Respect Your Mother (Earth): 6 Simple Swaps for More Sustainable Living
If you personally know me you know I'm a huge advocate for saving the planet, recycling, using clean cruelty free products, driving fuel efficient electric vehicles, eating mostly vegetarian/plant-based and combating the effects of global warming. Now that I have become a mother it has become increasingly important that I minimize my carbon footprint and live more sustainable in the hopes of leaving this planet in better condition for my son.
A regularly occurring argument in our household revolves around the fact that I hoard recycling and plastic bags. I was devastated that we didn't qualify for solar panels at our condo and vowed to make it a priority at our next property. Most people wouldn't guess that melting icebergs and rising sea levels keep me up at night since I'm not necessarily "one with nature". I don't hike. I don't have any desire to see a national park or road trip across the country. I don't camp. The difference is I understand how important those activities are to many people. I value the environment and nature even if I choose to live in a major metropolitan city and never sleep in a tent a day in my life. I know how important it is for our ecosystem and mankind's quality of life. It doesn't matter who you are, where you live or what you enjoy. The truth is everyone should care about the health of our planet and working together to make this world better for future generations. I've put together a list of six simple swaps to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Most make my life more convenient! Everything we do has an impact so every little thing counts.
1. Bags Swap: By now most people bring their own bags when they go grocery shopping, but try swapping out plastic one-time use ziplock bags for reusable storage options like these (re)zip lunch bags or Itzy Ritzy snack bags. You'll save money and the environment! Also, try to avoid using plastic produce bags at the store. We don't necessarily think about how that plastic waste adds up and it usually cannot be recycled and isn't biodegradable.
2. Purchase Clean Cruelty Free Makeup, Skincare & Shampoo/Conditioner: This tip is good for the earth and animals! Finding good quality clean, cruelty free makeup can be a challenge, but luckily we did the hard work for you on our Clean Beauty blog post. If you are interested in making the switch we have a list of products we personally use that are the Cruelty Kitty List, Leaping Bunny and/or PETA certified. Most labels are misleading and unfortunately you have to do your own research to really know if what you're buying is truly clean/cruelty free (no animal testing - which means products are not sold in mainland China). Opt for skincare products that are natural, organic, food-grade, sustainable and local. Remember most of what we use on our body, face, and hair gets washed down the drain; directly impacting our water supply. Fun Fact: Be honest, have you ever use St. Ives Apricot Scrub? I feel like we all did at some point. Did you know that the microbeads they used were banned in the United States (2016) because they were actually clogging up our waterways?!?!
3. Make it a Meat Free Monday: A huge trend we fully support is eating less meat. Another swap that is good for the planet and animals! This is one the easiest ways to save the world. By shifting from animal to plant-based meat your diet can positively impact human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare. Our favorite at home meat substitutes are Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. If you're not ready to take the leap from meat eater to pescatarian to vegetarian to vegan start small with one meal or day a week to be meat free. We also challenge you to swap traditional milk for plant/nut based milk.
4. Try Freshness-Extending Produce Products for Less Food Waste: If you are anything like me you are embarrassed by the amount of food waste your household produces. Everytime I clean out the fridge I am mortified. My goal is to start using freshness-extending produce products like bags and containers that should extend the shelf life of our food. Some people swear that washing their produce in vinegar can increase their produce freshness for 10+ days.
5. Invest in Reusable Makeup Remover Pads & Cloths: One of my favorite items that I swear by is The Original MakeUp Eraser. Since buying the cloth I've eliminated the need for additional makeup remover products, traditional wash clothes and disposable cotton balls/pads. It removes 100% of your makeup with just water. Since I don't wear makeup daily I don't need to wash my Makeup Eraser too often even though it lasts up to 1,000 washes. I save money on the need for additional products and have less laundry to do. Also, I don't have to worry if my makeup remover product is tested on animals or is harmful to myself or the environment. Another product that has helped me reduce waste is reusable organic cotton facial rounds. They are perfect for applying toner or micellar water. Bye bye cotton balls and pads! You've been replaced.
6. Eliminate Single-Use Products: Another fun argument in our household is about plastic water bottles. I HATE THEM. They linger half empty throughout the house and quickly fill up our recycling bins. Try eliminating water bottles when you are at home. Boxed water and using water filtering products is more sustainable. Try buying yourself a special water bottle or coffee cup that is reusable. Most coffee shops welcome the use of reusable cups too. As everyone knows plastic straws are not biodegradable and release plastic particles into our soil, air and water. Check if the straw you're offered is eco-friendly or just drink out of a glass like an adult. There is a plethora of options for at home straw use like metal or bamboo straws.
Please note that I do not live a fully sustainable lifestyle. I am far from perfect! There are days I forget my reusable bags when I go shopping. Our family definitely needs to work on our food waste. I order way too much online (thanks Amazon) that contributes to packaging waste. Not all my makeup, skincare, and hair products are cruelty free with sustainable packaging. I just make a genuine effort and try to be conscious of what we can do better. You don't have to make all these changes at once or even ever. Find what works best for you and your family. Always remember there is no act too small and that every little thing we do makes an impact. Earth is the only home we have. We need to start respecting her more.
Happy Earth Day from Hiccups and Heels!
xo - Amanda