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Living a purposeful life by making eco-friendly, zero waste choices and going green
This week we begin to purge ourselves of clutter in our lives. At the same time, we are evaluating the products we use and taking a critical look at the what kind of impact we are making on the environment. In other words, when it comes to a life aboard a sailboat what does it look like to be going green.
While we were at Boot, we briefly glanced at the zero emissions motorboats premiering at the show. I believe the marketers chose an unfortunate name of Besla, a word mashup of boat and Tesla, to brand the new product. Although we do currently drive a zero emissions car, we think the fact that we are choosing wind to power the movement of the boat is already a huge consideration, and there’s no need to go overboard with electric.
For a few reasons, we are skeptical that an all-electric boat is in the cards for us right now:
- Electric power is a less efficient way to move.
- Near impossible to motorsail for long in high latitudes.
- Unproven economics.
Since we are already jumping into a new lifestyle, we thought it probably wise to not overcomplicate the transition by taking on this particular unknown. To us, sailing will bring us a life of adventure, and it will also bring us closer to nature as we witness that our choices will make a direct impact on the world around us.
While still living on land, I am starting to make conscious choices of what I currently do and whether or not I will continue to do certain activities in the future.
Every two months or so, I color my roots and have done so for the past 10 plus years. I used to spend hundreds of dollars at a bougie salon in Beverly Hills until my good friend Shannon (who knew I only opted for a 1-color process) suggested that I do it myself. Since then I’ve saved quite a few pennies doing it at home with Garnier Olia ($7.99 at home vs. $150 plus tip at the salon). No one can tell the difference.
As with most people in a corporate setting, there is an advantage to maintaining youthful looks. I am blessed with good genes, and I try to stay stay fit and healthy. Sometimes, I help nature along by masking my age.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead
So while I was watching the black dye swirl down the drain, my mind started to consider what impact that dye will have on marine life. While on land, I take it on faith that the municipality will have a treatment center to process water before it reaches the ocean. While at sea, I suspect the boat’s grey water holding tank will likely not have any treatment process before we discharge its contents into the water.
From our sailboat, I imagined a trail of blackish murky water coating a pristine coral reef much like a threatened octopus would discharge its ink, and I blanched at the thought.
Perhaps I should go grey, instead of the fish.
Luckily Daenerys Targaryen along with many other celebrities have made it en vogue to go grey. While trends come and go, I have generally maintained a timeless look, which will now have a little patina.
The second major category we considered are the daily chemicals that we flush down drains, whether it is something used to clean ourselves (soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, etc.) or clean stuff (kitchen, laundry, etc.) In a boat environment, naturally the same lack of treatment process means whatever we use will directly impact the marine life.
Coupled with that consideration is also wanting to reduce waste and our use of plastic. Because space is at a premium, we don’t want to be hauling hundreds of pounds of single-use plastic items across the high seas. Thus, we are acutely aware of wanting to find solutions that are plastic free, zero waste and eco-friendly.
After spending an hour or so browsing through options on Amazon.com for these products, I came to a startling conclusion.
Going green is expensive!
Plastic free, zero waste and eco-friendly products are not cheap. But rather than let that deter us, we want to take a marginal cost comparison approach rather than react to the stated retail price. Here’s what we came up with:
Payoff of going green
If we were to total the full replacement cost per unit in a straight up comparison, the current products we buy are indeed cheaper. Even on a cost per use basis, the future products we buy are less economical although they give us the peace of mind that we are doing our part to help the environment.
However, what if we took the eco-friendly, zero waste, plastic free approach one step further?
Similar to a previous post on Make vs Buy, there is nothing to prevent us from deciding to make our own soap. Doing so provides not only with cost efficiencies, but we also get to determine what ingredients go into the soap. We also get to determine what is being used on our bodies. Thanks to youtube, we can learn how to make our own Simple Homemade Cold Process Soap.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, Andrew and I ordered a couple products from Amazon.com to see how they hold up over the next few months versus our usual brands.
If all goes well, we might bulk order coconut oil and go nuts, much like Tyler Durden one of my favorite movie characters and fellow soap-maker.
Waste not, want not
One of my go-to youtube channels is Exploring Alternatives. In this video, they explore approaching your life with Zero Waste in mind as well as other tips, should Zero Waste prove to be too extreme on the outset.
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