April is Earth month! While Lulu prefers to think about environmentally healthy business practices all the time, we’re taking April as an opportunity to really highlight the ways businesses and individuals can make a difference in their community.
In that spirit, we’re featuring Lulu employees telling their own stories about how they reduce, recycle, and reuse. Starting off the series is Arwen and her story of personal choices she makes to have a cleaner impact on the environment.
While I’ve always been a big fan of caring for Mother Nature, I shied away from making changes in my daily habits due to the simple fact of not knowing how to take that first step.
Searching for ideas on the web turned my want to do more into a daunting task. From composting toilets to homemade soaps, I grew concerned that my demanding schedule wouldn’t accommodate the lifestyle changes I was desperate to make. Not wanting to fall back on my new green goals, I decided to change just one thing as a test run and see what came of it.
To my surprise, the change was easier to adjust to than I had imagined; and from that one change, eventually came more.
I started by cutting out most paper products, such as plates, napkins, and towels. In place of each, I added to the dinner plates I already had and replaced the paper napkins with cloths and the paper towels with white cloth diapers. I was shocked at how easily I adjusted to the absence of paper towels.
Looking back before the paper towel swap, my family of four would blow through roll after roll, especially when the kiddos were in their toddler years. However, cloth diapers aren’t even on the same plane. They tackled all kinds of spills and held up like champs. Those suckers kicked that plaid ax paper towel man and his quilted softness right back into the factory of which he came.
With the reduction in the paper in the household, I decided to get down and dirty with composting. I will say, having a backyard, particularly one that has a sunny area available, makes composting much easier. My birthday gift last year was a gorgeous tumbler composter; what every girl dreams of, I’m sure.
With two elementary-aged children in the house, I created a composting schedule for each of them so that every other day, one of them had a chance to dump the small kitchen counter compost bin into the tumbler. I also made a bright orange sign on the trash can that read, “STOP! Can that be composted?” to begin training ourselves to start thinking differently about what we threw away versus what could be composted.
With all the lovely compost we’ve produced, this spring I finally built my garden beds. My little greenhouse is currently filled to the brim with vegetables, fruits, and flowers, which will be planted sometime soon. A few years ago, I would have never thought I would be planting my own produce gardens.
The small steps I took blossomed into a full lifestyle change for both me and my family. The best part being, that the change has not only affected our health and happiness, it also greatly benefited the world around us and continues to do so.
My largest piece of advice to anyone starting out on making sustainable life-changes would be that not everything that works for others will work for you. Many people don’t have access to a yard in order to compost, so perhaps a service such as CompostNow would be the better option. The main point is not to be intimidated by taking the first small step; and when you run into something that doesn’t jam your bread, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It means you’ve learned something and can move on to another option.
If you take time to care for the world around you, good things will grow.
Arwen Kester resides in North Carolina with her husband, children, and two cats. While working for Lulu’s Customer Voice team, she also is the creator and director of Middle-earth News. Her hobbies include gardening, writing, traveling, eating cookie dough, and teaching German Longsword.
Arwen works in Lulu’s Customer Voice team, helping authors and publishers with any ordering and printing needs that might arise.