For the month of September I had made the decision to challenge myself to only buy second-hand and sustainable products. With this, I implemented many low-waste habits such as non-single use plastics and products with minimal to no packaging.
For many, this lifestyle seems unattainable. But I am here to tell you, you do not need to change your ENTIRE life to make a change. Just a few small changes/swaps can make a huge impact.
I have listed these fairly easy swaps that you can do right now, today!
Cloth Napkins & Handkerchiefs
I always thought cloth napkins were for fancy people, or nice restuarants like Olive Garden *haha*
Seriously, they’re larger, they’re more durable and they are a one-time purchase!!
Okayyy, napkins are like a dollar but who wants to run to the store for n napkins or spend a dollar on one-time use paper? Not me. That dollar could be going into your child’s savings or your morning cup of coffee (in your reusable mug of course).
Jars and Reusable Bags
These are a given. We all know to use reusable bags.
But what if you forget and have to purchase a plastic bag? It happens, don’t sweat it.
Just REUSE IT. I keep a pile of the plastic reusable bags in my car in case I forget one of my cute reusable bags.
Also, the plastic produce bags in the veggies and fruits sections. Yeah, we often forget about those. Instead of running out and purchasing reusable produce bags, I started reusing the bags I already had from my previous grocery store runs. I bring them when I go grocery shopping, that way I don’t have to grab more.
I also always grab the glass version of anything I buy. Reusing glass jars from pasta sauce are the best. You will never have to go out and buy those expensive mason jars.
Eco-Friendly Dish Brush
Although I encourage to buy products made from completely natural resources, sometimes you gotta deal the hand that was given to you.
I didn’t buy a 100% bamboo dish brush but I made the conscious decision to buy one that was made sustainably. Considering the great reviews and the sustainability features, I have to say I am extremely happy with it.
Now I have been a ride or die for Keurig since the beginning of time. But after learning the waste it produces and the amount we spend every week for these little pods of plastic, I was happy to let go of it.
Yet I had a French press and hardly ever used it, out of pure laziness of course. After using it now, my coffee tastes better and my bank is fuller!
No I’m not going to tell you to buy a bamboo toothbrush.
Instead, we brush our teeth with recycled hemp and money. That’s right dolla dolla bills ya’ll!
I respect the bamboo movement, I just didn’t feel a straight head brush they provide would cut it for me. So I chose this toothbrush for the silky soft bristles and the wide brush head.
I’m not going to lie, I was a huge body wash girl. I never blinked an eye at bars of soap.
When the beginning of September began, I made it a point to not repurchase liquid soaps.
On our trip to Idyllwild in July, I had boughten some bars of soap. One of them was Calendula Dandelion by Sallye Ander company-who I ultimately fell in love with. I had tried it for my face and it did nothing for me. As it sat in my bathroom untouched till September, I finally decided to use it on my body. MUCH BETTER.
Because Calendula is so good for dry skin, I also use it on my daughter; who has had minor skin problems since birth. Not only does she come out clean and soft, the scent is so not overbearing which is huge cause for skin breakouts in both adults and babies.
I also use the No-Bite Me because I am breakfast, lunch and dinner to bugs. So far, I haven’t gotten bit YAY!
I use Hogwash for stains when I do laundry. This soap has been my best friend since Violet started crawling. Those pesky dirt marks on her leggings, gone!
Fabric Shower Curtain
This is another household item we don’t think much about. Yet, its impact on the environment is just as crucial as our decision to not use plastic water bottles.
I was vegetarian before but I chose to go vegan. My love for animals has always been the main reason for a no-meat diet and the environment came second.
I read somewhere that the best thing a vegetarian & vegan could do is to continue to educate themselves. That’s exactly what I did and when I found out the truth behind the dairy and egg industry, I was in tears for weeks. I mean WEEKS.
Just like many people, it wasn’t that I had no clue, I just decided to not pay attention to it. Because I didn’t want to know the horror. That’s the honest truth. I purposefully lived in ignorance because “ignorance is bliss”.
If it wasn’t for me challenging myself in September, I would have never faced the ugly truth.
Although my husband is still neither vegan or vegetarian, he has reduced his meat consumption. I understand his point of view and respect his lifestyle as I would you if this is something you can’t bring yourself to do. Just reducing your meat consumption makes a huge impact!
You ever wonder what you can do with all of your food scraps you throw out?
Well with just a few Pinterest searches I learned there is so much you can do with food scraps! From making your very own vegetable broth, regrowing vegetables and making more food!
The possibilities can truly be endless.
Before purchasing anything packaged, I try to buy anything I can reuse or recycle. Even if it’s plastic, because sometimes plastic is unavoidable.
My favorite way to reuse certain plastics is using them as Tupperware. This is especially handy if I make dinner for family and send them with leftovers. I don’t have to worry about sending my glass!
Before looking for anything *new* I scavenge thrift stores first. You can actually find *new* items for far less than the original price.
Don’t have time to hit the store fronts? No worries.
Because we live in a world ran by technology, there are online second-hand shops like ThredUp, Ebay, even Craigslist. So you can shop wherever and whenever.
Don’t want to spend any money? Ask around. Friends and families are great places to start. Then you can bother your neighbors *wink*
Wash Cloths, Cotton Swabs and Cloth Wipes- made with baby’s receiving blankets
♦Cloth Wipes Recipe by Renee Dixon from HubPages
Air Freshener- Sustainable Shelbi Recipe
Cleaning Solution- just equal parts water and vinegar. You can up the vinegar solution by putting lemon peels sitting in vinegar for 1-2 weeks. Remove the peels and add the equal parts water and vinegar to your spray bottle.
♦More vinegar cleaning recipes- 9 Powerful Vinegar Cleaning Solutions
I know this was a lot of information to take in. But don’t let this scare you and throw out all of your plastics today. That defeats the purpose. Remember to shop consciously and reuse what you have. The fact that you are reading this with the interest in making one of these swaps means a lot.
I made these changes over the course of almost 2 months. And I am still making steady changes. I know that living a low waste lifestyle is a long journey. One I am willing to take for a cleaner Earth.
We as consumers have the power and can change the way companies run their business. It’s happened before and we can continue to demand what we feel is safe for our families and better for our planet.
Never give up.
“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change.”- Greta Thunberg