Today is Earth Day, so I wanted to share with you how I try to be environmentally friendly. Being environmentally friendly is something I’ve always been conscious of, but have been becoming more passionate about only recently. I’m constantly learning, and have so much more to learn about not only being environmentally friendly, but sustainability and ethically conscious too. It’s a bit of a slow process, but that’s totally fine! A million people trying to make a difference has greater impact than one person doing it perfectly. As I said, it’s a slow process, and I really only bought/started using these items when I finished the non-reusables that I had first. I will link products so you can check them out and maybe feel inspired too.
Reusable Produce Bags // I made the switch over to reusable produce bags over a year ago now. I never use the plastic produce bags in stores anymore, and the foods that I store in them have actually stayed fresher longer than when in those plastic bags.
Reusable Grocery Bags // Plastic bags are a huge source of waste and pollution; saying no to plastic bags in grocery stores makes a major difference.
Beeswax Wrap // A good way to cut out plastic is to stop using ziplock bags and cling wrap. Beeswax wraps are a good place to start in cutting those out. One day I’d like to swap out my beeswax wrap for soy wax, but I already have beeswax ones so I’ll keep using them until they’re worn out.
Silicone Baking Sheets // Using silicone baking sheets are a good way to cut out the use of tin foil and parchment paper. Reduce unnecessary waste by making the switch. Items with food residue are not recyclable anyway, so it makes sense to switch.
Tea Leaves // I prefer having loose leaf tea over tea bags, but only recently I learned that some tea bags have plastic in them. Whether it be from the bag material, the bonding, or the labels, some brands do have plastic (and staples). Try switching to tea leaves and a reusable steeper.
Dryer Balls // Dryer sheets have a lot of unnatural chemicals and are usually made with polyester which is derived from plastic. Many dryer sheets also contain animal fat and are tested on animals. I use wool dryer balls now, but make sure you find ethical and cruelty free ones. After doing some research I learned that New Zealand farmers have regulations that ensure high standards of environmental protection, sustainability, animal welfare and social responsibility, so be wary of wool sourced from other countries because not all are ethical.
Bamboo Toothbrushes // We know it’s good to swap out our toothbrush every few months, so think about how many toothbrushes that is. Bamboo toothbrushes have biodegradable handles, BPA free bristles, and they’re just an awesome way to keep plastic out of the ocean. I made the switch over a year ago and am never looking back.
Reusable Cotton Rounds // Instead of buying thousands of single use cotton pads, think about getting some reusable ones. You can also think about making your own out of cotton clothes you no longer wear.
Reusable Feminine Products // Many women around the world that have periods use pads and tampons that just fill landfills. It’s worth it to consider menstrual cups, reusable pads and plastic free tampons.
Out and about:
Metal Straws // Plastic straws are one of the top 10 items found in beach clean ups. Around 80% of all waste found in oceans are plastic. I’ve made the switch over to metal straws a while ago now. I keep a couple in my bag at all times, and do my best to say no to plastic straws.
Bamboo Cutlery // Bamboo grows faster than trees, and doesn’t need pesticides to keep bugs away. As well as the metal straws, I always keep my bamboo cutlery in my bag. I have a little bag that they came with that I can just stick them in after using and wash when I get home.
Reusable Water Bottles // Plastic water bottles can take over 500 years to break down, so it’s important to recycle them properly or just stop using them. Using a reusable water bottle is one of the best things you can do to keep plastic bottles out of landfills and oceans. There are so many kinds of reusable bottles to choose from, so make the choice to say no to plastic bottles.
Reusable Coffee Cup // Did you know that most single use coffee cups aren’t recyclable or compostable? That means they just end up in a landfill somewhere. We all always see these coffee cups smushed on the ground, so why don’t we spark a change and stick to a reusable coffee cup or thermos?
Trying to be more eco-friendly and reducing your waste isn’t about throwing away those paper towels that you have in your kitchen - it’s about understanding how some of your purchases may have negative impacts on the environment and being more conscious of your plastic usage. I know not everyone has access to a “zero waste lifestyle”, and I’m not encouraging you to go out there and buy a ton of stuff. I just wanted to call attention to things in most households and lifestyles that can actually be waste free and reusable.
I’ve made a short list of ways that can make a little positive impact on the environment. I encourage you to try them out and do some of your own research to learn about lowering your carbon foot print.
Compost Food Waste //
Garbage bags just end up in a landfill and food that accumulates in garbage bags decompose much slower than composting. Composting reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
Order In Less //
Ordering in uses a lot of plastic and styrofoam. Many types of styrofoam aren’t recyclable or biodegradable meaning they sit in landfills for years or even end up in oceans. There are also harmful chemicals in some styrofoams that can negatively affect your heath.
Recycle More //
Being conscious of how you dispose of things is a step in the right direction. Pay attention to items that are recyclable, compostable or just waste. Try to stay away from things that go straight to garbage because it means it’ll end up in a landfill.
Shop Second Hand //
Reduce your carbon foot print by buying less. Constantly buying new things creates demand, so by trying to shop second hand there would be less demand.
Shop Sustainably and Ethically //
Try to stay away from fast fashion brands. So many brands just want to put out items that they can get made cheap, and too often it’s unethically done. Be conscious of where you put your money and invest in more sustainable and ethical pieces.
Buy Unpackaged Foods //
For some reason grocery stores pack everything in plastic. It’s really unnecessary, and it actually costs less to buy unpackaged food items. Buy food that doesn’t come in plastic - I know that some items don’t have the option, but just try your best.
Eat Less Meat //
The carbon foot print of a vegan is so different than that of a meat eater. Animal agriculture requires so much food, land, water and energy. It takes approximately 2400 gallons of water to get 1 pound of meat when it take 25 gallons of water to get 1 pound of wheat. Eating less meat makes a huge difference; even eating vegan once a week is a great start.
Cut Out Dairy //
Just like what I said about animal agriculture for meat, it’s the same with dairy. By not consuming dairy, you’d save over 50,000 gallons of water. Not to mention saving cows from painful practices and being separated from their babies. I’m sure you’ve heard at least once in your life to drink more milk because you need calcium, but there are so many veggies that give you the calcium you need.
I hope this post stirs something up in you. Whether it’s switching to a reusable water bottle, saying no to plastic straws, or even trying veganism. I’m not pushing products on you and I’m not trying to make you vegan, haha. I’m just encouraging you to try to be eco-friendly and conscious of how your lifestyle may affect the environment. Remember that the earth is our home and we should try our best to take care of it.