It is important now more than ever to consider making sustainable swaps in your home. This Earth Month, I am reflecting on ways that I can be more intentional about how I am living that I would love to share! There really are countless ways to reduce our footprint, and maybe if we start with just a few, we can grow into being advocates for sustainability and help others as well! Many of my swaps are money-savers, too, as using less often results in saving more money. Keep reading for how I am consciously working on sustainability in my home.
1. An easy way to reduce packaging is to buy items in bulk that you know you will use. Bulk items are typically cheaper too, so win, win :)
2. Anytime I receive a gift, I tend to keep the bag, wrapping paper, tissue paper and ribbon. I store it as neatly as I can and pull it out whenever I need it. Yes, I do have a bag of bags, and you should too! This not only saves a crazy amount of paper but also a crazy amount of money!
3. Instead of using bottle after bottle of body wash and hand soap, why not switch to bar soap? Bar soaps are just as effective as liquid soap in removing bacteria, and bar soaps are typically made with less chemicals. My next goal is to transition to shampoo bars!
Stop Single Use
If you were to take note throughout your day on how many things you use just once and then throw away, I bet many of us would be shocked! There are so many easy ways to stop using single-use items. Here are just a few I have been focusing on:
1. Using old towels or cut up t-shirts for cleaning and spills instead of paper towels or disinfecting wipes.
2. Unsubscribe from magazines that just get tossed without reading, or opt to read your subscription online.
3. When ordering take-out food, remember to request no cutlery/napkins so you don't end up having a drawer full of them that eventually get tossed out.
4. Stop using paper coffee cups. Most coffee shops will fill your thermos and some even give discounts for bringing a reusable cup!
5. I love bringing reusable grocery totes to the store. The amount of plastic bags we go through is mind-boggling! It is such a simple swap and one of the most impactful.
6. On the same note, reusable food bags for lunches and snacks are extremely impactful. Thinking back to when I was in grade school with all of my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I threw out at least a bag per lunch. Now with the invention of the sealable silicone bags, this waste no longer needs to happen.
Do Your Research
There are many companies that are trying hard to do good by sourcing responsibly, using ethical and fair trade products, or by donating a portion of proceeds to causes that matter to them. Often, they get out-marketed by big name products. Our spending dollars matter, and we can use our voices at the grocery store or when online shopping. Taking a few minutes to learn a bit about the companies to whom we are investing in is a great way to bring sustainability into our homes.
For items like seasonal décor, party supplies, and costumes, thrift stores and garage sales are awesome for getting single-use decorating supplies cheaply. I purchased all of the flower vases for my wedding from different thrift stores, and then ended up selling them again at my family garage sale the next year! It feels great not to spend loads of money on these types of things. The same goes for trendy items that will come and go out of style quickly.
Eat Less Meat
This one is tough for many of us. It's a staple in American cooking and holidays are even centered around eating a certain type of meat. Unfortunately, the amount of energy and resources behind that pound of beef at the store is more than many of us realize. Understanding how farming impacts the environment, and where our meat is coming from is extremely important. There is a global movement called Meatless Monday that challenges us to skip meat just once a week. These baby steps DO work as more and more people get behind them, and I encourage anyone reading this to join in! Click here if you're interested in learning more.