Switching to a more eco-friendly lifestyle can be intimidating. When I first started making the switch I often thought: "Where do I start? What do I need? Will it make a difference? Does it even matter? Is it going to be expensive? What is worth investing in and what isn't?"
Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way:
1. Spend some time in nature
I found this tip especially helpful to help connect you to nature and to a purpose. It grounds you in the knowledge of why you're wanting to live more eco-friendly which is ultimately to protect the health of ourselves, as well as the health of the planet.
2. Turn Off and Unplug
Whenever you are not using something in your house such as electricity or appliances, be sure to turn them off or unplug them as to not waste energy meaninglessly.
3. Borrow Instead of Buying
Search around town for local clothes/toy swaps. Host a get together with friends and ask them to bring clothes/ items they no longer use and spend some time trading items. This helps drastically reduce waste and puts a bit of a halt to fast fashion and items ending up in the landfill.
4. Use Canvas Bags instead of Plastic Ones
Bringing your own canvas bag to the grocery store not only allows you to carry more items, but they are something that can be used over and over again instead of needing to purchase plastic bags each and every time you go. I keep bags in the back of my car so I am always ready when I need them. Not only can canvas bags be used for groceries but they can be used for carrying/toting almost anything else!
5. Use a Reusable Cloth instead of Paper Towel
Paper towel is one of the most wasteful paper products in our kitchens, and one that can easily be replaced with a sponge cloth. One sponge cloth can replace up to 17 rolls of paper towel. I especially love the swedish sponge cloths from Ten & Co because once they are finished being used (they can last up to 1 year), you simply toss them into your compost bin. There is nothing more sustainable than that!
6. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
We are going back to our elementary school days with this one. Let's reduce the amount of stuff that we use/acquire, reuse what we can and opt to repair items wherever possible, and recycle or compost what cannot be reused.
7. Choose Local and/or Organic Products When Possible
What you put in and on your body has a huge effect on your health, even if it doesn't seem that way. Many of our chronic health issues can be linked to chemicals in the products we use and the food that we eat. Opt to choose local (most nutrient dense and hasn't travelled far) and/or organic whenever you can to nourish your body.
8. Invest in Quality
When switching to more eco-friendly and sustainable products, you will notice that they are often more expensive than their disposable counterparts. This is because the piece you are investing in can be reused over and over, therefore the material that is being used has to be both durable and made from sustainable resources. When comparing pricing, it's best to calculate the cost per use of each product.
1 roll of Bounty paper towel costs approx. $1.75
$1.75 for 82 sheets
Let's assume you use 2-4 sheets per day (this is a conservative number), this will last you about a month.
So over a year, you will spend approximately $21-$25 on paper towel.
1 Swedish sponge cloth lasts up to 1 year and are approximately 6 dollars each. Even if you used 2, that is only $12 and you have created zero waste as well as saved money.
Overall, switching to a more eco-friendly lifestyle can feel intimidating, but if you break it down to smaller, actionable steps, it is much more attainable.
The upfront cost may seem a bit more but over time you actually end of saving money while also protecting the environment.
Lastly and for the record, your choices absolutely matter and you are making a huge difference by the sustainable choices that you are making.