One of my goals for 2020 was to reduce waste & be live a more sustainable lifestyle. Over the years, we’ve all been becoming more and more educated on it. Where I live in Manly, people are very earth and outdoors focused, which has allowed me to learn more about what I can do in my life by surrounding myself with people who care about and love our planet.
There’s no expectation that any of us will change overnight (although we should), and by no means am I anywhere near perfect with this. But, I’ve learned a few life tweaks that really don’t impact me or inconvenience me and wanted to share how simple some of these changes can be! I just didn’t even realize the impact of some of the products I grew up buying. By now, we know single-use products are NOT GOOD for the environment. It’s not about being a zero-waste household for me overnight, but it’s about constantly doing better. If you are willing to take it a few steps further this year with me, I'm sharing my tips below. Maybe one day I’ll get to zero waste, but what's most important is doing SOMETHING now, at the bare minimum, so I hope this inspires you to pick at least one to implement in your home.
10 EASY TWEAKS THAT YOU CAN DO TOMORROW TO CREATE A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE:
1. REUSABLE PAPER TOWELS
I purchased these ones, made from Bamboo, in Australia & love them. You can toss them in the washer and they’re reusable up to 100 times. Here’s another US option from Amazon. Eliminating any single use products go a long way!
2. KEEP CUPS
Along with reusable water bottles, this one is a no brainer. Bring one with you so you have one on hand whenever you’re buying coffee. I’m not perfect at this but have one 90% of the time now! Most of the time you get a discount when you bring your own too! I love the Keep Cup brand, but also love the look of this one.
(Note that many cafes aren't accepting keep cups during the coronavirus situation -- my covid-19 post from last week is here -- , but you can ask for no lid if you don't use a keep cup.)
3. REUSABLE MAKEUP REMOVER PADS
I always hated the wipes- come on... they never get all your mascara off anyways and when you get facials the aestheticians cringe if you say you use them, so they’re clearly terrible for you AND the earth. I recently got suckered into an Instagram ad for a product that had tons of comments praising it so I thought I’d give it a whirl, and I'm SO HAPPY I did. It removes makeup way better than my cleansing oils, so I absolutely love these Face Silk cloths. Highly recommend. You can toss them in the washer as well. Honestly don't know why it works so well but it blows my mind. The makeup comes right off. Can't explain it... just try it. Trust me!
4. ECO FRIENDLY LAUNDRY DETERGENT & REUSABLE DRYER BALLS
Again- this is about eliminating plastic packaging and single use products like dryer sheets. I recently switched to The Dirt detergent (US options here and here) and these reusable wool dryer balls (US options here). I’m going to save money on dryer sheets too which I won't hate.
Zero Co is also an AWESOME company that I recently found and is launching soon. I just signed up for their starter pack as a part of the Kickstarter campaign which is still available. They send you regular household products like dish soap, laundry detergent, counter spray, etc. in recycled plastic from the ocean with refillable packs and prepaid return packaging. You just send the refillable packs back to them when you're ready for refills!
Composting seemed really hard to me when I didn’t know much about it. A few of my friends in Australia compost and I did a poll on Instagram recently, and a lot more of you in SF compost than I knew of too! Go you!! I recently started using this Bokashi compost bin in January, and it’s working well and is super easy. It also helps create amazing fertilizer for my beloved indoor plants! I just take any food scraps and toss it in, throw some "bokashi" powder or spray on it to help compost it faster, and every 3 weeks take it to a compost spot or just bury it in your garden. A friend recently posted that you can use sites like Sharewaste to find neighbors who you can bring it to that compost in their gardens, etc. It’s really much easier than you would think to do even in an apartment!
6. MAKE YOUR OWN SPRAYS
I make my own counter spray and recently also a linen spray in reusable glass bottles. It’s actually way cheaper to do this yourself, especially if you’re already an essential oil queen. Linen Spray directions linked here & Counter/Hand Disinfectant Spray (mix water + 5-6 drops of Doterra OnGuard essential oil). You can find glass bottles on Amazon or be more eco friendly and pick up a reusable spray bottle at Target (US here; AU here). This is fun to do with your girl friends anyways, so turn it into a diy day!!
7. STOP USING PRODUCE BAGS
Stop using plastic bags for veggies and fruit at the grocery store. You should really be washing these when you get home anyways, regardless of what bag they were in, so just throw them in your reusable grocery bag and eliminate the need for the plastic bag in the produce section. By 2020 you should already know to use reusable shopping bags, but this goes for produce bags too - here's a reusable alternative if you insist a produce bag is important. I also use these reusable zip lock bags in Australia which I love (US option here)! Perfect if you have kids and are making lunches frequently or bring your lunch to work.
8. USE TOOTHPASTE TABLETS
I recently switched to LUSH tablets and at the time I went, they only had this Coca Cola flavored charcoal ones which… EW… I didn’t like at first. I don’t even drink Coke. Weirdly enough I’ve actually come around to it. My teeth feel really clean from it! Next time I go in, I’ll definitely find another flavor, but the point is that you can use toothpaste tablets that have sustainable packaging (like glass jars, or reusable packaging like all Lush products do!) Here is a list of zero waste toothpastes. I recently got The Dirty Hippie peppermint tooth powder too and am eager to give it a try!
9. BEESWAX WRAPS
I have been using these for awhile, but just love these so much because they keep your food fresh WAY Longer than any other packaging, container, or plastic wrap. Dare you to keep half an avocado green for 3 days... it's easily done with beeswax wraps. You can even make them yourself! So easy to pop on any type of food or shape of container. They make great gifts too! Etsy has some really cute ones too!
10. TRY A SHAMPOO BAR OR BETTER YET, DITCH SHAMPOO ALTOGETHER
I have tried and loved these LUSH shampoo bars (no packaging and great for travel!) but now I am not even using shampoo. Another thing not to buy! I have switched to a cleansing conditioner - Hairstory's New Wash Club. You can purchase a sustainable canister and subscribe to get refills delivered for less waste. With Hairstory, you need to wash your hair much less, so it's a ton less maintenance, it lasts so much longer, and you save water on shorter showers too!
Let me know what you decide to try & please share your sustainability tips with me below in the comments section!