. Yeah.

Jodi (18:14):

Personalize it.

Lesley (18:16):

Fancy is just fun. There's just something I've always, I'm the little girl that used to drink milk out of a, a champagne flute if I was allowed to. So yeah, that fun, fancy,

Jodi (18:25):

make it special for yourself. For sure. Yeah. So, um, and then I always carry a napkin and I use cloth napkins at home too. People have this idea, it's only for special occasions. Just use them, right. For sure. Just use what you've got. I carry a bandana with me and that you can double as like, uh, you can wrap up leftover food in it. You can wipe up a spill with it. You can use it as a napkin, you can tie up your reusable utensils in it. It, you'll end up finding so many purposes. You'll be glad you, yeah. Yeah.

Lesley (18:58):

That's awesome. That's awesome. Um, okay. So, and again, this isn't, I haven't been doing this as long as you have. So help me, are there restaurants that will fill your container like in, like, so if it's, if I'm somewhere I don't even know where, but I'm going to get lunch and I have a container. Can I tell them I don't really want styrofoam. Can you put it in this?

Jodi (19:28):

You can. Um, so we get into health codes a little bit here and there are, there are some grayer areas because they just weren't written for this right, for sure. For sure. And I always am respectful and if the business wishes not to do that. I understand. Um, so for example, if you are at a salad bar and you want to use your own container and it's okay with the management, that's, that's um, one option. We're so used to refilling, you know, you give your coffee mug, right? That's standard. So I'd like to expand that out to other types of containers.

Lesley (20:10):

Are you seeing that that's becoming a little more acceptable with the restaurant management? And we're.

Jodi (20:16):

not yet quite yet. There are a few places, especially around where myself and my coworkers tend to go that are [inaudible] to us now. So I'm, that's my mission.

Lesley (20:30):

But um, but that goes to kind of what we're all gonna have to be doing. Right. And you write, continue to ask, make it the norm for. So rather than us struggling, trying to figure out how to do the right, the restaurants that were paying for the food should figure, try to figure it out too. Right, right, right. Yeah. Some of that off on them and see, especially like you said, if you frequent that often and you're, you make friends with them and you're talking to them and they understand your objective, hopefully there's something that can be done.

Jodi (21:06):

Right. Um, I know that if you, if you're in a situation where your container, um, you're using your own container, it definitely can't like go back into the kitchen area of, of the, um, facility. So, um, I bring a collapsible silicone like container with a lid in my purse and my to go kit. And then if I have leftovers, Oh, I put my own food in there. You can't send that back to the kitchen and ask them to box it up that way. So that's where the line is for that.

Lesley (21:40):

Now, could you ask them, like if you're getting a sandwich rather than putting it, would they put it on a paper plate and give it to you and then you could take it and put it in your container?

Jodi (21:50):

And I do that stuff all the time, so I'm whatever. And it takes a little time too. And like studying, you know, the different places and what they do. So you might get some styrofoam you don't want the first time and then you know, the second time. So, um, yeah, I'll ask if I'm getting a pastry, just put it on a napkin. I don't need anything else. Right. Yeah. Um, I don't need. If there's something that comes in a plastic or styrofoam container that I could just as easily put on a napkin and put in my own container, I'll just ask for that. And then again for leftovers once you know the kind of container that they're using, if it's not something you really prefer to use, um, every kitchen has aluminum foil in the back. Oh yeah. So I'll ask if they can just,

Lesley (22:40):

I knew you'd have good ideas,

Jodi (22:42):

ask if they can just wrap it in a piece of foil and then that way it can be recycled that foil.

Lesley (22:47):

Awesome. Good. And then one of the other things that I have done, I have gotten is the, reusable straw. I have one of the metal collapsible ones that just fits perfectly in my purse and um, but there's lots of options now with that as well.

Jodi (23:01):

That's a popular one.

Lesley (23:02):

Yeah, for sure. Bamboo, they have silicone ones that kind of all fold up into their little container. Um, so easy, super easy. Again, it takes two seconds, keep, keep it in your purse and then refuse the straw. Cause I've made that mistake a couple times and I've had to send the straw back. I'm like, Oh yeah, shoot, forgot to tell you that. Don't need this, that you can take that back. and yeah, so that, that's one of the items that I have started with Bathroom we talked about. That's another high waste place. What are some of the options that we have in the bathroom for not being as wasteful?

Jodi (23:43):

Yeah. So look at your packaging. Um, try to buy the least amount of packaging possible. Um, and then there's a lot of good options coming out for plastic free stuff or for, um, the bathroom. So like your shampoos and conditioners are coming in bars now. They have some really good ones. They have like toothpaste tablets or powders that are in, you know, glass or metal containers. Those are super cool.

Lesley (24:13):

because we talked about last time that the toothpaste tube is not recyclable. The deodorant bar, the plastic not recyclable. So naked is really important in the bathroom, right? In lots of different ways.

Jodi (24:26):

Yes, you could say that.

Lesley (24:27):

Yeah. They got the naked deodorant. I know. I've looked for some of the naked shampoo and conditioners. I'm not following, I love yet, although they say it takes a little while of using that bar to get your hair used to it. So I'm still, I'm still in review on it.

Jodi (24:45):

Right. And people are super picky about their personal care products. I just have to try a few and find something you like, but more and more stuff is coming in plastic free packaging now, which is really cool.

Lesley (24:57):

That is huge. I mean, especially in the bath, it seems like the bathroom stuff is, is progressing a lot quicker than some of the other things. There's brands have really kind of grabbed onto that. And I see, I think it was Colgate, we did a few posts in the Instagram, a little while ago about some new bathroom products that are, that are eco-friendly.

Jodi (25:18):

Yeah. Yeah, the plastic free razors. Now there's a bunch of different kinds out.

Lesley (25:24):

Really. So [inaudible] I mean other than this, like I went and got a steel stainless steel. So this is, this is a,

Jodi (25:31):

yeah, there's a company called leaf now that looks a little more like what you're used to with a disposable kind of flexible razor. But it is ecofriendly I use put like a plant. I'm assuming it's, I think it's metal. Okay. Yeah. And then you use the reusable blades.

Lesley (25:48):

Oh, gotcha. Yup. Cool. Awesome. Very good. Um, so you and I talked a little bit about when I started all of this, I started doing what I call basically an inventory worksheet. I am a process systems person and I can not do anything in my life without getting around that. so it felt to me, I talked about changing my diet when I went more low carb, keto friendly and I did an inventory of food, right? So as I'm thinking about going through this and making these changes, doing what made the most sense and made the biggest impact in my life just made sense. So we don't have time to talk about the inventory worksheet, but what I'm going to do is, do a graphic in Instagram that breaks down some of the questions that I ask myself and kind of how I measured, the amount of way I looked at quantity. I also looked at size, um, and just kind of kept track for a little while on what I was using the most waste, where I was using the most waste. That's our household start. Yeah. Yeah. So that's what I did, which is what took me to that starting with the K cups. Cause like I said, I am a coffee fanatic for sure. So thanks for joining us today. We so appreciate you listening to the material girl goes green podcast. Um, again, make sure you check out the Instagram for all of the, the informational sheets and we will always do a summary graphic sheet at the end of every podcast so you have an easy to use, simple guide on all of the things that we talked about during a particular podcast. So thank you so much ms Jody.

Jodi (27:36):

and thank you.

Lesley (27:37):

Yeah, absolutely. And we will see you or talk to you next time.


Jodi (27:36):

and thank you.

New Speaker (27:37):

Yeah, absolutely. And we will see you or talk to you next time.