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Sustainable living has become a growing topic lately, and for good reason. If you’re on Instagram you’ve probably seen at least one person striving to live a zero-waste life. I follow a few myself, and, as amazing and impressive as I think they are, I will also tell you that that lifestyle isn’t meant for me. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do my part though.
Last year I learned something that completely changed the way I view my impact on the earth. (You can read about that, here.) I committed to making small changes here and there to lower my impact that also didn’t disrupt my way of living. Life can be crazy and making changes can sometimes feel overwhelming, so I want to share with some easy sustainable changes anyone can make.
“The most important thing is to actually think about what you do. To become aware and actually think about the effect of what you do on the environment and on society. That’s key, and that underlies everything else.”
7 Easy Sustainable Changes Anyone Can Make
Cutting back on the use of single-use straws is one of the first steps I took to lower my impact. I say “cutting back” because I’m not perfect. I’m a single mom of two and my days are often a shit show. I’m lucky if I remember to bring extra diapers let alone my reusable straws. So yes, I still get the occasional straw in my Starbucks frappuccino during a Target run, but for the most part, I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
I think it’s well known that single-use plastic bags are just plain bad, but I think people often forget that produce bags fall into that category as well. I understand that trying to load an armful of limes onto the conveyor belt isn’t fun, but a bunch of bananas doesn’t require a bag. Plus, you can get reusable produce bags as an alternative.
Plastic wrap isn’t really something I use often unless I’m working with dough. When I started making bread, I realized I was using a ton of plastic wrap. I decided to try out these reusable bees wax wraps and I absolutely love them. They take up less space in the kitchen, plus they again are better for the earth and my bank account because they are reusable.
As a mom, snacks are a must. Actually, snacks have always been a must for me, but that’s not the point. The point is when carry snacks you obviously need something to carry them in. Investing in reusable snack bags (I use these and these) is not only more sustainable, but it will also save you money and storage space. You don’t need to have fancy bags though. Any container with a lid will work and is a step up from the single-use plastics.
Cut Back On Food Waste
Lowering our food waste has been an important goal for me, and it’s one that we are still working on. Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year gets lost or wasted. Here are a couple of the changes we’ve made.
- Sign up for Imperfect Produce. Imperfect Product fights food waste by finding a home for ‘ugly’ produce or produce that there is a surplus of. More than 20% of the fruits and vegetables grown in America never make it off the farm because they don’t fit grocery store standards. Each week we get a customized box of produce that is sourced directly from farms and delivered to our porch for about 30% less than grocery store prices. Once we get the box we plan our meals for the week based on the produce that is available. You can use my link to get $10 off your first box.
- Meal planning and prep. Prepping and preserving your food can really go a long way. I have cut back a ton of food waste by simply planning out the meals for the week. Plus, it saves money and time. On top of meal planning, if I have any extra produce I like to chop up and freeze it to use at a later day.
- Use your food scraps. I use our produce scraps for things like making homemade vegetable broth or citrus cleaner. I like that it puts those items to use and saves me from purchasing those products from the store.
Get A Reusable Water Bottle
This has been a big one for us. For years we would go to the store and buy packs of bottled water to drink. When we moved to Washington three years ago, I made the commitment to give up bottled water. I got a reusable water bottle and get all of my water from the refrigerator. If you don’t have filtered water, try a charcoal water filter stick. They last up to 6 months and can be used as soil fertilizer after.
Go For The Eco-Friendly Alternative
It’s basically impossible to be perfect when shopping for products, but some are better at lowering their environmental impact than others. Here are a few of my favorites:
- For Laundry: I recently discovered Dropps Laundry Pods and I am a huge fan. They are plastic-free and plant-based. Plus they are delivered to your door and a pretty good price. Again, feel free to use my link to get $10 off your first delivery.
- Bras: BoodyWear is a company that makes clothes using bamboo fibers. I got a few bras from them recently and I really like the way they fit and feel. Bamboo is an amazing alternative to many of the fibers used in our clothing. You can read more about that here.
- Sponges: The sponges we get from the grocery store are mostly made of plastic and just sit in landfills after we throw them out. I love these reusable terry cloth sponges from Marley’s Monsters.
- Dishwashing: Dropps also has some great dishwasher detergent pods that are worth taking a look at.
I hope you find some of this helpful. These are all easy changes that I have made personally, without completely disrupting my lifestyle. Remember, doing nothing, changes nothing and even the smallest change can have a huge impact. Happy Earth Day!