*Disclaimer: I wrote this post back in October 2019 and lots has changed since that time. Although I have and still plan on putting some of these new practices in place, it’s also important to be realistic of the world we currently live in. Do what is best for you and your family during this time, but if nothing else, I hope this post inspires you to make eco-friendly changes in your home if/when you’re okay to do so.
Learning about how to preserve our planet is something I’ve become pretty passionate about. My husband and I love watching documentaries and we’ve stumbled on a few that made me stop and think afterwards. One series we’ve watched was called Broken. There was an episode about recycling – something I thought Shaun and I were good at until viewing this.
I am making it my mission to become as environmentally friendly as possible in our household so we can be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem. Plastic in our oceans, plastic on the sides of the roads, and single use plastic items everywhere we turn – how did we let this happen to our planet? Below I share some small changes that Shaun and I have made (or will be making) in our home to help eliminate waste. They are not the biggest changes, but I truly believe baby steps are still steps in the right direction.
- Plastic bags. Just stop using them (although during this very strange time, if using them makes you feel safer, do what you need to). If reusable bags are something you haven’t changed yet, you can purchase heavy duty ones almost anywhere now and bring those with you on your shopping trips. Bring them grocery shopping, when shopping at malls, and even to Home Sense (or opt for no bag at all and carry your items out with you if you can). It is (in my opinion) one of the easiest changes we can make. I keep my re-usable bags in my car so that I always have them with me when I’m out. Remembering to bring them back to my car is a whole other story but I’ve started to combat that by putting them by my shoes for the next time I leave (thank you mother-in-law for that tip, lol). Using cloth bags makes me feel good that we’re helping the planet.
- Further to using re-usable shopping bags, how about those thin, plastic produce bags that we use to put our fruits and veggies in and throw out once we’re home? Re-usable produce bags are a thing and I love it! You can find some cute ones from the Etsy shop, LazyBeeByDestiny. Such a simple change with great impact!
- Speaking of grocery shopping, let’s think about how we purchase our herbs and spices. Right before this pandemic happened, I was going to begin participating in Bulk Barn’s Reusable Container Program to start refilling our spices and herbs. Think about all those plastic jars we purchase for those items to just repurchase again and again. I absolutely love this program and when the world gets back to a normality, we’ll definitely be taking part in it.
- Re-usable coffee mugs are the next thing I’ve tried to change. When going to get a coffee in the morning, leave a few minutes earlier and opt for going in the store instead of the drive-thru to give them your re-usable mug for your drink. In doing this, we help eliminate single use coffee cups that end up on the ground outside and never decompose. Or, to save the planet and your money, just make a coffee at home in your thermal mug – win win! Nespresso also has a great program that helps with recycling single use coffee pods.
- Cleaning products. So many of our cleaning products come in single use plastic containers holding harsh chemicals. If possible, try and research other cleaning alternatives to sparkle your home that aren’t so chemical heavy. A local brand called Lemon Aide is one I have been using for a while now. They use lemons and harvest their natural antibacterial power with essential oils and I mean, enough said. I absolutely LOVE their multi purpose and floor cleaner. My home smells so incredibly fresh and is so clean after I use these products. My goal is to eventually get their whole line to begin replacing current brands that are more harsh on the environment.
- Dryer sheets. I grew up thinking these were essential to doing laundry. You didn’t put a load in the dryer if it didn’t have a dryer sheet in it. I have seen these wool balls circulate my social media feeds for a while now and it wasn’t until I watched that plastics episode on Netflix that made me want to make the change from sheets to wool balls. I purchased 3 wool balls and a small bottle of essential oil to replace these sheets. The drying time is cut in half and you don’t need to throw out a sheet after that just ends up in the landfill! I was also told that dryer sheets create a film on your filter which is a fire hazard and I mean, no thank you. Look into wool ball options for your dryer, you can find them everywhere now! I bought ours from Saje.
- Ceran wrap. Guilty as charged, I use this for everything. This is one of my harder ones to cut out but in doing some research I noticed there are plenty compostable wrap options that you can use as an alternative. Goldilocks has great options and they’re also super cute! Give them a peak and see if you can make this change in your home. Once we finish our stash at home we’ll 100% be making the switch to these. Also, zip lock bags – don’t use them if you don’t have to. You can actually purchase re-usable ziplock bags or glass containers and start putting your nuts and treats in there. Problem solved!
- Paper Towels. This one seemed super hard for me to give up before I came across an alternative. I use paper towels almost every day. They’re easy and super convenient, but what the heck, what a waste, right? For a switch, try using a reusable cloth that you can wash and reuse. I found a great local company called Ten and Co that makes incredibly cute ones and will be purchasing a few from them shortly. They replace up to 17 rolls of paper towel, can be used up to 200 washes, and finally, they can be composted after they’ve had their run!
- For all my makeup lovers, who else uses cotton pads religiously? I found these re-usable cotton pads from CheeksAhoyHandmade and they’re a dream! No more throwing out a cotton pad everyday and you can easily toss these in with your laundry to re-use. Buying more than one pack would help with rotating and washing them.
- Research your area/region for what you can/cannot recycle. We live in Oakville and I went to halton.ca to see how we can better our recycling at home. Some things were surprising and some we already knew but research never hurts, so find out how your area recycles and jump on board.
I began this sustainable living journey after watching that episode on Netflix and really paid attention to what was in our home that was wasteful. It was mind blowing to zone in and notice all the single use items we had. I also found the cutest local shop called The Kind Matter Company that is literally down the road from our home that I will be making part of my shopping trips. They have a great variety of sustainable living items, and they’re all super cute, too.
Again, I know the world is upside down right now and sustainable living might not be on the top of everyone’s list and it’s completely understandable. I wanted to still post this though to bring awareness to it all and to maybe just start the conversation for when we’re back up and running.
Tell me, are there things you already do to make your home eco-friendly or are you new to the game like we are?