Take a sip of your favorite drink each time you read “eco-friendly lifestyle swaps”. haha. No, but seriously tho, It’s about time I shared some of the big (and easy) eco-friendly lifestyle swaps I have made in the last two years. Two earth days ago, (earth day 2017), I committed to leading a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It was yet another bold move I would be making towards a more positive and wholesome lifestyle.
2017 was the year I formally adopted a minimalist way of life. It was the year I was just beginning to learn all that slow living is about and became aware of earth day. It was also the year after the Paris agreement which inspired me to write my first post on my eco-friendly resolutions. There was no way I could continue to live nonchalantly with the knowledge I had accumulated over the previous years. Knowledge really does change you!
Since 2017, I have made some big changes. I am honestly proud of myself. I have slowed down a lot more which has allowed me to be more conscious and make more mindful decisions. As my faith inspires my minimalism and that same faith inspires me to be more eco-conscious. I am inspired by the fact that the earth is God’s and we – the inhabitants- are to take care of it, not abuse it.
Recommended read: What it means to be a Christian minimalist.
These changes that I have adopted over the last two years only highlight my progress. I still have ways to go, but the key is that I have begun and have found reasons to keep adjusting my lifestyle and make as many eco-friendly swaps as I can. I’m hoping that these changes that I have made would inspire you to consider making similar changes (If you haven’t already). I hope that in sharing these with you, you’ll come to the realization that these changes really aren’t that difficult to implement. If a gal like me could do this, trust me, anyone else can!
So here are all my Eco-friendly lifestyle Swaps
Reusable Sanitary Pads.
I transitioned to using reusable pads since January of 2018 and have not looked back since. You can read the two-part series on why I chose reusable pads and my experiences and Q&A for more detailed posts. However, I want to clarify that while the initial thought of this is off-putting for most women, the adjustment time is pretty quick. Plus, the environmental and health benefits far outweigh the initial concerns. I have since met many women who swear by these pads and the luna menstrual cups.
Reusable shopping and produce bags
Single-use plastic bags are a major nightmare for the environment. America alone uses over 100 billion plastic bags a year. Only 1% of those bags are returned for recycling and 80% end up in the ocean. We all see the images and videos of plastic pollution floating around social media. These are difficult to ignore. I switched to these mesh bags and grocery produce bags which I found both on Etsy and Amazon. I prefer the organic cotton version but any kind you find is okay for a start. Just ditch the single-use bags.
Tip: I keep a shopping bag in my car at all times for those random run from the grocery store.
Reusable water bottle
Like single-use plastic bags, plastic water bottles are a disaster for the environment. This Forbes report states that, as of 2017, we were using 1 million plastic water bottles per minute and 91% will not be recycled. Plastic bottles take about 400 years to decompose which means they all just end up in landfills. The plastic bottle waste isn’t the only problem. The environmental cost of producing plastic bottles also poses a significant threat to the plant. I switched to a reusable water bottle and a coffee mug(which I enjoy drinking my tea on in the go since don’t drink coffee). I got mine from Swell bottles but feel free to check out more affordable options online.
This was one of the easiest and quickest and easiest of the switch. In the United States alone, about 1 billion toothbrushes are dumped out every year and these brushes are made from materials that are NEITHER compostable nor recyclable. This is equivalent to 50 million pounds of waste- all ending up in landfills.
Bamboo toothbrushes are 100% compostable and they brush your teeth just as much. They are also affordable and you can without guilt throw them away after the recommended 90 days. I buy mine from Amazon; I prefer this brand as it doesn’t come wrapped in plastic.
Second-hand clothing first
I have previously written a post on how I fell in love with second-hand shopping. This was definitely a harder transition for me as I do not like to share clothes, spoons, or cups with anyone. But with a greater sense of purpose and why power, I put my little germophobia aside and have been shopping second hand first ever since. Basically, if I need something- say a white shirt-, I search for it in second-hand stores first. I go thrifting at my local thrift stores or I shop used on eBay or thread up.
When I am not shopping second hand, I am saving to buy from sustainable and ethical brands.
Tip: I highly highly recommend that you watch The True Cost documentary. I watched it 3 years ago and it changed my life.
One year clothe shopping ban
In 2017, I started a one-year clothing ban. This was my way of decluttering my closet- which was full of clothes I had never worn and never really understood why I was keeping. I will still write about my experience with the one-year clothing ban, but for now, you can read about my decluttering tips as well as why I wear a mostly white neutral color palette.
To keep this post relatively short, I’ll just list out the other swaps I have made and those I plan to be better at within the next year.
- Bulk grocery shopping: I am so thankful for all the local co-ops in my city that offer bulk shopping options. I buy all my beans, rice, grains buts and the majority of my grocery in bulk and plastic wrap free! Find a local coop near you. Whole foods have great bulk shopping options. If all else fails, there are bulk-online grocery stores that also offer sustainable packaging and shipping. Like this store.
- I switched from using cotton balls and cotton rounds to using reusable hemp clothes for makeup removal, applying toners and other skin care uses for cotton rounds. There are lots of options for these. I get mine from Etsy because I love to support small creators.
- I carry my own cutleries and straws in my bag at all times for those random hungry days. This allows me to avoid plastic cutleries and straws at restaurants
- Reusable Straws: These ones are great and have so many options- bamboo, stainless steel, or glass. I prefer glass as I like to see the inside when I’m cleaning it (germaphobe alert)
- I store pretty much everything in a mason jar and in reusable glass jars. They are cost effecting and look even better!
- Oh, I brew my own kombucha now! Tastes way better and is sooooo much more affordable!
- No magazine purchase: Online magazines work just fine if you must!
- No new plastic items: This means saying goodbye to some of my favorite hair products, skincare products, and even certain food items.
- Loose leaf tea: Individual tea bags are often wrapped in plastic. The teabags you steep also contain some plastic components. Loose-leaf teas taste better and the process of peacefully pressing and making your own tea is so soothing! I use a french press to steep mine.
- Laundry nuts: Although I found great plant-based laundry soap, they often come in plastic bottles. My local co-op does have refillable laundry soup but they’re quite expensive. I have been using these eco-nuts and they do a great job.
- Reusable shaving blades: I purchased this one but haven’t used it yet.
- Make own nut butter and most milk: The only downside is how short the shelf life of homemade milk is. But my one ingredient almond butter is the best thing! Recipe here.
- Homemade yogurt: Most yogurts come in plastic. While I absolutely love yogurts, I really do struggle with the dissonance.
- Less online shopping: Can we talk about the large shipping boxes and plastic wrap that most vendors use? Umm, Amazon prime! ugh.
- Less food wastage: I definitely need to improve here.
- Making my own toothpaste, deodorants, and home cleaning mixtures.
I want to end this post by saying this: Do consider making some eco-friendly lifestyle swaps, but remember little steps add up! The decision to reduce waste and be more eco-conscious is a tough, uncomfortable and intentional one. But it is definitely worth it! We owe it to ourselves and to the generation to come, to leave the earth livable. So allow yourself to take baby steps. Follow blogs and accounts who are already doing well at this and find inspiration there. Reach out and connect!
I am always looking to connect with people interested in living more mindfully or those who just have a question or objection. Feel free to follow me on my social media accounts!