My name is Samantha White, and today is the day that I took what felt like my first tangible step towards a waste and plastic free lifestyle. This step was to buy the ingredients and make my very own toothpaste. Though I have made other simple changes in my life, actually making a product instead of buying one seems like my first big accomplishment, and it seems even bigger considering the fact that I live in a rural area of South Dakota. If you aren’t from a rural area, you might think that living here means we are closer to nature, making this lifestyle change easier. This is simply not true. Though I did play outside as a child and there are cornfields and cows within walking distance of where I live, none of this makes it easier for me to live waste free. Almost all of the products we grow are exported to other places and we have trucks haul in all of our commodities. It is nearly impossible to go grocery shopping for a week without buying plastic. I still have not managed to at least. But, the thing that makes it the hardest to go waste free in a small area is the lack of support and resources. Most people who live here either don’t understand the need for a sustainable lifestyle or they don’t understand how you would even begin to have one. This lack of understanding is what motivated me to take my first step. I’m definitely not anywhere near this goal of being waste free. You picture what I mean more fully when you find out that I ordered a pizza immediately after making my waste free toothpaste, but this is just the first step of many. I have already (mostly) switched from using bags at the grocery store to bringing my own, and I no longer buy bottles of water. I opt instead for a reusable stainless steel water bottle. I have decided to document this journey to show to everyone that even in rural areas with limited access to recycling or other resources, it is possible to make small changes towards being more sustainable.
On a side note: The pizza was absolutely delicious.