A few years before our move to Nashville, my husband and I spent some time living and working in Costa Rica. I am a hairstylist of 11 years by trade and while there I worked with a friend to start a small nonprofit. That nonprofit has provided cosmetology training to men and women affected by trafficking and prostitution, mostly in the capital city of Costa Rica. You're probably thinking, "that has nothing to do with plastic or waste." Track with me here.
Living a short time overseas made me aware of how hard the rest of the world works to feed and provide for the U.S. Whether it be food, clothes, goods, etc., we are unbelievably dependent on other countries to sustain our way of life. While there, we met palm and banana farm workers who could barely feed their families 3 meals a day. They worked long hours for around $20 a day in order to send us cheap bananas and cheap palm oil.
When we moved back to the U.S. we continued to become more aware of how our buying habits affect people and places across the world. It's fascinating to me how much of the world is paying attention to those habits. We started looking for more fair trade products to support companies doing things right, and we looked for more things made in the U.S. We watched documentaries about sustainable food, farming, and poor labor practices and then we got to plastics. The common theme? Most big industries turn a blind eye to the health of people and the planet for the sake of financial gain. It's created a current model of consumerism that is not sustainable. As overwhelming as all of this can be, I know that there is hope for change!
Ultimately we are all just doing our best to support and provide for ourselves and our loved ones the best we know how. We go most days unaware that we should think twice about how our purchases may negatively impact the world around us. Most of us would say we are used to buying in a way that focuses first on how our purchases benefit us. We are taught to buy, use, and dispose without much regard for how our consumption affects the world around us. But our purchases and our voices drive the direction of industries! The Good Fill is not just a blog and shop to help you go zero waste but also an invitation to live in a way that is more sustainable, healthy, and responsible. It shouldn't have to be so overwhelming to live conscious of people and the planet; and that is the reason for this space.
I want to tackle the idea that we don't have enough time, money, convenience or resources to change the habits consumerism has trapped us in. We have so many conveniences right at our fingertips yet it's no secret that we aren't the happiest people on the planet. How can we have so much and yet it's never enough?! Ultimately, I think it's a lack of awareness to all the energy, time, and resources that go into providing for our most basic needs. Think about all the energy it takes just to make one product. The ingredients, where they're grown, the people who grow and process those ingredients, and the disposable packaging used. When we learn to respect and value the creation process of all things, then we are willing to sacrifice time, money or energy to challenge the "I need more, new, and better" mindset that encourages wasteful thinking.
The Good Fill exists to offer more sustainable alternatives to items we all use or dispose of on a regular basis. The store has some of my favorite low-waste essentials if you can't find them second-hand or sold near you. The basics - no more, no less. We all need to eat, use a toothbrush, and we all need to clean our bodies, homes, and bathrooms but we don't need a million products to do so and we don't need toxic plastic ones either! The blog invites you along a journey of tackling different topics surrounding sustainability in our own lives.
We are learning to reduce, reuse, refuse, recycle, and rot the rest - The 5 principles of living with less waste.
I invite you to follow along! Please feel free to contact me if you ever have ideas, encouragement, concerns, product suggestions or questions - I'd love to hear from you!