Team Avazera is excited to introduce our new guest blogger – Magali Lafleur! Magali is an art director and founder of Alternative. @findyouralternative is an Instagram blog that educates and encourages people to be zero-waste by finding what works for them and their lifestyle. In this blog post, Magali shares her zero-waste experience and tips to beat the heat waste-free this #plasticfreejuly!
We’re all feeling that summer heat and trying to bear it with nice ice cold drinks, staying near an AC, and heading to the beach! You might think an iced drink outside is exactly what you need this July. However, plastic straws are a waste of energy and end up being trash more often than not. Worry no more, I’m here to help you stay cool zero-waste style this July!
No Time To Waste, It’s Summer!
Hey, I’m Magali and I try to live my life as zero waste as I can. I always try to reuse everything I can to reduce my footprint. I created Alternative so other people can reduce their waste as well! People need to learn more about being more sustainable. Especially in a city like Toronto, it’s vital we start taking care of our planet just as she takes care of us.
Some people ask me if I would ever go back to living ‘normally’ and my answer is always no. I live zero waste because I love it. I’ve always been aware of environmental issues, however, growing up, I wasn’t always sustainable. I always tried to be green and do what’s right for the environment and when I started being zero waste, I didn’t even know it was a real thing. Naturally, I researched everything there is to know about it and found out this new world and it felt just amazing to belong in this community.
Suck It Up
It’s hot, there’s not a single hair blowing in the wind; it’s stuffy. I get it. Solution: iced-drink. Problem: plastic. Did you know that the lifespan of a single-use disposable plastic cup, lid, and straw is about 450 years? Seriously! You might not think that at first when you buy the cup, drink it in less than 10-20 minutes and once it’s out of your hands, it’s not your problem anymore. But it is though. It’s everybody’s problem. The solution? Bring your own glass and straw! You can find some bottles that have minimal packaging and package-free metal and/or bamboo straws. Tip: you can find quality stainless steel straws that come in a reusable box in The AZ BOX | Summer Edition. Some reusable bottles containers even keep your drink colder for longer periods of time so you can ask for less ice and not have a diluted drink – bonus!
“Okay, but what if I forgot my bottle?” Being zero-waste is all about consistency and preparation. I normally bring my ‘food kit’ (water bottle, utensils, container, and coffee cup) everywhere I go. For my utensils, I bring two pairs of everything: a bamboo fork, spoon, knife, and mini spork (I only have one of those), two metal straws and a little dish sponge.
I bring two so if my boyfriend forgets his then I have one for him, or maybe if I’m hanging out with a friend! If you forget your stuff, it’s okay. To be honest, it happens to me too, but you don’t have to get the full drink deal. You can just ask for the cup. No lid. No straw. That’s simple and zero-waste! Maybe instead of throwing that cup away, bring it around with you if you feel like you might want a drink again! Find a new use for it, plant a little cactus, use it to scoop your dog’s food, use it as a measuring cup – there are infinite uses.
Cold Turkey Style
I know I’m a vegetarian but I’m allowed to use that phrase… right? Being in the heat can drive you crazy. It sucks, but the solution is not to blast on an AC, since it uses a lot of energy. 100 million CO2 emissions are emitted every year just to keep us cool! Instead, this summer, use a fan – it uses the air that’s already there. I’ve even seen some places use solar paneled mini fans! Those are super cool. Literally. There’s not much to say about AC but in my house, we try not to turn on the AC and we definitely do not sleep with the AC on. If it’s boiling hot we might sleep with the fan on but rarely, we’re even sustainable in our sleep.
Now I’ve been to the beach a few times this summer, and unfortunately, the majority of the beaches I’ve been at had trash – all over the place. My rule of (green) thumb, is to leave nothing, take nothing. Don’t take huge rocks and huge seashells. That’s their home and they have a role on the ocean or in the lake. For the water, my zero-waste routine is bringing my own water bottle, my own towels, my beach tote bag, my homemade mosquito repellent (if it’s a lake) and sunscreen, pack our own snacks, and our Frisbee. I had the toughest time looking for a Frisbee because they’re literally plates of plastic. The one I found was at Patagonia and it’s made from fishing nets! I love it so much and it’s so cute. If you want to see how I make my own repellent and sunscreen, check out my Instagram! And, of course, I never leave any trash (not that I even have any) and we always plan ahead when it comes to day trips.
I honestly think being zero-waste is super cool. It’s fun and it brings so much joy to my life as cheesy as that sounds. I hope that you can bring a bit of zero-waste into your life and find it in your hearts to be greener and a little nicer to our earth for she takes care of us too.
Thank you Avazera for having me and for sharing my story. Make sure to follow @avazera on Instagram and keep up with their stories! Follow my ongoing journey on Instagram at @findyouralternative and tag me in your posts to see how you guys found ways to #findyouralternative.
Thanks for reading,