5 Tips to be Less Wasteful!
“You only have two homes: your body and your planet. So, it’s important to take care of both.”
Today’s blog post is all about simple, realistic ways to reduce your footprint on our beautiful Mother Earth. I think being “environmentally conscious” can carry a very scary and heavy stigma with it. However, I’ve found the opposite to be true! Every single thing you can do to help the Earth is a win for both yourself and our environment, and more often than not, you can do your part very easily in your day to day life! So, here are 5 tips on how to be less wasteful in your everyday routine without even realizing that you’ve become an environmental champion! Trust me, both of your homes will thank you!:)
Tip #1: Become more aware of the little wastes in your day-to-day life.
We all waste so many little things each day that have just become our routine lives. For example, I LOVE coffee. Every time I go into a coffee shop, I’d order my drink, go over to the condiment station, add some cinnamon *my favorite secret coffee ingredient:)* and then grab a plastic stirrer. I would stir my coffee, throw away the stirrer and never blink twice! Why in the world did I use the plastic stirrer instead of a real spoon that the coffee shop provided, which could easily just be washed after my three stirs?
Because life is routine.
Because that was my pattern. I never realized how many stirrers in my young 22-year old life that I had wasted until I really sat there and thought about it… it was a lot! Now, I carry at least one reusable utensil *usually a spoon to mix my coffee* with me in my purse, bag, etc.! It is so easy and in the end adds up to save a TON of waste when you eat or drink out a lot!
Take a moment to reflect on your routine life. See where and what are little wastes that you don’t even think twice about! Another example for me was paper towels. Whenever I’d be in the kitchen cooking and I would wash my hands, I would instinctively grab a paper towel, dry my hands, and throw the paper towel away. Why I didn’t dry my hands with the perfectly good kitchen towel that hung on our stove day in and day out?
Routine baby, routine.
Check yourself in your routine. See what do I use habitually that I could easily change. We don’t mean to be wasteful sometimes, but rather fall into habitual patterns of convenience. Now, I subconsciously make sure that after I wash my hands, I grab the perfectly good towel in our kitchen to dry them and over time that will become your new habit, which is the goal of all of this, change in small ways and sit back as the large impact helps our planet.
Tip #2: Nobody ever said being beautiful was easy or environmentally friendly.
The beauty industry THRIVES off consumer interest and trendiness. This means that they’re constantly producing, selling, and pushing new products in and on our faces. Is that bad? I would say it could be better, but it’s also something that has become the industry.
However, you don’t have to buy into it that way.
For me, I have found a few tricks to reduce my waste when it comes to the beauty industry and its products. First, I’ve gotten rid of makeup wipes once and for all! Makeup wipes, single-use products, etc. are incredibly wasteful! We pull a wipe out, use it once, toss it! That adds up A LOT! Instead, purchase some micellar water online or in stores! I buy mine in a huge glass bulk bottle, so it also saves me money in the long run! Whenever I need to remove my makeup I use the micellar water in the shower. It works like a charm and has no waste at the end of each day!
Another great way is simply paying a little more for better and more sustainable products. This one is tricky because as you know, your girl is the QUEEN of being cheap. I love a good deal. I hate spending money. And when you are trying to be environmentally conscious, I won’t lie, it can sometimes be more expensive.
However, when it comes to beauty products follow two rules:
1. Do I actually need this?
2. Can I find it in a more environmentally conscious form?
‘Do I actually need this?’ means if you already have three mascaras, I really don’t think the fourth one will completely alter your life or your already gorgeous face. Use what you have until it runs out, then, purchase one high-quality product of that beauty item. This will reduce your waste by simply not buying as much! The second question refers to the sustainability of the product or brand itself. For example, I use OSEA Skincare *PS I adore it!* OSEA comes in glass bottles. That’s amazing! I use the product up, I recycle the glass, and I purchase more. Some products come in plastic, maybe try to find an alternative in glass! Or search for a company that promotes its environmentally conscious line or impact on the planet!
Overall, it may cost a few bucks more, but these products and brands are also usually higher quality and last longer!
Tip #3: Put your life online.
