How Do I Start Or Further My Sustainable Lifestyle Journey?
What stage of your sustainable living journey are you on? What does your eco friendly lifestyle goal look like? Let us delve into some tips, tricks, and suggestions on how to take the next step of your sustainability journey, regardless of where you are. Additionally, you can also buy products or home goods that are made in the USA, sustainably manufactured, and in sustainable packaging.
Furthermore, let us break it down into three categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. But please, do not be discouraged by these three categories and hold back! Additionally, we all start at the same place, new to sustainable living, using eco friendly products or zero waste living. Furthermore, there may be something in the advanced category that intrigues you which you may want to implement in your Natural Organic lifestyle. These categories are merely our way of breaking down products and lifestyle changes by the difficulty of making that change. Here are some of our favorite simple changes below!
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Sustainable Living - Beginner
Are you new to sustainable living? If so, let us look at some of our favorite and easy-to-implement ways to make your life more eco friendly. Further, several of these involve reducing single-use waste products. Therefore, we recommend you start with some of the things which are easier to implement.
Many of these involve reducing single-use waste – so we suggest you start by creating a “waste audit” in your home and analyzing where you generate the most non-recyclable trash.
Become Eco Friendly
The best place to start is by thinking about what kinds of single-use products you are using in your home and life. For example, if you visit a coffee shop every morning, you can easily switch to a single-use cup. Plus, if you rely on plastic wrap or paper towels you can easily upgrade to reusable options! Even though reusable options have a higher upfront cost, over time, they will save you money.
Furthermore, there are so many single-use swaps to include, but we will include some of our favorites here:
The Three Rs Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Have you ever heard of – reduce, reuse, recycle? It sounds simple, and it can be.
Start With Reducing. What this means is reducing, across the board, the number of items you purchase and use. For example, if you already have eight pairs of shoes, do not buy another! By no means does this does not mean you have to go full minimalism, but rather decreasing the amount of impulse buying. Further, this will help reduce waste, and you will save money.
Next, let’s reuse what we own! Reducing is very similar to our single-use swaps, but reusing is focused on extending the life of the products you use in your home. For instance, rather than throwing that plastic food storage container you got with takeout or from a friend, wash it and reuse it over and over! Likewise, this applies to that plastic spoon you unintentionally got with your food or food delivery. Besides, you can also find creative ways to repurpose items that you cannot use again for their original purpose. For example, you can easily use toothbrush handles as planter pot mixers
Last but not least, recycle! Most cities have recycling collections – find out what can be recycled and start recycling. Recycling is easy to do and what is nice is it gives used products a new life and keeps garbage out of our landfills! For more information read our blog, Natural Living For Healthier Living and Better For The Environment.
Update: I recently moved into a new home. My new home needs some upgrades, a fresh paint job among other things. Instead of buying new bathroom cabinets, I opted to upcycle them by putting a coat of fresh chalk paint on the cabinets. Let me tell you they look fantastic. Plus instead of spending over $1200. for a master bath cabinet, it only cost me somewhere around $260. to do a small renovation.
Cleaning + Laundry Sustainable Products
When it comes to living a sustainable lifestyle, an area we need to give more thought to, cleaning and laundry, because they can be wasteful with unsustainable plastic packaging. Plus, cleaning and laundry products can contain potentially harmful toxins. Also, when it comes to cleaning products, buy dish soap, an all-purpose cleaning spray that is packaged in refillable glass spray bottles, sustainable packaging. Hence, they will be plastic-free, toxin-free. Similarly, buy brushes, gloves, and tools made from eco-friendly material such as Swedish dishcloths for cleaning rather than paper towels. Another great option is to use trash bags made from recycled materials to use in place of plastic bags which may end up in the ocean.
For laundry, swap out single-use dryer sheets (irritate the skin, synthetic fragrance) for reusable dryer balls. Additionally, you can add several drops of essential oils to your dryer balls for a fresh or customized fragrance smell. When buying laundry detergent or powder, be sure it is high quality and toxin-free ingredients. For instance, you can use a plastic-free stain stick for spots!
Sustainable Lifestyle And Personal Care Routine
Our personal care routine may be producing more waste than we think! For instance, did you know that flexible plastic shampoo, conditioner, or body care bottles are not recyclable? As a result, when you buy hair, body, skin, and oral care personal care products look for sustainable packing or plastic-free alternatives that contain biodegradable ingredients! For instance, when it comes to oral care, the classic bamboo toothbrush works and can use toothpaste tabs that come in sustainable packaging glass.
