Betsy D’s Sweet 16: Fastest Ways to Make Less Trash and Break Free from Consumer Traps

Have you been itchin’ to incorporate a new green routine into your daily regime?

Or maybe you are starting to realize and question your overall reliance on the government or the corporate/consumer system?

Sometimes you just need exactly the right change. One that fits your life, helps your life become more sustainable, and will also be that next step reduces that reliance on corporations a bit more.

So you totally want to feel like you’re making a difference. And then suddenly you’re too busy to switch up your routine, or the relatives are coming to town, you’re emotionally overwhelmed, etc., so being “greener” will have to wait.  I hear ya!

The weird fact is that you are actually being bombarded and overwhelmed by exactly the same systems that you are trying to avoid or become less reliant on, from single-use disposable plastics to the source of your food and medicine.

So basically, give yourself a break, but double down on your sustainability and health efforts. It will actually lighten your load so you can start feeling better on a deeper level in life.

This list will help you up the ante a bit anyways!

Here’s a condensed yet comprehensive list of ways to green your life on a deeper level, and become that much more independent/happy immediately. Choose any number of these suggestions to start acting greener and more independent, and feeling better- NOW! Some are juicier than others. Dig in and enjoy…

1) You’ve got to DECIDE a few things.

Decide (seriously).
This may take some time, or it could be instantaneous!

  • That you love yourself and your mission. Declare it. Acknowledge and take the time to move through your negative past experiences and emotions to get there, if needed. Be patient with the process, and love yourself for where you are on your own journey. The right professional guidance can help.
  • Truly decide that your life’s higher mission, your  feelings, and your values are more important than the needs of society’s “machine” (you know- the one most people work and live for?)
  • Decide to start “saying no” to things you don’t want to do. Aside from parental, health, and safety measures/activities, this could be nearly anything, really. This starts to clear your time for your own agenda.
  • Decide that you are the one in control of your life- you can definitely make things happen the way you choose, or at least more in harmony. Check out the Happiness Development book club to get just the right motivation you need! This is the secret golden ticket.

 2) BELIEVE in the healing powers of plants

Break away from reliance on Big Pharma and the medical industry. Take control of your own health! Believe in natural medicine, plant medicine, and the benefits and healing properties of plants and foods. There is so much foods and medicine around you, it’s not even funny.

This is a forgotten brand of information- in the “olden days”, this type of knowledge was passed down in families and understood as the norm. And you know what? People kept themselves and their families healthy from common ailments for centuries with this information. Before chemical western medicine, doctors carried around all kinds of plant medicines in their medicine bags.

Stock a medicinal first aid kit. Understand remedies for general ailments, or have a source (even a trusted book) you can to go to quickly, that you will just trust and say yes to. Check out our herbal remedies section of the book club for some seriously awesome, personally vetted herbal remedy book options. Find a comfortable balance between western medicine (AKA “your real doctor”) and holistic healers/natural remedies. Choose an MD with an open mind about natural remedies.
 

3) Get clean without toxins.

When it comes to cleaning, believe what you hear from trustworthy sources about the cleaning and healing powers of essential oils, vinegar salt, and baking soda… they are super simple to make, and have strong cleaning actions.

Most commercial in-home cleaners and room fresheners are actually quite toxic. Do you want your family inhaling the carcinogenic, nervous system disrupting chemicals forever? Look for the book called “Green Goes with Everything” over in the book club for lots about the dangers of commercial cleaning products.

You can clean just about anything with vinegar and baking soda! Vinegar too stinky? Add essential oils and up the cleaning power! Skip most cleaning poisons and save a ton of cash with these ingredients. Here’s a secret they don’t want you to know: many essential oils are disinfectants, and very effective ones at that!

 4) Realize that the food you eat affects every aspect of your life.

What you eat everyday completely affects the way you feel, and how available you are to show up as your biggest self in the world. To make more clear choices and bigger impact, start thinking about changing your eating habits to support your mental and physical health, and your bigger mission.

Even if you don’t really understand how and why food will make or break you, trust it. This will change your whole existence for the better! Obtain more proactive food habits for better mental health, and to increase your ability to deal with the world.

Ditch packaged food as much as possible, other than high quality healing foods. Most packaged food contains the cheapest bottom-of-the-barrel ingredients. So opt out from crappy food in a hurry. You won’t be losing anything. You have your whole life to reclaim!

Food is so important to showing up as your true self and following through with your sustainability ambitions, that a big part of this website is here to show you how to get happy through food choices! Check out the page on this website titled “Get Happy”  for a ton of info to get you moving on your new understanding.

 5) Assume the worst about the food and products you buy, and try to buy better.

From GMO and pesticide/herbicide issues, to who grew your food and how they were treated, buying and eating as local as possible is best for many reasons. Someone once explained non-organics to me this way: suppose that I picked up an apple, or a head or lettuce or whatever veggie or fruit you like. Then right in front of you, I sprayed it with Roundup, and let it dry- or maybe even bake it in the sun for a week. Then I wash it off, and hand it to you with a hopeful smile… would you feel comfortable eating it?

