What is Circular Living®, a Circular Lifestyle?

Photo Credit: Lauren Frentz 

Photo Credit: Lauren Frentz 

Circular Living® is a mind & heart set, centered on openness and the discovery into our relationship with the earth.

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” and applied it to my lifestyle because it best represents my way of being in the world. I like respecting all life on this earth and living as holistically as I can--like a circle, like the planet, and closin' the loop. We are not separate form the earth, yet we have separated ourselves from it. Instead of modeling our economy after nature (circular) where everything is able to be safely resumed and turned back into a vital resource, we have chosen a model of extraction, exploitation, pollution, & disposal (linear). We rely on the planet for our survival and happiness and have taken so much from the earth without giving much back. This is a call to action to change our consumer habits! 

I have noticed that viewing the world and my choices through a circular (holistic) lens helps me connect with the earth, myself and my community community. Circular Living is inspiring me to find fun and creative ways to protect what I love.

I approach Circular Living as a journey and not a destination. As I become more aware of my daily habits and their impact, it's about progress, not perfection. It's about connecting with my food & what I put on my body, sharing resources, and reducing my trash and plastic footprint by bringing value back to the things I use. I am  inspired to live by example and to use my voice and actions to drive positive, kind, social and environmental change. 

What is Trash?

            The contents of my trash jar. 

            The contents of my trash jar. 

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 receipts, produce stickers or the little pieces of plastic that are used to attach price tags to clothing. I used to collect this trash in a mason jar (for about two years) but I no longer do this. The jar was a useful accountability and learning tool when I first started reducing my trash footprint; however, it has served it's purpose and was never a full representation of my trash footprint as I go to the doctor, dentist, and occasionally get tattooed. Even though I bring all my own jars and reusable bags when shopping (makes a difference!), I'm aware that everything we buy has a trash footprint somewhere up stream. We are not separate from the waste associated with our consumer choices. 

Nearly Plastic Free:

This is part of my  primary waste  footprint as of October, 2016. I began transitioning to a Circular lifestyle in March, 2015 and severely reduced my  primary waste  in August, 2015.

This is part of my primary waste footprint as of October, 2016. I began transitioning to a Circular lifestyle in March, 2015 and severely reduced my primary waste in August, 2015.

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, styrene, 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. 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.