At the beginning of each year I like to review my personal goals for the next 12 months. This year one of my major goals was to start living a more sustainable lifestyle. As humans we contribute to SO much waste it's insane. I wanted my family to significantly reduce the amount of waste we contribute to our environment. Some things will require major changes, while other (like the ones I'm going to outline in this post) are extremely simple and also cost effective for you!
Each item in this post can be purchased from Amazon! Treat it as your sustainable life starter pack. They are easy ways to make a difference and don't require a huge investment!
HERE ARE MY TIPS:
Start With Your Closet:
It is CRAZY how much money we spend on clothing, but even more crazy how much of it ends up in landfills. If there is a certain fashion piece I want, I try to find it consigned/used before buying it. I would say 90% of closet is consignment pieces. For starters, shopping gently used has saved me a fortune. Just think about how much money you spend on new clothes...yea.
I have a rule: if I haven't worn it after a year, it's time to say goodbye. I start by selling: I list my items on Varage Sale, Poshmark and different buy and sell Facebook groups based on my area. Whatever doesn't sell within a month of the listing date, I let my cousins go through everything and take what they want. Whatever they don't take, I donate to charity.
I either use the money I made from selling my clothes to buy new ones from other users selling their used clothes or go to consignment - or I just bank it!
The big thing is to try and BUY gently used before buying new. It's a much more sustainable cycle - and you will often find unique pieces.
Eliminate Single Use Plastic:
Beeswrap Instead Of Plastic Wrap
Beeswrap is fabric covered in beeswax. With your fingers you can heat up the wax and it molds really well, thus taking single use plastic wrap's place! Wash it under cold water and it lasts for a year!! Wrap cheese, fruit, cover dishes etc. It's super effective.
Silicone/Reusable Snack Bags Instead Of Plastic Zip Lock Bags
Why are you using plastic snack bags still!!! Reusable snack bags are much friendlier on the wallet and they LAST FOREVER. If you're worried about misplacing them because you are forgetful or you have kids - write your name on it. Most of them are dishwasher safe and can easily be cleaned.
Mesh Produce Bags Instead Of Plastic Product Bags
One thing Bryon and I have been really diligent about lately is making sure that we bring mesh produce bags with us whenever we go grocery shopping. Those flimsy plastic bags we use to collect produce is completely unnecessary and extremely wasteful and bad for the environment. I bought a pack of 5 produce bags from Metro, but you can also buy these produce bags from Amazon. They eliminate SO much waste!
Fabric Shopping Bags Over Plastic Shopping Bags
Reusable tote bags have been around for quite a while now, but they are a no-brainer. I know - it's so simple to forget them at home. But I leave a few in our stroller's shopping basket or in the car to ensure we always have a few on hand in case we do some impromptu shopping. And in the event that I don't have one, I say no to a plastic bag if I can. You can buy these at any grocery store, but these ones are great too!
Yes, you read that correctly. We haven't started using these, but I've already made the purchase. I didn't even know these existed until they were advertised to me on Instagram. Most of you have probably seen that photo of the seahorse toting a cotton swab. Where do you think all those cotton swabs that we so careless use end up? Our lakes, oceans, grass, sand, landfills....etc.....These silicone swabs can easily be washed and reused and they don't harbour bacteria. Yay!!
The amount of coffee cups that end up, well, EVERYWHERE, is honestly disgusting. They ARE NOT recyclable. It is such a simple task to use a coffee tumbler. I bought my Rubbermaid coffee tumbler from Wal-Mart and it was probably $10, spill-proof and keeps my coffee hot for a long time. Keep one at work in case you decide to grab a coffee and keep one at home to take on the go! I also recommend this coffee tumbler, and this one too!
Paper, Edible or Stainless Steel Straws
I'm not much of a straw person to begin with, but if I'm at restaurant I make sure they have paper straws. If they don't have paper straws I don't want one. If you do like to have a straw when you're at home, there are so many different types of sustainable straws, from paper, to stainless steel and even edible. Consider one of those before using a plastic straw. Bring your own when you at a restaurant or kindly decline a straw if they use plastic.
We are all guilty of it: using plastic cutlery. We get take out and we grab a fork or a spoon..or a knife. But the reality is, it's not sustainable. I keep my own cutlery at work, but of course if I'm out on the run and I get something at a food truck or somewhere else, I use the plastic cutlery. It's easy to keep a set of bamboo cutlery in your purse or in some type of carry-on (or even in your car!) so you can say no to plastic! This set is a great alternative to plastic cutlery.
This is such a great start to living more sustainably!! I hope this post inspires you to cut back on single use plastics and other wasteful items!