For better health, use an aluminum-free deodorant, and they come in compostable or recyclable materials instead of plastic. When you buy hair products look for refillable options. As far as skin care goes, we love ethical brands that are packaged in sustainable packaging like glass. Eventually, you and your family will get used to shifting your personal care routine, plus the result is better products and less waste! Switch from conventional beauty products to the best eco friendly beauty brands, natural beauty that are safe for you and the environment.
Sustainable Living - Intermediate
Our intermediate recommendations are for those who have already implemented the basic single-use swaps and are looking to expand a bit more, require more time, energy, or planning. We suggest you do what works for you.
Micro Plastic Pollution
Micro plastic pollution is a growing crisis; our oceans and waterways are becoming filled with tiny (or even microscopic) plastic particles, including drinking water. These particles are produced by degrading plastic pieces; or by items like microbeads from personal care products. For starters, avoid buying products that contain microbeads; these microbeads are predominately found in personal care products like some scrubs. Moreover, you can help reduce the number of microbeads released by buying clothes made from natural fibers, not synthetic ones like nylon that can wash off plastic micro threads in the wash. The Cora Ball or the Buppyfriend is a laundry microfiber catching medium; for synthetic clothing you do have, use a laundry microfiber catching medium that captures micro threads. In addition, for any small trash pieces, like bread ties when instead of tossing them in the trash, make an “ecobrick” by storing them in something with a lid like a plastic bottle. Learn more about what you can do with an ecobrick.
Sustainable Lifestyle And Grocery Shopping Store
First, next up on your sustainability journey is going to the grocery store. To start, replace plastic bags by buying or making reusable grocery bags and reusable produce bags; as far as the packaging of the items you purchase, buy items packaged in paper, cardboard, metal, or glass rather than plastic, sustainable packaging. Additionally, when available buy bulk and concentrated cleaning products. Shop your local farmers market, therefore supporting local farmers, organic produce, produce in season and healthier foods and better for the planet. At any rate, there are many organic and grass fed meat delivery, produce delivery and grocery delivery companies that ship foods in sustainable packaging.
Fast fashion is an astonishingly wasteful industry, generating eight percent of the world’s carbon emissions. To offset this, decrease or stop purchasing poorly manufactured clothing, especially those made of nylon, spandex, or other synthetic fibers, which contain petroleum. When you buy new clothes, buy from ethical companies, or shop second-hand stores instead. Buy higher quality sustainable fashion that will last a lifetime instead of fast fashion or cheaply made home items your homestead will be a lot more sustainable!
Sustainable Living - Advanced
The advanced sustainability living label is just that, a label. We call this category advanced because some of the things on this list are time-consuming but are doable. Once you get started, things will flow.
Use TerraCycle Boxes
It is nearly impossible to go 100 percent zero waste since there will always be items in your household that cannot be recycled or composted. For things that are not recyclable or compostable, take a look at TerraCycle Boxes! TerraCycle collects hard-to-recycle items and does it for you; they have some free take-back programs (find those here), but also offer boxes you can purchase and fill in your home. How it works, buy the box, fill it, and mail it to them, divert your trash from our landfills!
Avoid Food Waste
Americans toss out approximately 133 billion tons of food every year, most of which sits in our landfills generating greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing food waste can be tricky, but it is worth it! Save money and prevent your food and produce from spoiling. To start, buy food storage containers that will extend the life of your produce, leftovers, plus store them correctly. Work on portion control, start meal prepping, and of course, eat or upcycle your leftovers.
Sustainable Lifestyle And DIY Recipes
If you are a DIYer a.k.a do it yourself, save money and resources by making or making or creating natural cleaning products, best sustainable beauty products or bath products, and much more. There are a million ways you can DIY, but some of our favorite picks are making your nut milk with a nut milk bag, making homemade tortillas with a tortilla press, or baking fresh organic bread and storing it in a bread bag! Other DIY projects you can take on are furniture, crafts, green cleaning products, and so much more. You can make it a family affair and involve your kids, so they start young.
The takeaway, living a sustainable lifestyle looks different for all of us. What is important is that you are trying and being mindful of your impact on the planet. We hope our beginner, intermediate, and advanced tips will spark some interest and ideas, how you will start your sustainable lifestyle journey. Plus, whenever possible use organic and natural products. Finally, buy products in sustainable packaging whenever possible.