Go organic as much as possible, and definitely adhere to the “dirty dozen/clean 15” list of produce to always buy organic. Always keep learning and looking for hopeful options. Move away from that corporate, low quality food trap as fast as possible, but even one food at a time if needed.

Organic foods are not the end of the conversation, of course. It’s important to go organic to avoid a ton of toxins and GMOs, but there is still plenty to be concerned about with organics. From sustainability and forced labor issues to what DOES get sprayed on your organic produce. That’s another conversation.

 6) Go super low waste in your food options.

Eat mostly veggies that don’t come in packages, and bring your own reusable produce bags to the store. Bring your own grocery bags too, of course! Focus the remainder of your diet on foods from the bulk section, which happen to be some of the healthiest foods around anyways! You can bring your own bags and containers to the bulk section as well- do it!  For protein, focus on raw organic nuts for soaking, a few specific grains and beans (not wheat and corn) and organic humane meats if you’re a carnivore.


Simple rule: just avoid as much packaging and single use plastic as possible all throughout the store.

Never buy meats with styrofoam or plastic trays. Ask the meat counter clerk to wrap you a fresh cut or wrap it in butcher paper. Even better- bring your own reusable containers and have your meat and cheeses put in those! They can make a weight adjustment for your container so you won’t be paying for it.  Yep! They will do this!

By the way, you can sign up for my free 10 part email coaching  to really reevaluate and reduce your grocery and life related trash output! It’s over in the sidebar on desktop by the blog post list, or waayyy down toward the bottom on your mobile device.

 7) For meats- go local, of course.

Look into sources for local meats where you know the farmer or rancher. The lifelong tortures that are likely to go on in factory farms and feedlots are too much to bear. Then the traveling and up to the moment of death mistreatment and terror. This could happen on any ranch. Be sure to get the real story on how your meat was raised and handled. By the way, unfortunately the label “organic” doesn’t cover the treatment of the animal. But none-the-less, go organic local and humane as much as possible, and skip purchasing meats that you know were fed with GMOs. If you feel like you can’t find the effort to research a rancher or farmer near you, check out Certified Humane for a great start!

 8) Start by shunning styrofoam and straws.

Seriously- never buy anything with styrofoam ever again. When you buy electronics, make sure to recycle any surprise blocks. Most styrofoam besides #7 blocks is not recyclable at all. You cannot recycle styrofoam to-go ware, cups or meat trays from the deli, so stop accepting them in your life, starting today. Each one of those lasts for 500 years or forever. Is that the legacy you want to leave after a meal?

Never use another disposable straw, and ween yourself away from the concept altogether.  Did you know that the united states  throws away enough plastic straws to wrap around the Earth 2.5 times EVERY DAY, according to recent calculations? Or think of it as filling Yankee Stadium with just straws, 9 times every year. And that’s just the US alone.

Bring your own reusable straws and takeout containers, including cups.  NO drinks in styrofoam or disposable plastic cups! Styrofoam and plastic takeout=NO! Tell the owner or manager that you would love to see more sustainable take-out wares. Namely, recycled, compostable cardboard.

 9) Be mindful with your electronics packaging.

When you purchase electronics and end up with block foam, take your foam to the recycle center. And while you’re at it, definitely recycle the protective plastic bags around them, too. It will probably require a special trip to a drop-off location. Check earth911.org to find your recycling options. Styrofoam and bags DO NOT go in with your regular recycle- like, ever.
When your old electronics, cord, chargers, etc die, recycle most old electronics at Best Buy! They take darn near anything. Or check with earth911 above.

 10) THIS IS BIG, and gets swept under the rug too often….

Stop buying things made in countries where you question the labor practices. Seriously take a moment and re-think how inexpensive some things are. How are they so cheap? Who gets jipped to make it cost so

Cheaply made items usually involve underpaid workers.

little? Earth and animals? The workers? You? Avoid companies that have been known for using forced labor to manufacture their products.

Do a quick internet search- include the words “Forced labor and…[any popular brand name here]”  and see what comes up for each brand. Download the free buycott app or a similar one that tells you more about the sourcing and ethics behind your purchases. And come back to the GreenBiz Directory in April, 2018 For a world of ethical shopping options!

11) Stop buying everything new, and use what already exists.

Can you even imagine how much great “STUFF” there is in this world? Lets get to using it up! This step will take you far in reducing your carbon footprint, and you can stop feeling like you’re supporting other critical issues like forced labor as well.

  • Get things second hand- not just clothes! Think furniture, refurbished electronics and cellphones, building supplies, boats, cars, animals, books… it’s out there. If not nearby you, it’s on the internet- go get it!
  • Reuse and fix things-even when it costs more. There are awesome specialists out there that will fix your everything… from lamps to boots and lawnmowers, to sofas and cameras. “Just for fun”, do an internet search for lamp repair, cellphone repair, clock repair, and whatever fun thing you can think of.
  • Save money and reduce the need to store “another thing”, by arranging to lend and borrow things that you don’t need very often from a friend- instead of both of you buying your own. Think of  a hedge trimmer, a leaf blower, rakes and other seasonal tools for example. You could really, truly team up with a neighbor and share all of your tools- even lawn mowers!
  • If not from friends, you can still borrow! Look for tool libraries and other resource libraries like ones for arts and crafts in your area.

