I love nature and I am aware that some of the creature comforts I enjoy take a toll on the planet. So, I wanted to start making small moves towards making my carbon footprint smaller. One by one have been loving it every step of the way!
What prompted my interest in living more sustainably? Frankly I got really sick and it was mostly the environment in my home that made me sick. I’ll admit I became a bit hyper aware (hello new plant obsession, but they all detox my environment) but sometimes that’s good to go through a new self education phase…I started to realize how many things I used that I didn’t know what was in them, or how they had been processed, and how each one was having an impact on my body. I was already aware of where my food was coming from but had mostly stopped there. So, I felt if I was aware of my environment and bought smart items I could cut out a lot of the stuff that was seeping into my body through convenience purchases instead of intentional purchases!
First, I made an agreement with myself. I said I was going to use what I had already purchased and that as it ran out I would replace it with a more sustainable option. After my remodel I’m following a less is more philosophy. Have just what I need and life will be simpler and less cluttered and it feels Oh So Good!
Here are the first 10 changes I found easiest to live more sustainably in my home:
Switch Out Dryer Sheets For Dryer Balls.
I love the smell of clothes in the dryer, their scent makes me happy and here in Colorado we sure do have STATIC! This was the easiest change, as soon as my box ran out I started using 3 Woolzies dryer balls with lavender scent. I wasn’t willing to give up my scents quite yet but at least this one was through essential oils. These all-natural balls of 100% organic New Zealand wool contain no fillers, additives, or chemicals and are hypoallergenic and eco-friendly. They leave clothes static free, with less wrinkles, and I especially love how they fluff pillows. They bounce around inside the dryer creating space between laundry items. This allows the hot air to circulate, reducing drying time by up to 25% and saving you electricity and money (more benefits than just a better home environment). They can be used over and over again as they last for up to 1,000 loads.
No More Plastic Wrap.
I made this transition without batting an eye. Find a sustainable food storage wrap that makes you happy! For me it’s Bees Wrap. Wrap cheese, half a lemon, cover a bowl, or pack a snack for your next adventure. Made with organic cotton, sustainably sourced beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Bee’s Wrap is washable, reusable and compostable. They last about a year, but I haven’t gotten to my 1 year mark yet and it’s just me in the household so mine will likely last longer! Through my journey I’ve had my eyes opened to the magical properties of bee products and specifically honey. In fact use it a lot in my skincare regimen and in this product the bee products create natural antibacterial properties that allow the wraps to be used again and again. I also want to love on local sustainable food wrap Khala & CO.
Change All Household Cleaners.
My household cleaners were a hodgepodge of the toughest grease fighting, bleaching, and whatever caught my eye on the grocery aisle. I can’t say I’d ever been super loyal but just wait until you try the stuff I found…I’m hooked. I researched many product lines and I was wanting to reduce one use plastic as well as rid my environment of harmful chemicals. Scientists at the University of Bergen found that cleaning the “house is as bad for women’s lungs as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.” Well I want to keep my lungs, my friends’ lungs, and my animals lungs in tip top shape.
I wanted products that didn’t have harmful chemicals and that worked. Finding a natural cleaning product that didn’t do its job just wasn’t going to cut it. Good thing for me I found the ladies at Supernatural! Finding a product that’s sustainably sourced and with a low carbon footprint was just the cherry on top or as they say about creator Suzy Batiz is a “Earth mama meets clean freak”. On your first order you start with a set of super cute glass spray bottles with boho chic designs and mix their essential oil vials with water. And OMG the smells are sooooo good! The first time my cleaning lady came after I had switched, I told her I wanted to try them but if they didn’t work then to let me know and we’d move on. I checked on her about halfway through and she looked up and smiled and said “I love these! They don’t make my eyes water and cry like the cleaners I usually use and they smell so good.” I smiled and said “But, do they work?” And she said “Better than the usual stuff!” Then, I knew I was set. Want $25 Off? It’s my pleasure.
Decrease Direct Mail.
My mailbox was overflowing and I didn’t know how to stop it. I had tried a do no mail list with no result. But then I found one that worked! I went through my banks and subscriptions and changed them all to paperless. Then, to reduce the targeted mail: 1) Contact CoxTarget to stop receiving Val-Pak coupons. 2)Catalog Choice offers two options: a free service that sends opt-out requests for individual companies that are already marketing to you, and a premium “unlisting” service that, for an annual donation of $20 or more, is designed to remove your name from data brokers who sell your contact information to marketers. 3) You can register online with the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service to remove your name from national mailing lists. The results have been SO amazing. I have a piece of mail or two trickle in every couple of days but it’s nowhere near the waste I was receiving before.
Use Glass Instead Of Standard Plastic Tupperware.
I made the transition from plastic water bottles long ago but when you dig into storing food in plastic the picture is not pretty. So, it’s an easy fix. When your Tupperware gets stained that awkward pink color from spaghetti too many times, reuse it for an art project or storage in the garage, but not for your food!
New Set of GreenPans.
I was using a mix match of pans from college, houses with roommates, etc and they were pretty beat up. So after my kitchen remodel and the new gas range that looks like a throne that only delicious food must be cooked upon…I reached for a new set of pans. The Diamond + Evershine Collection from GreenPan is constructed from upcycled stainless steel and promises to be PFAS, PFOA, lead and cadmium, as well as persistent pollutants with a healthy non stick coating.
Reusable Produce Bags.
I needed to get in a better habit of remembering reusable bags at the grocery store with Colorado starting to charge for plastic and paper grocery bags in 2020, I thought this was a great change too. I added reusable produce bags in my take to the store bundle.
Introducing Natural Air Cleaners:
In the form of house plants! Depending on which houseplants you choose, you can purify the quality of air within your home. This means you are living healthier and have beautiful plants to care for and admire. The easiest ones to get started with are Sansevierias (aka snake plants) purifies air by absorbing toxins through the leaves and producing pure oxygen. In fact, the Sansevieria is an ideal bedroom plant. Whereas most other plants release carbon dioxide at night (in the absence of photosynthesis), the Sansevieria continues to produce oxygen. The second easiest is Pothos and they actually thrive on low light and neglect. These plants serve to purify the air of formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide while also helping eliminate odors. I have been swooning over my favorite planters Wet Pot for multiple reasons…Terracotta is SO in right now and I do love my trends! But more than that the plants water themselves and only take what they need to keep their soil at comfortable levels for them. A favorite local plant nursery who can help you get started is Southwest Gardens.
Use Your Amazon Boxes For Good In The Denver Community.
Through Amazon’s Give Back Box platform, an old box can be used to ship donations to charitable organizations for free. To take advantage of the program simply empty a used Amazon box, refill it with clothing, shoes, appliances, or any other items you wish to donate, and slap a customized shipping label on the front.
Switch To Natural Beauty Products.
I mentioned before I had gotten sick and inflamed well the largest organ of my body, my skin, was not being nourished by my choices. I have always leaned towards European products thinking their guidelines are more in favor of the customer and not the company. I’m just diving into the going toxin free phase, so I decided to pick a company who would do the research for me and I felt like their products were good quality. For me that is BeautyCounter. Plus I’m not the best at pre planning (for items to be shipped) so its nice they have a store at Denver Dairy Block if I need to run in for anything from shampoo to concealer to lotion.
I’m hoping this gets you started on your own journey to having a smaller footprint and making more intentional choices. I love to research items very intensely, pro and con them, then once I choose one I typically stick with it. If this was helpful let me know with a comment and I will continue sharing the rest of my journey towards a more sustainable home.
Other great local resources to get you started: