Today we celebrate the miracle that is earth!! The thing I love the most about earth is the way that everything works together PERFECTLY so that we can inhabit it. Gravity, oxygen, farming, water. What an amazing gift!
I’m thinking the least we could do is try and help and preserve it, right? Let’s not rely on/ruin Mars?
Being greener is one of my bigger passions in life, right up there with healthy eating. For about a year I’ve been looking into more environmentally friendly ways to live by eliminating just basic things we don’t typically think twice about, like paper towels and plastic grocery bags. Here are a few things I’ve started using (and absolutely love) since starting to take a hard look at what I throw away.
- Cloth napkin. (I got this one at IKEA but they’ve discontinued it ☹️ any of their dish towels work just as well, right?) Where do I even begin? Not only do these make you look way fancy, but they’re so much cheaper in the long run, not to mention how many trees you save by not buying paper napkins. I’ve started carrying one in my purse so that I don’t have to use paper napkins when I’m out and about. Honestly, it’s awkward most of the time and sometimes I don’t use it so people won’t talk to me about it, but I’m working on it. Same with…
- Bamboo utensils. What a wonderfully simple idea! These are slightly more subtle than the cloth napkin, but have come in handy so many times. They let me skip the plastic utensils that’ll only get used once, and now I always have utensils on me! 🙌The set I got has chopsticks which I thought was a great bonus.
- Reusable produce bags. Wow, these bags. 💖 I feel so crunchy when I’m filling these up with quinoa or granola in the bulk section… but I love them so much. They’re washable, durable, large enough for even a giant bunch of kale, and the cashiers seem to be able to read PLUs through them. I bought two packs (so 10 bags total) and that’s been a good amount so far.
- Dish towels and rags to replace paper towels. We love these classics from IKEA. We have cheap, plain white rags for cleaning the bathroom, etc. which get washed after every use. This was another easy, easy switch that we haven’t regretted since (Don’t worry—gross stuff like cat puke gets cleaned up with TP).
- Urban Market bags. These bags make me so happy every time I use them. Plastic bags have made me sad for a very, very long time. I had been using a (now discontinued) Blue Q Shopper and stores’ paper bags. I couldn’t bring myself to use a lot of the Shoppers because they’re pretty bulky and I imagine that 3–4 of them together would be pretty crazy to look at 😳. I started looking into other reusable shopping bags one day and discovered these ones, which looked to be about the same size and shape as plastic bags. To my surprise and delight, they are SO ROOMY and durable! I keep one in my purse to use in every store I go to, and I keep the other two in the car to grab when I go to the grocery store every week, along with the Shopper. And I’ve never run out of bag space. ✨
- Twist sponges. This is a more recent, surprise discovery. We needed new sponges, and I was checking to see if there were any eco-friendly ones available. And there were! These are plant-based and dye-free, and thankfully work just as well as typical sponges! Also, even cooler: Twist’s loofah sponge is compostable—we’ll be trying those ones next.
- Bamboo months toothbrushes. First of all, these are adorable and actually very helpful for reminding us to change our toothbrushes. And I don’t feel guilty throwing them out 🙌! I also love their guest toothbrushes—such a great idea.
- ✨ Bonus product for the ladies ✨ It’s crazy to me that we’ve been tricked into buying expensive pads and tampons when we’ve got menstrual cups that we only need to buy just a few times in our life!! I definitely recommend looking into these if you’re into saving money/reducing waste/being more comfortable during the most uncomfortable part of your life. 💃
Along with buying stuff, I’ve also been trying to shift my habits to be more earth-friendly.
- Recycling. Luckily, my family has always recycled, so that habit will always be a part of me 💖 but I’ve been enjoying
bugging everyoneimplementing this simple habit at work.
- Buying second-hand. I’ve been buying second-hand off and on as a money-saver (and something to do on a Friday night) for a few years now, but I’d never considered how earth-friendly (and ethical) it actually is. I don’t go shopping much as it is, but I’m committing to only buying second-hand from now on (until I can afford places like Everlane 😉). A great online resource (because let’s be honest, thrifting is draining and rarely rewarding) is Poshmark, which is priced similarly to regular thrift stores (and pays better than Plato’s Closet for your clothes).
- Reusing plastic bags. Of course, ideally, we’d have no plastic in our lives. So far, at least with our lifestyle and diet, I’ve found that pretty difficult. So we do what we can. We still have ziploc bags left over from before we quit buying them, and we keep any plastic bags from grocery store packaging that seem like they could still get used. I figure that it’d be worse to throw them away & pretend we never had them than to actually use them until we can’t anymore.
- The bulk section. I’m not sure why I didn’t use the bulk section before this year… I guess I just thought it was all nuts, which I rarely buy. But there’s tasty granola there! And quinoa! Which is great, because quinoa comes in such low quantities when boxed. Now that I have the reusable produce bags, I love buying bulk.
I’m always looking into more ways of being lower-impact on the earth. Here are a few goals that I have for the next year and beyond:
- Free, no-waste produce. As I mentioned last week, we’re moving in a month and we’re going to begin gardening and composting. And this week, I saw this article about regrowing food in water on Pinterest—so cool! I can’t wait to try it out. I also want to try to get to Kent’s farmers market more.
- Euro sponge cloth. I’m not sure when exactly we’d feel the need to switch over to more absorbent towels (as opposed to our dish towels), but when we do, I look forward to trying out these sponge cloths. One cloth “outlasts 17 rolls of paper towels.” What?!
- No waste. The ultimate eco title. Who knows if we’ll ever get there—but I’ll keep striving for that elusive dream.
My greatest resources for inspiration and putting things into practice have been the blogs Trash is for Tossers, Reading My Tea Leaves, and of course, the internet. Whenever I notice something in my life that could be replaced by a greener alternative, I just Google it, read reviews, and am usually buying a product within a few hours. I also collect ideas on this Pinterest board.
I hope that this has been an inspiring/eye-opening/exciting earth day read. I’d love to know how you’re implementing greener habits! If anything, I’m glad to have captured a snapshot of where I am in this process—I’m excited to see where I am a year from now. Happy earth day, everyone! 🌎💚💙