I dedicated 2018 towards learning how to live a more sustainable life. When I made this commitment I didn’t know how much I didn’t know, it has been a humbling experience to say the least. I’ve learned to continue learning from others, give myself grace in areas I’m not perfect in, and to just get creative! With that said, here is a quick recap on what I implemented in 2018 and what I hope to do in 2019…
- Cleaned out my closet and simplified my wardrobe
- Was intentional about where I got rid of clothes. Either sold/gave them directly to people or repurposed the fabric for other things around the house.
- Primarily bought clothes used or from sustainable brands.
- Rented formal wear instead of purchasing a piece that would likely be worn once.
- Stopped using single use makeup remover wipes.
- Use cruelty free products.
- Use products with clean ingredients.
- Use products that use recycled packaging, offer recyclable packaging, and/or uses as little plastic as possible). Then actually recycle them when empty!
- Educate yourself on how your city’s recycling works.
- Stopped using disposable wipes and paper towels for cleaning. I now only use washcloths and old t-shirts (that I’ve cut into squares).
- Use more cleaning concentrates with reusable spray bottles.
- Started composting.
- We got a tumbler composter and it’s so dang easy! I’m excited to use this rich compost for our garden in the spring!
- Avoiding buying new home decor when possible by buying used or going the DIY route. Facebook buy/sell/trade pages are my go-to!
- Use reusable dishes instead of single use paper ones.
- Use reusable Tupperware or mason jars instead of Ziplocks for leftovers and lunches.
- For disposable items you just aren’t committed to giving up (like toilet paper and feminine hygiene products), purchase products that are organic and/or made from recycled materials.
- Carry around reusable silverware and straws to eliminate using plastic ones.
- I’ve learned that you specifically have to ask to NOT get all this plastic. I can’t tell you how many plastic straws are in my car’s glove compartment.
- This is a big area that I’m by no means perfect in, but progress over perfection!
- Bring reusable bags with me to the grocery store
- If I ever forgot to bring my bags, I refuse a bag if my purchase is small enough to carry by hand or get paper bags and compost them.
- Use reusable produce bags or no bags at all
- Choose produce that isn’t already prepared and prepackaged.
- Buy in bulk
- While Noah and I don’t go through groceries very fast since it’s just the two of us, I always try to purchase things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, trash bags, etc. in bulk.
- Refuse 2 day shipping when you don’t absolutely need something in 2 days. The slower you allow shipping to take, the more efficient it will be. (Even better, don’t order online if you don’t need to!)
- Choose products that use recycled materials in their packaging.
- Bringing a reusable glass when getting coffee to-go and requesting glass cups when staying (some will give you a to-go cup by default).
- Choosing glass packaging over plastic (when an option, especially relevant with jarred food).
- Use a reusable water bottle while out and about.
- Choose to drive to most gas efficient car when traveling the most (if you have multiple cars in your family).
- For Christmas, I did not use wrapping paper and was mindful to use as little disposable materials as possible.
All in all, I’ve learned that sustainability takes a lot of intentionality. Especially when it comes to making purchases because consumers want options that are fast, convenient, and cheap. BUT, I’ve found that once you get past the initial learning curve, a sustainable life actually simplifies your life and worth every challenge you do face.
Whether you are only intentional about bringing reusable grocery bags to the store or you are very dedicated to living a zero waste lifestyle, every little bit counts and we are all in this together!