The end goal with all of these options? One less lawnmower (or anything) being manufactured, maintained, and eventually heading for the landfill/ocean, and so much more.

On the surface, it may not seem like it will make a huge environmental impact to not not just buy a brand new one, or to not borrow from a friend and just store your own. But when you get into the life of a carpet, lawnmower, rake, etc. It’s pretty obvious.

You’re actually going to be avoiding the mining for the metal, the manufacture, the international transport (gas/emissions), the storage cost per square foot of all the stuff you own put together, then add in lifetime maintenance and disposal. There are 2 lessons dedicated to lending and trading in my free modern sustainability coaching. Sign up for that in the sidebar or at the very bottom of the screen, depending on your Device!

Imagine what manufacturing and waste we could reduce if lots of people were to start sharing bigger things and buying second hand instead of brand new. This could make a huge positive environmental impact.

 12) Vote with your dollar, & do your homework- support ethical companies with quality products.

Buy quality things that you LOVE.

Make sure that you’re not just giving your money right back to evildoing corporations that destroy the Earth, and mistreat animals and people. They are just forcing you to pay back into the system you’re trying to avoid.

Buy from companies that don’t employ forced labor and general Earth destroying practices, or inhumane factory farming. Sources that are not linked to the bigger evil doing companies and corporations, but instead are trying to send a different message and plant new seeds in the world of hope and love and sustainability.

Sounds pretty hard right? Here’s where the teaser for the crowning glory of this website comes in…

But seriously, this is our huge mission!

Half of this website is here to host an AMAZING GreenBiz directory, which will be an invaluable resource for this! This resource will be free for all to use- because this is so important, and this is such a tangled mess. So check back around Earth Day to give it a whirl!

 13) Pay off your credit cards and debts asap.

Talk about literally paying right back into the system and staying stuck in the corporate trap! The longer the debts linger, the harder it is to pay them off, as interest keeps compounding. Then you have to work harder for the man, just to get the things you are naturally entitled to in life.

Sorry for the cheesy graphic, but it’s true!

Credit cards are a key component in corporate entrapment. They keep you owing money to big, powerful banks, they keep you spending, and they keep you working to pay them off.

Not to mention they can cause a lot of stress in various areas of your life, depleting your energy and personal reserves. All of this makes it harder and harder to get to your personal mission in life and stick to it! Take the time to reassess your spending, and cut back on and eliminate dining out (which is hurting your health anyways) and other unneeded or frivolous money spending long enough to get your credit cards paid off- then keep only one for die-hard emergencies.

 14) Back to basics. Compost yard and kitchen scraps, recycle, and learn to use less water and energy.

Check out our FAQ section to get started fast! Make your house energy efficient, seal up the air gaps in the windows, doors and outlets, etc. and look into the best alternative energy source for your situation. Also check out the “Green Your Life section of our book club!

But also… composting! A vital aspect to zero waste living. So much of our “trash” is actually compostable food waste. Yet it lands in the landfill and creates global warming. Food and yard waste should be dealt with separately from landfill bound garbage. We should be turning our food and yard waste back into nutrient dense dirt to grow more food with, aka COMPOSTING.

15) Find alternative transportation sources anytime possible.

Play with the idea.
To keep yourself thinking outside the box, really dive into this one. It’s worth the thought to just even take a moment and make a “pretend” carpooling or alternative transportation plan.

Just for fun- to make you think, consider how it would actually work, and how you would actually use a different form of transportation if you had to… It just opens your mind to possibility. Whether you do or don’t implement your action plan regularly, be thankful for what you’ve got, and know that you have backup options!

 16) Participate in dozens of free terracycle programs to further reduce waste.

You can be pretty much zero-waste, but there’s always something to recycle! For example, when your bullet blender dies- that plastic cup and rubber ring? What about permanent markers?
Or even if you’re not zero-waste, and want to do better with your packaging? Chip bags can take around 300 years to decompose in the landfill, or they can be recycled for FREE through terracycle.com.

Recycle dozens of hard-to-recycle items for free! Things like chip bags, disposable razors and tons more. You can even recycle almost all harder to recycle items for a cost! Just about everything is recyclable through terracycle.com, it turns out.

Do your best, and take doable baby steps if needed.

There’s plenty more you can do to reduce and eliminate waste in your life, be more sustainable, and cut down on your reliance. But if you do all of this annually, you will  cut your consumer dependency drastically and created an opening for health, resilience and sustainability!

 BONUS #17!!!!

Feeling inspired to upgrade some habits, but feeling a little sluggish or stuck in old ways? Check out this free training that will teach you the fundamentals you need to know, in the right order, day by day to help you motivate and get into a groove with new habits!