Updated: Feb 11, 2021
Sustainability can seem really intimidating. It is easy to feel like you're not doing enough and getting discouraged into doing even less. I know for me it has always seemed like some people really have it together when it comes to living sustainably. Have you seen those people who can fit all of their waste into a mason jar?! HOW?! I don’t know. That's a lot. Don’t get me wrong, its amazing and I wish we all could do that. But, its a lot. It is hard to go from the wasteful lives we've been living to having zero carbon footprint. And yea, that can be intimidating. I find that once I get overwhelmed I tend to stop completely. I am here to tell you that there are some really quick and easy ways to be more sustainable without getting overwhelmed. These little things should help you feel better about your impact on the planet and will hopefully inspire you to do more. Now, before I start, I want to address that we cannot save the planet until big companies make major changes. Just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Shitty, I know. So yea, it feels like no matter what we do we can't help Mother Earth. But we can do the best we can and hopefully that can make a difference.
I recently stumbled across this company and I was so into their brand. They sell eco friendly, plastic free, household products. For example, for your regular hand soap you would buy one of their bottles. It's glass and reusable. Then any time you need soap you just fill it with water and drop in one of their tablets. The tablets come in a biodegradable packaging and dissolve in the water to create a foaming hand soap. I purchased this for every bathroom in my house. I also got their Clean Suite Kit which includes:
1 Glass Foaming Hand Soap Bottle and 1 Hand Soap Tablet
3 Acrylic Spray Bottles and 3 Cleaning Tablets (Multi-Surface, Glass + Mirror, Bathroom)
1 Silicone Dish Soap Shaker and 16 oz Powder Dish Soap
1 Steel Dishwasher Tablet Tin and 40 Dishwasher Tablets
1 Steel Laundry Tablet Tin and 40 Laundry Tablets
Now each time I need to refill something, lets say laundry detergent, I can just buy more tablets instead of purchasing a big plastic bottle of detergent. I have used detergent pods in the past but those put micro-plastics back into your water. Plus, I have yet to see another one that will sell you just the pods and not another plastic container full of them. The reusable containers from BlueLand are not plastic so even if you decided to go a different way in the future, you could still use them for something different or recycle them knowing you are not contributing to plastic waste.
I would highly suggest checking out this company to learn more about it. It is a good way to switch over your cleaning products / household products in an eco friendly way. Imagine how many windex bottles you would purchase in a lifetime? Now you can reuse one bottle and buy the tablets that are packaged without plastic and have zero waste for life.
2. Bamboo Toothbrushes
Just this month I switched to bamboo toothbrushes. Bamboo is biodegradable and one of the fastest growing plants so we don’t have to worry about it running out. Plastic toothbrushes are bad for the environment and while they might be a bit cheaper, the alternative is much better. I am very money conscious, mostly because I don’t have much. I did some research to find the most affordable bamboo toothbrushes. I found these from Amazon (I know we hate Jeff Bezos but sometimes Amazon is the most affordable option).
3. Metal Straws
This is a super easy one. Metal straws are all over now. I like to buy the ones that fold and come in a little container so that you can throw it in a bag. Now when you go out to eat or hit a drive through you can tell them you don’t need a straw. They're also good for in the house but I feel like people use straws more when they're not home. That's why I like ones like this. I have had mine for a while now and I'm not sure the link for it but I would just search "collapsible metal straw" on google and pick one that seems right for you.
We all know plastic water bottles suck. I'm someone who will refill one several times but that still doesn't make them good. Sure, we could splurge a little and buy a hydro flask and a Brita or something but there will be times where you need to take something on the go and maybe don’t want to have to hold on to it. Which brings me to.. JUST Water.
According to their bottles, JUST cartons are made of 82% renewable content which means 74% less carbon emissions than a plastic bottle. They also pay 6x the municipal water rate to put money back into the local economy. They are a lot more expensive than regular cases of water but you can reuse them a lot. I refill them over and over. Also, if you're in a household with multiple people they have a space to write your name on the bottle so you don’t get them mixed up!
5. Reusing Boxes for Poshmark
Over quarantine I cleaned out my closet and packed 4 tubs FULL with clothes. It took me days but I listed all of them (and some jewelry) on Poshmark. I wasn't much of a Poshmark person before but I am hooked now. I am learning how to sell things quicker and am starting to put more effort into the photos I take. This is a whole different conversation I can go on and on about. Buying off Poshmark in itself is sustainable because you're buying less fast fashion and reusing things that would otherwise end up thrown out. You don’t have to feel so bad about buying things from places like PINK or Forever 21 when you're buying them second hand! Plus, you're saving money and helping put money into the pockets of someone just trying to clean out their closet (or even a small business thrifter) instead of a big business.
But enough about all that, let's talk about how I am taking this one step further. As I have been selling on Poshmark I have obviously needed to ship things out. There are a couple ways to do this; you can buy boxes/padded envelopes online and use those, you could get boxes from the post office (save USPS pls), or you can reuse boxes from purchases you've made.
I choose to reuse boxes because we get enough shipments in my house to keep up with the sales I have been making. Any time someone orders something we put that box/envelope in the garage. I am lucky to have the space for this little operation and I know that some people may not. But if you do, it's a great way to save yourself money and be more sustainable. I know we can recycle cardboard but why not just use the ones we already have? I have boxes of all different sizes from all different types of deliveries and I can usually find a purpose for them when selling on Poshmark.
If you want tips for selling on Poshmark let me know in the comments or on instagram so I can make that for you! New to Posh? I can refer you! DM me!
Check out my closet here.
6. Reusing Containers
This one is something I have talked about before on our page. I always try to reuse containers. My family has always reused those plastic containers you get from takeout. I don’t even think we have ever purchased tupperwear. We use those until they're not great anymore and then recycle them. You would be surprised how long they last! I used to constantly order the COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad and now I use those containers for all sorts of things!
One stores my hair ties, one is filled with coconut oil for after I shower, etc. You may remember that from our instagram post. I know not everything may have a second use, but a lot of times things that seem like trash can really be organizational tools. I used to work at the Apple Store and we had a bunch of these mini robots for the kids to play with. All of them came in small square boxes that they were going to throw out. I took them all and used them in my sock and underwear drawers to organize them! I know people do things like this to organize chargers or gadgets as well. I have "junk drawers" just like everyone else, but mine is organized with boxes or containers from other things! It makes things tidier, saves you money on drawer organizers, and helps the environment by reusing instead of tossing.
I hope this inspired you to make some of these small changes or maybe helped you think of other ways to be more sustainable. I am still learning and adjusting and would love to talk about this further with you all! Please feel free to leave comments, DM us on instagram, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me ways you have gone green or ask questions about any of the topics I listed. Lets all do our part while we can and please remember you are not the villain. Using a water bottle won’t end life as we know it. But the better we can be, the closer we get to change. Hopefully there will be rules in place for sustainability on a larger scale soon.