My small change for January (buy nothing) went well and was pretty easy. I kept a list of anything I thought of that I wanted during the month and it ended up being a pretty short list, with nothing I desperately needed on it. I also have a list of books in my wishilist on Better World Books, which C was supposed to get me for Christmas, but we had a technological miscommunication. I really like Better World, and buy my books from there when I can (of course I would ideally buy from a local indie bookshop, but the nearest one is in the opposite direction of where I normally go), but their wishlist leaves something to be desired (you need to log-in to get to it, so other people can't view it and buy you stuff; also it seems self-replicating--every time I go there, I find I've requested ever-more copies of the same book!).
I was going to buy myself some or all of the books (which are mostly related to craft--both knitting/sewing type craft and writing craft), but I've decided to keep Buy Nothing going for another month. I will allow myself used items (M really needs some pants...poor kid's knees are all patches; plus I miss my antiquing trips with my friend Dawn) and materials needed for making other stuff, though I might limit it somehow, like continuing to keep a list, and only buying at the end of the month, or only allowing myself one purchase a week or something (I did buy some of this yummy rainbow yarn yesterday...that's my purchase this week, or maybe month...and I do have a plan for it!).
The only thing I bought last month was posterboard for M's school project. I had saved a poster I got for free for him to use the back, but it had gotten bent/ripped (poor kid goes around in holey jeans, the least I could do is buy him a new poster board). I actually bought three, because last time M had a poster project, E and Z really wanted to make their own posters too.
Not eating out/buying snack food did not go as well. We went out for pizza every Friday before or after going swimming at the YMCA; my writing group met at a bakery and I had a cinnamon roll; I bought chocolate and ice cream to take to knitting night. I bought chocolate for my mental health. Worst offense of all, on Sunday I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in a long time and we went out for a cup of tea--being Sunday in central Maine, the only place we could think of that might be open was Dunkin' Donuts. I had an iced tea, plastic cup and all (later I realized we could have driven a few minutes in another direction and had a plastic-free pot of tea at the newish Thai restaurant).
I was hoping to do something about all the miles I drive for February, but I haven't been able to organize it. Maybe it will come together next month.
My plan B for the month was to write letters to companies to try and encourage them to move away from PVC in their packaging. I've saved packages from different things (e.g. baby shoes, mattress pads, etc.) that I'm going to send with the letters as a kind of enforced Extended Producer Responsibility...and to get rid of the packaging.
I'm still going to do that, but after reading Heather's post yesterday, about trying to eliminate plastic in her home I was inspired to do that too. As I've written before, getting rid of plastic has been a kind of long-term goal of mine, but I've run into stumbling blocks, especially in terms of food packaging. So I'm going to look around our home/life, evaluate where the plastic waste is coming from, and figure out ways to cut back. I also want to go through and get rid of as much plastic junk we have just hanging around, unused (I did this to an extent last spring, but it is an ongoing battle, I think).
And I need to try and not stress out about things outside of my control (so much of this stuff comes into our lives from outside--gifts from family and friends, "prizes" from school, etc...it's aggravating but I need to Let It Go...) and get C to care (since his job involves filling people's homes with plastic--he has an energy efficiency business--I think he probably sees the wrapper on the toilet paper as pretty insignificant).
It's not too late to join the fun and make One Small Change each month leading up to Earth Day.