Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lifestyle Reboot - June: Composting, sort of

Welcome to summer! I don't know about y'all, but I am so happy it's finally here. I could have lived without the sudden jump into 90-100 degree weather but I'll take the free time nonetheless. May's challenge was a roaring success. I'm pretty active anyway but I liked how having that mindset encouraged me to do some extra things, like having a little dance party in my living room (which had the added benefit of making me happier) or looking for opportunities to walk instead of drive. I think I missed a couple days over the month but overall it did encourage me to find some extra ways to infuse activity into my daily life. This is definitely a mindset I'll maintain, whether I'm doing a challenge or not. 

I didn't really set a specific challenge for June. I am travelling for most of the summer, which makes it tricky to be strict about a lot of the challenges. My goal instead has been on really making a concerted effort toward more sustainable life choices as much as I can, whether travelling or at home. 

I have been trying to buy as much as I can from the farmer's market and I started composting, sort of. I realized that getting it set up before my travels wasn't really feasible so I've been collecting my food scraps and dumping them in my friend's garden. I did some research and think I have an idea of what I want to set up when I'm back, but this is working for now. 

I also finally ordered a bunch of items that I've had a hard time finding locally. I bought a compostable dish brush and toothbrushes, a tea strainer for loose leaf tea instead of bags, a safety razor and some cloth bags for bulk bin items. I am just starting to try out the items so we'll see how I feel about the changes over time. I have to admit that I don't love the feeling of a wooden toothbrush but I'm hoping I'll get used to it over time. It reminds me of using those little wooden spoons for chocolate malt cups at amusement parks and sporting events, which is vaguely nostalgic but in an unfortunate way.

I'm also finding a bit of a learning curve to using the safety razor. I was a bit nervous about giving myself wicked razor burn so I watched some videos online before I tried using it and then got a little concerned about what I had gotten myself into. It's such a process! There's a prewash and a preshave and shaving cream with a brush and like 5 minutes of just making lather and then the actual shaving and then aftershave. I'm not sure I'm prepared for all that. So far I've been using it like normal and just making sure I have a lot of lather but I'll admit it has not produced the best shave ever. I'm hoping it'll get better over time. Maybe I'm making it harder than it needs to be. 

I am very happy about the bulk bin bags, though. While most grocery stores I frequent have a bulk food section, they don't really encourage you to bring your own containers. Whole Foods has signs explicitly asking you not to and Hy-Vee doesn't seem to mind but there's no way to avoid paying for the weight of the jar. The only place I've found in Lincoln or Omaha that will tare out the weight of a jar is Open Harvest in Lincoln. While I'm happy to shop there as much as I can, it's just not very feasible to always do all of my bulk bin shopping in Lincoln. So I'm opting for lightweight bags instead. It's not a perfect solution as I'm still paying for the weight of the bag but it's a step in the right direction. 

Overall, I'm feeling good about the direction things are going. It's been interesting trying to make even some of these simple changes because I feel like I'm really swimming against the tide here in Nebraska. A lot of the items I want just aren't really available. I looked for a dish brush and safety razor in several stores before just ordering them because I couldn't find any. I love that I have the internet and the option to order things but it's a little bit frustrating because I'm solving one waste problem at the expense of creating another in the form of packing material and a special delivery. the good thing is that I'm starting to see more and more options over time and I'm hoping that trend continues as interest and demand increases. 

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