Hey everyone! My name is Kristina, the E-Commerce Operations Specialist here at LSPACE. For Earth Day this year, I wanted share some of my favorite tips on how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. If you’re like me and suffer from the occasional wave of climate anxiety, making these easy sustainable swaps for everyday goods can help put your mind at ease.
My eco-conscious mindset really started to flourish after watching Netflix’s 2016 documentary, A Plastic Ocean. It was alarming to learn how severe our plastic pollution problem is and how much it’s negatively impacting thousands of species (including humans) around the world. Many of us were taught that if we recycle, we’re doing our part. But the sad truth is that recycling will not solve our plastic problem – the real solution is significantly reducing our plastic consumption and finding sustainable, earth-friendly alternatives.
Rather than agonizing and stressing over this issue, I decided to make a conscious effort to significantly reduce my own consumption over the past couple of years, and not just with plastic. Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly tips for sustainable living that I hope will inspire you:
1. Toilet paper without plastic packaging – I was so happy the day Instagram served me an ad from Who Gives a Crap (yes, you heard that right)! They make 100% recycled toilet paper without the unnecessary plastic packaging and you can buy in bulk with their subscribe & save option.
2. Shampoo & conditioner bars – If you have a low maintenance hair care routine and don’t require any special types of shampoo and condition, try ditching the plastic bottles and make the switch to bars. What I love about shampoo & conditioner bars is that you never run the risk of accidental spills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost good chunks of valuable conditioner down the drain. A few brands I’d recommend trying are Habitat Botanicals and The Earthling Co.
3. Laundry detergent sheets – One day I decided to research laundry detergent options that didn’t come in plastic bottles and found Kind Laundry. Their laundry sheets are plant-based, biodegradable, and come in non-plastic recyclable packaging. If you can’t find a product with a no packaging option, a sustainable packaging option is the next best thing. I highly recommend the Ocean Breeze scent. It smells amazing!
4. Wool dryer balls – Laundry sheets are one of those common household items that get used and tossed frequently. A great reusable alternative are wool dryer balls. They don’t contain the fabric-softening chemicals that can be found in dryer sheets, they’re more economical since they can be used for about every 100 loads, and you can customize the scent with your favorite essential oil. Amazon has a ton of options!
5. Reusable paper towels – Standard paper towels are another frequently wasted item that can be replaced with a reusable alternative. I found the sustainable brand If You Care on Amazon and they’re great! They absorb well, don’t leave fibers on your counters, are easy to clean (hand wash), and are compostable.
6. Reusable utensils and straws – When possible, refuse plastic utensils and straws and utilize your reusable utensils instead. There are hundreds of options online and are usually compact enough to carry in your purse.
7. Reusable water bottles – This is a no-brainer. Thankfully there’s a wide variety of great brands out there to choose from, so unless you have no choice but to take the plastic water bottle, make your reusable water bottle your best friend. Plus, the insulation keeps your beverage cold or hot!
8. Reusable silicone bags – My husband and I visited Sedona back in September and before we ventured out on a long hike, we stopped at Whole Foods to get some snacks and stumbled upon these gems by Stasher. Compared to zip lock bags, these reusable silicone bags are durable, come in cute colors, and are very easy to clean!
9. Eco-friendly phone cases – In my mission to ditch plastic, I discovered Pela which makes compostable phone cases. I love the material (feels like rubber) and they have a nice variety of colors and etched designs to choose from.
10. Bamboo toothbrushes – Can you count how many toothbrushes you used throughout your entire life? Me either, but they’re still out there somewhere; therefore, I no longer purchase plastic toothbrushes and only buy bamboo. The free plastic toothbrushes I get from my dentist office are unavoidable. So, once I finish using those for brushing, I keep them as cleaning tools instead of throwing them away.
11. Pick up trash while you take a walk or hike – If you’ve implemented most of the above sustainability swaps already and are still feeling down about the wellbeing of the environment, I would highly recommend picking up trash on your next stroll or hike and trying to do it at least once a month. My husband and I started our monthly “cleanup strolls” back in October 2020 and we absolutely love it.
At first, it can be a little disheartening when you encounter large amounts of litter during your stroll, but it’s also an instant reminder of how much humans consume, which influences you to make wiser purchase decisions when shopping for common household goods. Another benefit of “cleanup strolls” is it makes you walk slower than you usually would, so in addition to the trash that you’re trying to carefully scan, you end up seeing things you may have not noticed before.
But the best part by far of doing your own little “cleanup stroll”, in my opinion, are the brief, yet meaningful encounters with other people passing by. The most common reactions are, “You guys are awesome” or “Thank you so much for doing that!” Others are astounded that we are choosing to pick up trash on our own time and not as part of an organized group cleanup. My favorite encounters are the ones where you can tell you’ve inspired them. We’ve heard groups walking away saying to each other, “We should do that next time.” We’ve come across many families whose kids get so excited at the thought of being able to do their own cleanup on their next hike.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I didn’t choose to do this for the recognition or praise. We would still 100% do our “cleanup strolls” without any of that. But knowing that we may have inspired even just one person to do the same is such a rewarding feeling. By doing good, we’re hopefully spreading good.
At the end of the day, being eco-conscious is both selfish and selfless. It’s understanding that environmental threats like pollution and over-consumption not only threaten other species, but also ourselves and future generations. Little habit changes like switching to more sustainable products, sustainable packaging, sustainable brands, and being mindful of your consumption may seem insignificant, but imagine the level of impact if an entire region or population were to implement these changes. As the notable natural historian said in his 2020 documentary, David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet, “We just have to do what nature has always done. It worked out the secret to life long ago. In this world, a species can only thrive when everything else around it thrives too.”
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