Where to find plastic free, zero waste home essentials

It seems a little counter-intuitive, but for many people setting up a zero waste home requires buying or somehow acquiring a few new items. You might have been relying on plastic or disposable items and in order to reduce your trash, reusable alternatives need to be found. Everyone’s trash output is different. Look inside your trash bin and see what kinds of things you are throwing away and find reusable alternatives or ways to avoid those things.

For me, I first needed reusable cloth “un paper” towels and cloth napkins, glass food storage containers, reusable “going out” items like utensils and straws and cloth bags to use for produce and buying items from the bulk/loose bins. While I did have to buy some new things, these tools and products are “essentials” in my mind, and will be used for years.

Where to buy plastic free home goods

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Burlington, VT Zero Waste Meetup!

I’m hosting a meet up this weekend for anyone interested in reducing their waste, starting a zero waste home, reducing plastic or just generally wondering how to make a positive impact on the environment with their everyday choices. Who: Anyone in the greater Burlington, Vermont area who is going #zerowaste, #plasticfree or just wants to learn more and chat with others about our challenges, triumphs and experiences. … Continue reading Burlington, VT Zero Waste Meetup!

Makeup hoarder turned minimalist ... see inside Meredith's green, organic beauty makeup bag!

What’s in my minimalist, eco-friendly makeup bag

You know that thing where you go to someone’s house and want to peek in their drawers and cabinets and see what kind of stuff they have? In this case, I’m inviting you to look through my stuff so it’s not weird, I promise.

A little while ago I posted a picture of my make up bag on Instagram and you wanted to see what was inside. Ask and you shall receive, friends. I love talking about this topic, as you’ll see from this extensive and rambling post. Hope you enjoy it!

Minimalist, eco-friendly and organic makeup collection

I have always loved playing with makeup and used to have a huge make up collection. While I did use many of the items regularly, I often fell into the trap of buying something new as a pick-me-up or believing that “this lipstick will change my life/mood.” 

I got into the habit of buying things that I thought were cute but I knew deep down weren’t my style. I bought things for some future Meredith that didn’t exist yet. I imagined future Meredith wearing a particular lipstick shade to some fabulous event or occasion that never came. Even when I was going to a fabulous event or occasion (or out on a date night), I wore the colors and products that I felt comfortable and pretty in, not the colors that were more adventurous and theatrical. Most of my collection didn’t fit into how I actually used make up.

Once I got really serious about minimalism, downsizing and using a capsule wardrobe for my clothes, the mentality of streamlining to the things that you really love and use spilled over to my cosmetics too.

My go-to minimal face now is concealer, brows, curled lashes (and mascara if I want more definition or extra awake-ness.) Or I go makeup-free. If I’m going anywhere, or I just feel like it…#becauseselfexpression, I do get myself a bit more dolled up.

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Fair trade fashion on sale

Affordable, ethical fashion from Love Justly

*This post is in partnership with Love Justly. All opinions are my own and all content is original to MeredithTested.com. 

When I’m curating my more minimal wardrobe, it is actually much easier to be more conscious about the new items I add. Like many areas in my home, minimizing and decluttering my closet freed up headspace for more important things: like being more curious and conscious about where, how and by whom my clothing was made.

I avoid buying from “fast fashion” stores because of the toll on the people and land, but also because it’s my experience that the pieces don’t last.

How many times did I wash something once only to find a hole or rip? No more. Now I buy a lot of my clothing and other items in my home second hand. When I’m buying something new, I look for ethically made clothing and accessories, meaning the people and environment were treated well in the production of the item. When I found the site Love Justly, I was impressed by the selection and prices. If you’re looking to add some pieces to your wardrobe, it’s definitely worth starting there.

psst: One of my readers will win a $50 gift card (!!!) to shop for discounted fair trade clothing and jewelry on LoveJustly.com! Read to the bottom to find out how…

Where to buy affordable, ethical and fair trade fashion

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Refill options means less plastic in the landfills

Why we need refill options everywhere

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for We Want Refill but I only share products and campaigns I really believe in.  Since committing to a low-waste home, I’ve often dreamed of a time when everyone, everywhere has access to good bulk and refillable options. Imagine walking in to any supermarket, grocery store or co-op and bringing your reusable container to a refill station to fill … Continue reading Why we need refill options everywhere

Bring your own reusable straw and protective case by StrawSleeves

Reduce Your Trash with StrawSleeves

I realized early on in my journey to be more environmentally conscious that single-use plastics are one of the biggest hazards to our planet. From plastic bags at the grocery store to a plastic cup at the coffee shop, we’re offered single-use plastics regularly. Seriously, back off, plastic pushers!

80% of all marine debris found in the ocean is land based, and 80-90% of the marine debris is made from plastic (source.) Not only that, single-use plastics aren’t actually that necessary in our daily lives. Plastics can be really cool and have some innovative and incredible uses in the medical field, etc. A single-use plastic cup that I can easily avoid by bringing my own jar/mug/cup isn’t one of those “excellent uses.” Far, far from it.

One of the biggest culprits of beach and ocean trash is plastic straws. Straws are a nice way to drink a beverage but there’s no need to accept a plastic straw. They are resource-intensive to produce, are used for a few minutes, and then become a burden on the planet and harm marine life. The solution is wonderfully simple: Bring your own straw!

If you don’t think bringing your own straw will make a difference to the planet, consider this: In the United States alone, we discard 500 million straws A DAY. It seems like that number is too big, but imagine how many coffee shops are in every city and town in America and how many of them offer a plastic straw with nearly every beverage. U.S. consumption of plastic disposable straws would fill Yankee Stadium 9 times a year.

Every time you choose to do something nice for the earth, it’s a good choice. No matter how small it might seem.

how to avoid trash on the go

StrawSleeves is a lovely shop and, I’ve found, a great resource for information about plastic pollution and practical, easy ways to avoid it. I’ve been following StrawSleeves on Instagram for a while and I appreciate seeing the information they share and the photos of their products “in the wild” showcasing individuals across the globe choosing to bring their own reusable items.

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Zero Waste Baby Led Weaning

Baby led weaning (BLW) is a slightly odd phrase I’ve never gotten over but it basically refers to letting your baby (6 months + but please talk to your pediatrician for individualized recommendations) eat solids right away. You side-step the puree phase. It’s baby-led eating versus a parent using a spoon to feed the baby. For expert advice on this subject, refer to this excellent book … Continue reading Zero Waste Baby Led Weaning

Book Recommendations for Minimalist Parents

Anyone can be a minimalist. You might not use that word, but you might still be a “minimalist” at heart. Whether you’re on a road to declutter, simplify, streamline, slow down, live sustainably, or spark joy, these book recommendations will educate and inspire. For me paring down and experimenting with minimalism is all about making things easy on myself and my family, freeing up headspace … Continue reading Book Recommendations for Minimalist Parents

family living zero waste, zero trash with kids

One year of living zero waste

In some ways it’s impossible for me to look back at a full 12 months of time passing and distill my zero waste/trash free learnings into black and white words. I am a different person now than I was at the beginning of 2016. My family has completely embraced the changes we’ve made to drastically reduce our household trash, but our journey to understanding and … Continue reading One year of living zero waste

tips for zero trash waste

Tough love: The 5 easiest ways to reduce your waste right now

There are aspects of drastically reducing your personal garbage that frankly take some coordination and dedication to the cause. I know that for some, the whole idea of “zero trash” might make you want to stop before you even begin. …Wait! Come back! Instead of starting with the hardest thing for you – I’m sure you can easily conjure up what this is in your life – … Continue reading Tough love: The 5 easiest ways to reduce your waste right now