What is Circular Living, a Circular Lifestyle?
Circular Living focuses on producing very little waste through intention and holistic design. In Circular Living we think about where things are coming from, how they are designed/made, how they are being used, where they are going, and what impact they will have on the the health and wellbeing of people and the earth. We look at our choices full circle to mirror the regenerative cycles of this kind planet!
As all life on our planet is connected, interdependent, and moves through cycles of life, death and rebirth, I've created the term "Circular Living” because it best represents my way of being in the world. I like respecting all life on this earth and living holistically--like a circle, like the planet, and closin' the loop--livin' that Circular Lifestyle!
A Circular Lifestyle is expressed differently by everyone, and it takes on new meaning as we grow. Right now, Circular Living in my life means giving my best effort to not send trash to the landfill, or add new plastics into the waste cycle. It means becoming fully aware of how animal agriculture is the leading cause of pollution (climate change). A Circular Lifestyle helps me live with more intention and mindfulness. I’ve learned to shop secondhand first, reuse what I have, and only buy what I need. I’ve noticed that I get outside more often to go walking, hiking, biking, and I eat healthier. I’m ever more appreciative of the beauty of this incredible planet we all share. Living a Circular Lifestyle for me means making all my own body, cleaning and wellness products, because my ingredients are safe for the body and the planet.
Circular Living is a path of self development, and as I continue to live this way, I know there will be other causes that I adopt which might result in new behavior changes. Most recently, I’m boycotting the Palm Oil industry. A Circular Lifestyle is not a competition or about perfection, but is inclusive. It's about baby steps and doing what we can! We all come from different ways of being in the world, and there isn't "one way" to reduce our impact on the planet. Everyone has something to offer, a creative way in which we can reduce our waste. Read More.
What is Waste?
Waste has many forms, and I define it as anything that will pollute the environment and our bodies (plastic, trash, greenhouse gas emissions, chemical-run off, etc.), and any resource that we misuse (using water and electricity in excess, letting food spoil, etc.). The goal is to drastically reduce the waste that pollutes our planet and our bodies and effectively reduce and manage the resources we use. We cannot infinitely exploit the earth. Check out my post on the three tiers of waste.
What is Trash?
I’ve come to define trash as anything that cannot be reused, recycled, and will ultimately end up in the landfill, the ocean, or as a deadly meal for an animal. Some trash can be hard to avoid, like produce stickers or the little pieces of plastic that are used to attach price tags to clothing. This type of trash I keep in a jar, so that I can see and learn from my trash footprint. I still use toilet paper, and on occasion get tattooed (a little bit of trash is generated to keep things sanitary during the tattoo process). I also go to the dentist and the doctor when I need to. I will never sacrifice my health and safety for this lifestyle.
Nearly Plastic Free:
I’m as plastic-free as I can be. There are a few items that I still buy in glass packaging that have recyclable plastic parts on them, like essential oils which I use for all my DIY body, wellness, and cleaning products.
I stopped supporting the plastics industry, because plastic is not part of natures food chain, meaning it will never biodegrade or be resumed by the earth. Plastic is made from petroleum, natural gas, and chemicals and its production is toxic for people, animals, and the planet. There is BPA, antimony, lead, cadmium, and other harmful chemicals in plastics that leach into our food and water, or off -gas into the air we breathe. Wildlife and natural habitats are severely compromised and destroyed because of plastic pollution. Plastic is a product of our current Linear economy which focuses on single-use and disposability. Plastic is not biodegradable, it’s forever. Read More.
What Does Precycle and Upcycle Mean?
While recycling is a much better option than sending waste to the landfill, it's not the ultimate goal or answer to changing our trash habits. Making decisions to reduce recycling by precycling and then upcycling things you already have is a good step before discarding. Precycling means coming up with creative ways to prevent waste. For example, bringing your own reusable cloth bags to buy bulk foods, fruits, and veggies instead of using "recyclable" plastic ones. Upcycling (repurposing) means transforming materials that would otherwise be thrown away into something that has a new established value and purpose. For example, I like rescuing newspaper from the recycling and using it to wrap gifts! It's kind to give things another chance.