Low Impact Living

Low Impact Living | Indie Spirit by Augustin Ra

In college, I did a transition to having a sustainable lifestyle. At first, it was overwhelming especially since my aim was to go full zero waste and it became more overwhelming and frustrating that I was living here in the Philippines. However, this mindset changed when I started following accounts on Instagram owned by Filipinos and joining FB groups with the same mission. Somehow, I felt okay. But again, there were days that it was impossible because I was living in a province that doesn't offer that many sustainable practices. 

Despite the fears of not being the perfect zero waste, trying is so much better than doing nothing for ourselves and the environment. Our little steps turn into habits that would turn into a lifestyle so don't be afraid to start and just do it the imperfect way. 

So I list down the things that I do almost daily to sustain this lifestyle. 

Old but gold advice: Bring your water bottle.

I am aware of how much water I drink throughout the day especially I also need coffee to start my day. So to avoid the disposable plastic bottles, I always bring an insulated tumbler with me or any water bottle depending on where I will be going. I've been doing this since I was a little kid but I wasn't aware of the help I was doing for the environment. I was just doing this to be thrifty. Why should I spend money on a resource that I could avail for free from water fountains or dispensers? I used the available tumblers at home until I switched to an insulated tumbler so I could still drink a hot fresh brewed coffee at work. 

Maybe A Tumbler of Joe

One thing that I love about at home is our coffee maker! When I bought my first coffee maker in college, I was so ecstatic that I'd be rewarding myself with brewed coffee. Back then, the only reward I could treat myself when it comes to caffeinated beverages was going to Starbucks or to any local cafe and that's like a once in a blue moon thing. So what would I do daily to have my caffeine boost? To drink instant coffee that was in sachets. I still do this when I can't bring coffee from home because I stayed somewhere else but at least, imagine the number of days in a week where I rely on the bulk ground coffee beans that I bought and compare it to the everyday waste that I'd accumulate within a week if I was still drinking instant coffee. Then, I'd use the ground coffee beans as fertilizer. 

The Tote Life Chose Me

I have to confess something. I am a tote girl! I prefer tote bags over any leather bags for work or doing an errand. They're so chic and convenient. To go along with being a tote girl, I also bring another foldable tote bag just in case I need to carry a lot of stuff from the office or doing grocery shopping. Some admire me for always being ready with this kind of stuff and through this, I can refuse disposable plastic bags. One Christmas time, I gave away foldable tote bags to my colleagues and until now, they're still using them. If some can't do the switch, maybe we have to do it for them. 

Reusables All The Way

One thing that people couldn't do the switch is the inconvenience brought by bringing reusables, especially for just-in-case situations. How many times have we forgotten to bring our reusable straws, cutleries, or whatever reusable we weren't able to bring and just remembered it when we're already in a situation? Guilty, huh? One thing that made this easy for me was to have the perfect reusable bag that I could carry with me everyday which turned out to be a gift from my boyfriend's manager. It's so thin and easy to pack which makes it so convenient but I'm not saying that you have to look for the perfect reusable to get the convenience that I am saying. Use what you already have and do the magic. That's what I'm trying to say. 

I always bring packed lunch with me and cutleries to work. For every event that has food with it, I'm always ready with my reusables. That's why I'm so happy with this transition because I don't have to deal with trash after eating. I'll only have to wash them and they're ready for use again. 

The common reusable item that I receive from small local businesses are canvas bags and they're so useful that I use them weekly for my clothes if I have to stay at my boyf's place and they're also used as laundry bags after. Now, I am hoping that you could see the convenience that I experience with this lifestyle. It doesn't seem inconvenient now, huh?

Getting Ready

I think one of the most focused areas on switching to zero waste was my bath essentials. I'm not entirely zero waste in this area yet because some of the items I need are pretty expensive like a safety razor but I'll get there slowly. However, I'm already using a shampoo and conditioner bar for my hair. I've always been a soap bar user since then for my body so bottled body washes weren't much of a thing but there was a time that I used them and later on, stopped restocking them for the environment.

I use reusable cotton pads to clean my face with toner. These cotton pads were from two large face towels, cut them into pieces, and sew the edges. I've done this three years ago and until now, I'm still using them. For three years, I didn't spend to buy cotton rounds. My boyfriend also has a set of cotton pads from the same face towel that I'm telling you about a while ago and he uses them every day. 

As for my lips, I have a plantable vegan lip balm. It's covered with plantable kraft paper. I don't know what plant it would be if I'm done with it but I'm happy with this eco-friendly purchase. 

Low Impact Living | Indie Spirit by Augustin Ra

I have a menstrual cup, washable pads, and cloth liners for the monthly visit. During the lockdown, I didn't have to worry if I'll be running out of stock of my period necessities considering the hoarding that people did that time. My mom and cousin also have their sets of washable pads and liners which I gave to them as gifts so they'd experience the wonders of using reusable during our periods. 

Think first. 

We should ask ourselves why do we end up having so much waste. Maybe because we weren't able to tell the server that we don't need plastic straws or cutleries. We didn't bring a reusable bag or we weren't aware that the things we bought could fit inside our bags. There are so many default actions that we do that we forget our goal of achieving a low waste life or maybe even just a day. The key to this is being mindful, planning everything out, and ask yourself if there's an eco-friendly alternative to what you're about to do. 

What are the small steps that you've done to achieve a low impact lifestyle? 

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