5 Low-Waste Tips From Marie
Just like tidying reminds me that my home and belongings are part of me, spending time outside reminds me that I’m part of the earth. To connect with nature, I close my eyes and feel the wind; I touch whatever is near me – a tree, the ground – and express my gratitude.
Tools and practices that help me reduce waste spark joy for me. I’m not perfect when it comes to living a fully sustainable life – and I’m still learning – but these five practices make it easier to live mindfully.
Purify With Charcoal
When I was younger, my grandmother kept wands of charcoal in a basket in her house; growing up, I always thought they looked so cool. Later I learned that charcoal is a natural purifier and realized my grandmother was using it to cleanse the air in the room, not just as a decoration. Now in my own home, I keep charcoal on a shelf like my grandmother did or add a wand to a carafe of drinking water for another level of filtration.
When it comes to cooking and eating, I’m mindful of the Japanese concept of macrobiotics. One of its tenets is that we are all part of a whole: What we do to the environment directly affects us, and vice versa. Keeping this in mind, I strive to use the whole vegetable when I’m cooking – like keeping the skin on carrots and using vegetable tops – which is a very traditional Japanese way of preparing food. For scraps that can’t be eaten, like onion peels or squash skin, I save them to make vegetable stock for miso soup once a week.
Skip the Plastic Wrap
When my daughters don’t finish all of their food, I save their leftovers for a snack or another meal. Instead of plastic wrap, I use reusable linen dish covers; not only are they functional, but they’re also so much more appealing to look at than a sheet of plastic!
Having fresh flowers around the house reminds me to live in the moment and to appreciate beauty as it comes. Whenever possible, I buy in-season flowers from local producers and farms – or find flowers and leaves outside that I can use as decoration.
On many of our long KonMari shoot days, we’re lucky to have flowers on set. At the end of the day, the crew and I divide them up and take them home. On those days I bring a reusable flower carrier to set with me – just in case!
Shop Consciously – and BYOB!
The first thing I do when I help clients tidy their kitchens is to check the expiration dates on their food – we usually end up throwing a lot away. Since a too-full refrigerator can be difficult to navigate, I aim to keep mine about 30% empty and use the extra space for leftovers. Because I can clearly see what I already have – and what I need to use soon before it’s past its prime – I’m able to avoid throwing away unused food. And, of course, I always bring a reusable bag to the store or farmer’s market with me.