Earth Day Vows
The following list consists of my top 10 life hacks for reducing my personal impact on the planet (in no particular order). For the record, none of the following items or brand recommendations are endorsed ~ they are simply what I personally use and love!
- Opt for package-free whole foods when grocery shopping, which are better for your health and the environment. Invest in reusable produce bags (and keep them with your reusable shopping bags) so you don't have to take your produce home in those flimsy plastic ones (which ultimately end up in the trash). Purchase pantry staples (like grains & beans) from bulk grocery store bins to eliminate unnecessary packaging.
- When possible, buy local: the food is fresher and has to travel a much shorter distance to reach you. Look for CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) or farm boxes in your area that deliver fresh local produce to your home every week. If you're on O'ahu, check out Farm Link Hawaii ~ an online marketplace for local produce, pantry products staples & wellness products. We also love O'ahu Fresh for a more traditional produce box.
- Cut down on single-use trash with a reusable utensil set and straw ~ this bamboo set is lightweight enough to keep in my bag at all times, and this stainless steel straw fits right into it. Replacing paper napkins with cloth ones is an easy way to reduce lots of waste: you can even just cut up an old sheet to quickly & cheaply make reusable napkins. I've gotten into the habit of keeping a cloth napkin on me at all times, so I never need paper ones when I leave the house either!
- Find a reusable water bottle you love and USE IT. If you're not a fan of tap water, try this amazing charcoal 'filter' that you can throw into your bottle or pitcher -- it's made from carbonized wood! Bottled drinks that don't end up in a recycling bin are destined for a landfill (or the ocean). If you always have a delicious drink with you, there's never a need to buy one! Try adding different kinds of fruit (fresh or frozen) to warm water with honey for a soda-like beverage. If you start buying herbs in bulk to make 'loose leaf' tea, you can skip tea bags altogether ~ just make sure you have either a bombilla straw or strainer tumbler to sip loose leaf tea on the go.
- Store food & leftovers in reusable tupperware or mason jars. A regular plate or bowl on top of a dish can work just as well as plastic wrap or foil when storing food in the fridge! For a more equivalent substitute, make or purchase a few sizes of beeswax wraps ~ I love these ones because they are undyed and made with organic fibers!
Reduce food waste by portioning what you cook and freezing leftovers you might want to eat later. Any food waste or veggie scraps that you do have are so much better off composted than in the trash. A worm bin is super easy to set up and maintain at home, and if you garden it has the dual benefit of providing excellent nutrition for your plants!
Speaking of waste, adding a bidet to your bathroom setup (like this affordable one from Tushy) will not only reduce the amount of toilet paper you use, but it's also way better for your butt! When you're ready to go next-level, you can start using reusable cloths into the mix, like these super soft Tushy towels... or if you're not quite there yet, try this TP made out of bamboo, which takes a tiny fraction of water to produce compared to the regular stuff and is from a highly renewable resource.
While we're discussing nether-regions, one of the best reasons to be a 21st century woman is because of all the fantastic innovations in moon cycle care! I hope that we can start to see throw-away period products be replaced by safer reusable options. Of all the ones I've tried, my top choice by far are these organic cotton underwear from Thinx.
- On the subject of things we wear, the fashion industry produces an astounding amount of carbon emissions & waste every single year. Most people wear only a small fraction of their wardrobe ~ donate clothes collecting dust to a local charity. When shopping for new looks, scope out thrift stores (or online apps like Depop, Poshmark & Mercari) for second-hand threads. Only buy new items that you're really in love with and support ethical designers & brands. Avoid synthetic fabrics derived from petroleum oil (like nylon, polyester & spandex) and go for natural fibers, which allow your skin to breathe. WearPact & Groceries Apparel personal favorites for high-quality, fair trade cotton wardrobe basics colored with nontoxic dyes.
- Considering what we put on our bodies doesn't end with your clothing choices: be sure to invest in body products & cleaning products that are healthy for you, your family, and the planet. Everything you put on your skin should have a list of understandable ingredients ~ ideally plant-based, and preservative & fragrance free. Most things in your house can be scrubbed sparkling with simple homemade solutions (using what you already have in your pantry), which allow you to avoid using harsh chemicals for day to day cleaning. We also love Protea Zero Waste on O'ahu for bulk refills of home products!
- In general, seek out companies to buy from that have their ethics intact (and don't take shortcuts to provide quality goods). Your hard-earned dollars are one of your greatest powers ~ products & services are created for a demand, not the other way around. We are lucky to live in a world with so many choices, and to be able to make such informed choices. So take those extra moments to invest in products and companies for not only what they offer, but for the greater message they give in all that they create for the world!
This list is likely to evolve, and I'd love to hear what your thoughts! If you have any life hacks that should be on this list, drop me a line at Deanna@indigoelixirs.com