In running the Go Low Tox course for years now, I’ve seen that hit of “EEK, I don’t want to use this any more” a few days into the course, with each group. Some of the A types just want it all gone and some people are happy to phase things out, use them up and choose better next time. Everyone’s looking for validation in their thinking and to me this is a great example of how nothing is black or white – there’s a whole bunch of grey in the middle! I thought it’d be a good idea to write a little blog with your options here, so that when you decide what to do as you go along, you can feel informed and empowered at having come to the way that works best and resonates for you – I’ve been saying this at book talks across the country that I am NOT your guru. These decisions are yours to make, and as a responsible educator in this space, I pride myself on presenting options, ideas and evidence across all low tox topics and then you make up your mind and move forward.
So, key here is that no one is wrong in the way they go about this, and the commonality that we can celebrate is that whether it’s today or next month, either way, we’re moving on to products that do better by people and planet.
I feel this is such an individual thing and that in the end, you must make peace with however you “stopped” using something. The point is you are choosing a more positive option for your health and the planet, and that’s the last of that thing you will buy. A little focus on the positive goes a long way to sustaining our motivation to keep upping the anti as we buy less stuff, reduce environmental toxins and reduce waste along the way.
Either you phase it out, move it on or you throw it out… Those are your 3 options.
Let’s look at each of those options.
- You phase it out. Loads of people find this the best way. They use it up, which means they don’t feel wasteful, and then they move onto the better choice when it’s run out. Other people find this hard to do for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they might find they’re just unable to look at that washing powder or toothpaste the same way again and feel icky using it. Secondly, they might not be able to handle the idea of it going into the water ways as they use it up.
- You move it on. Some shelters and charities do accept open items or of course items you haven’t opened yet that you don’t want to use anymore. Lots of people feel great about this option because they’re giving something to a person who otherwise wouldn’t have ANY version of that thing, low tox or not. Others though, feel a sense that it’s cruel to say “here, I don’t want this high tox item, you have it!”
- You throw it out. Some people find this wasteful. Other people find that at least they’re putting it into the bin for landfill for the last time, and at least it’s going into a controlled facility for waste rather than out into the waterways. If you do choose the throw out option, look into Terracycle for packaging recycling with a difference to minimise the overall waste and a super detailed recycling post we did a while back now here.
So, there’s no black and white here – as there never is – and what sits right with some might not sit right with others their low tox swapping road. The important thing here is that you’re not going to be using that thing again and have a lifetime ahead of you of choosing better so choose what resonates, make peace, give yourself a pat on the back for moving onto a better option and voila!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas?
If it’s clothes you’re wanting to pass on, here’s a way to do that…
If it’s personal care items, look at Share the Dignity.
So many options to make peace, move things on, retire them as we transition to better options forever more. Always remember that with each ‘last time’ using something it’s the first and next times using something less wasteful, non harmful to water ways, better packaging, less stuff in general and on and on we go with the positives.
Low Tox. Happy People. Happy Planet.