Over the past year or so, I’ve become very aware of my paper footprint because even though paper can be recycled, doesn’t mean we have to use it as much as we possibly can! I don’t use physical calendars. Instead, I use my digital one. I’ve stopped all the junk mail that I get delivered to my door. This one is a big one! If you constantly get catalogs like I used to and instantaneously throw them away, contact the company. Ask to be removed from their mail/subscription service. This action takes two seconds, but will save so much paper and so much headache on your part of constantly getting mail that you don’t want or need!
Another way to reduce your footprint is with mail statements, credit card statements, bills, etc.! Always opt for the digital version on these bad-boys! A lot of companies even offer discounts if you opt into their digital statement program! It not only helps the environment, but I’ve found it also helps my organization of these things! It’s so easy to have a folder on your computer with all your bills or bank statements and you no longer have to file, organize, and be weighed down by paper copies of these things!
The same thing is true with photos! Having some photos printed and displayed in your room is absolutely okay and super cute *thanks Pinterest inspiration always*! However, having massive piles of prints just to look at or keep for your memories is such a waste! Photo albums are something that can easily be made digital! I have put all of my photos and videos into Google Drive and organized them into folders. This helps with the organization once again, but also with less waste AND the security factor of never losing or damaging your photographs or precious memories!
Tip #4: Buy second-hand whenever you can!
I am a big fan of buying second hand and so is my wallet. Goodwill has become a second home to me and apps that sell used clothing, furniture, even jewelry have recently been dominating my phone! Why? Because buying used is incredibly environmentally conscious, but is also a fraction of the cost!
I’m currently in the process of moving apartments and I have been using the app ‘LetGo’ to purchase literally all of my furniture, but also to sell a good portion of my own stuff! You’re also able to create your own listings on most of these apps, so if you have something a little higher quality that maybe you don’t want to just donate *however, I highly recommend donating instead of throwing away for anything anytime!* you can sell it online! Your used items find themselves in a new, useful home and you find a crisp $20 bill entering your pocket.
Buying second hand also usually means that you aren’t wasting the packaging of these products. If you shop on Amazon a lot (as I do, however, am trying to do less of!) here is another tip for you: only allow yourself to order twice a month. You can order as much as you want but wait until the beginning and middle of the month. I keep a running list of things I need to purchase on Amazon on my phone, so then when I order, Amazon will try to package all of my products in the least amount of boxes! If you purchase a hairbrush on Monday then headphones on Tuesday, you will find two huge boxes with all the plastic wrapping you could ever need on your stoop when you could have easily waited, ordered your products on the same day, and received one package. You still have waste, but you have less of it and these baby steps will add up to monster steps in no time for our gorgeous planet Earth!
Tip #5--Buy in bulk; both the planet and your wallet will thank you.
Buy in bulk! If you LOVE almonds as I do, don’t buy the individual 100-calorie packages from the grocery store. These *like the beauty products* are so wasteful being single-use! Instead, opt to purchase a large bag of almonds and ration them yourself! We, as a society, have started to purchase more of these pre-counted snacks and food items to help with our control over snacking and portion control. I do understand this! However, it’s so wasteful! Ration your food yourself. This saves you a ton of waste and usually a ton of money! Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper and it also saves you time by not running out every week of food items you eat regularly!
Another tip is to use reusable grocery bags for produce or things that you have to put into plastic when you are walking up and down the grocery aisles! For example, I eat tons of potatoes! It’s super easy to grab a big ‘ol plastic bag of potatoes and go on with my day. However, if I take 10 more seconds to pick out individual potatoes and put them into my own cloth sack, I saved the planet from one, large plastic bag….
10 seconds later.
I know it can be hard at first to change our patterns and routine. We’re habitual creatures by nature. We subconsciously find the easiest way to save us energy, time and thought, which is not a bad thing, it’s a survival tactic we all have! However, if we take a step back when it comes to finding the balance between convenience and our environmental footprint, we can all make very small changes that especially overtime will add up to monumental change for our beautiful home, Mother Earth.
“The Earth is one of the few things we all have in common, so let’s all take responsibility to care for it.”