We all want to preserve the Earth’s beauty. Many of us go through life wishing we could do more for the environment without realizing how easy that can be. Some of the things we do every day are causing so much harm to the Earth’s oceans, marine life, as well as life on land. By making a handful of small changes, we can DRASTICALLY change the impact we have on the planet. We’ve all learned habits out of convenience and ignorance, but once we begin to see beyond the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns, we can learn to live more consciously for the greater good of all. Today I want share with you five simple ways to live more eco friendly. I want you to keep in mind that it is very easy to want to go out and purchase new, eco-friendly versions of things we already have. The truth is, if we HAVE items to use at the moment, the most ethical and eco friendly thing to do is use those until it is time to replace them, and THEN invest in a more sustainable choice. That may not seem as exciting at first but trust me, an old piece of tupperware you’ve had since high school may turn in to your new favorite thing if you give it a chance. Ok now let’s get to the list!
# 1 Shop In Bulk
Most of us live near at least one store that sells some items in bulk. If we can commit to purchasing our rice, beans, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and other common items in bulk, we reduce the amount of packaging garbage on the planet tremendously. Also, when you shop bulk you can bring your own reusable bags or jars. When I use jars, the store measures the weight of an empty jar before I shop which makes it easy to know the cost when I’m finished.
# 2 Invest In A Reusable Straw
By now you may have seen a documentary or read an article on how much plastic is in the ocean, but straws alone make up an enormous part of it. Think about how many straws the average person uses in a week. Even if I am not eating out, I stop for drinks pretty frequently. When I do, I always want a straw. I personally love straws. I feel like drinks taste colder when sipped through a straw, which may just be in me head, but I am convinced. This photo shows a plastic straw that I purchased before I began my conscious journey and while plastic is very bad for the planet, the ethical thing to do at this point is to use it and the other one I own until they die. I love the stainless steel straw I have the most. You can purchase your own (very affordable) set, complete with a cleaning utensil here.
# 3 Learn To Use Cloth Napkins
I was speaking with a friend earlier about how bizarre it is that we have been trained to purchase paper towels. Besides the amount of waste they create, they also cost money! We tend to go through them quickly, especially in homes with little ones and/or pets. The fact is, we do not neeeed paper towels. I currently still like to have a roll on hand as a security blanket, but it is always put away. My go to for meal time or clean ups in a reusable, cloth napkin or towel. Photographed below it a set I purchased from Anthropology. I really enjoy the look of this set but they are never used when dark sauces (like spaghetti sauce) is involved. I have another set that I bought for 25 cents a piece at a thrift store. I love those ones as well for the mere fact that someone else broke them in and are now insanely soft. Those are photographed too, along with my thrifted apron that I’ve had since 10th grade ceramics. Using an apron while cooking helps with the mess as well without having to create trash. The beauty in this is that all of these items can simply be washed and reused. If you don’t have napkins like these to use at the moment, I highly recommend searching thrift store and/or using old clothing, cut into squares or rectangles.
# 4 Carry Reusable Bags
I’m not going too say it’s easy, but getting in the habit of using cloth bags is a MUST if we want future generations to experience the ocean and the planet that we know today. This habit was so hard to build for me because I can be very spontaneous with plans. I’ve gotten to the point where I must keep two in my car and bring one to two with me in my bag whenever I leave the house. I mean, it’s serious. Wallet, Phone, Keys, REUSABLE BAGS. I promise that once you begin to purge your use of plastics (especially single use ones) it is painful, PAINful, when you are in a situation where you feel obligated to use it . . . but that only helps boost the new habit into effect more. When you can go a full day completely plastic free, you just feel cleaner and more in tune with nature. You can see that look of pure joy in the photo below . . .
# 5 Bring Your Own To-Go Box
Last year for my boyfriend’s birthday, in the midst of his other gifts I purchased him a stainless steel bento box. Honestly, it was one of those things that I had wanted for so long, I purchased it thinking, “if he doesn’t like this, it’s mine.” To me, it seemed like it could be perceived as sort of a lame present but to my surprise Michael LOVED it. He loved it when he opened it, and then fell even more in love with it when we went out to our favorite Indian restaurant and he got to use it for the first time. Apparentlyyyy, these things are just cool in general. For those who don’t know Styrofoam is not even biodegradable, so the stuff is literally evil. I believe that saying no to styrofoam for the rest of one’s life is one of the most noble things a human can do. Besides, it feels amazing to be able to refuse Satan in the form of a man made material all because YOU came PREPARED. Next time you go out to dinner, bring any reusable container you have! If you are interested in the one I use with built in compartments, you can peep it here.
My dream is that you feel empowered by this post. If by chance it seems overwhelming, just know that choosing to take these changes on one at a time is still so incredibly powerful and positive and that you alone are making a HUGE difference. When it comes to using theses items, I try to plan ahead and even bring them all with me if I need to. When I go out to eat, I bring my own straw and napkin, inside of a reusable bag with my . . . I mean, Michael’s, bento box. How ever many years you’ve been alive is how long you’ve been engraining bad habits into your daily routine, so don’t be surprised if any one of these takes months or years to get down pat. Consciousness in key and consciousness takes practice and time. Living a kinder, more gentle lifestyle, starts with being kind and gentle to yourself 🙂 Thank you for reading!
With Love and Compassion,