Looking back on this past year, I wanted to take inventory of the changes I've made that contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. Here are the changes I've made that I am most proud of.
OLD: TRADITIONAL AMERICAN DIET
I kicked off 2020 with the decision to cut meat from my diet in its entirety. When I made the decision to do this, I wasn't even considering the environment. I primarily wanted to see what it'd do for my personal health. My goal was to be meat-free for 6 months. It's been 13 months, and I have no plans to revert back. After I started the journey, I began to research the impact that the meat farming industry has on the environment. I sometimes miss meat especially living in Texas a.k.a. the unofficial BBQ capital of the world. But knowing I'm reducing greenhouse gas emissions helps reaffirm my choice! Plus, I feel better in general.
OLD: COFFEE IN DISPOSABLE PLASTIC PODS
NEW: FRENCH PRESS COFFEE
This is probably my favorite swap because first of all, I'm a coffee junkie. French press coffee is simply so much richer and silkier smooth than drip coffee. No more hassling with pulling apart K-cups to recycle them. Finding beans in a non-plastic pouch can be challenging, though.
OLD: PLASTIC BOTTLED SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
NEW: PACKAGELESS SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER BARS
I've switched to shampoo and conditioner bars instead of plastic bottle type, although I'm still searching for the best brand that doesn't overly dry out my naturally fine, brittle strands. I also stopped straightening my hair. I'd given up using chemical relaxers many years ago because they were too harsh and causing damage. Thus omitting more plastic single-use containers since upkeep on relaxers would be every 6 weeks or so.
OLD: PLASTIC TUBE TOOTHPASTE, PLASTIC TOOTHBRUSHES, PLASTIC FLOSS, PLASTIC BOTTLED MOUTH WASH
NEW: TOOTHPASTE & MOUTHWASH BITS IN REFILLABLE GLASS JARS, BAMBOO/PLANT-BASED TOOTHBRUSH, PLANT-BASED FLOSS & BAKING SODA FOR WHITENING
I'm quite pleased with how easy it was to transition to an eco-friendly oral care routine. I also now forgo the 'free' goodie bag the dentist hands out at the end of each 6-month cleaning.
OLD: PLASTIC DISPOSABLE RAZORS & SHAVE CREAM
NEW: METAL SAFETY RAZOR WITH RECYCLABLE, NON-PLASTIC BLADES.
I adore my Leaf brand safety razor because it functions closely to what I was used to using. I haven't swapped shave cream out yet because I haven't finished using up my current bottles.
OLD: PLASTIC SINGLE USE DETERGENT, SOFTNERS & DRYER SHEETS
NEW: DETERGENT & SOFTNERS IN PLASTIC FREE PODS, & REUSABLE WOOL DRYER BALLS
Easy peasy switch. I sometimes double or triple the number of pods I use, depending on the size & soil level of the wash. I kind of want to evaluate this further to see what the payoff is here.
OLD: PLASTIC SINGLE USE LIQUID HAND SOAP
NEW: GLASS HAND SOAP DISPENSERS W/ ALUMINUM BOTTLE REFILLS. ALTERNATIVELY, I'LL BUY BAR SOAP FROM LOCAL VENDORS
OLD: PLASTIC SINGLE USE LIQUID DISH SOAP
NEW: GLASS DISH SOAP DISPENSERS W/ ALUMINUM BOTTLE REFILLS
OLD: SINGLE USE PLASTIC SPONGES
NEW: PLANT-BASED & RECYCLED PLASTIC SPONGES WITH WALNUT SCRUBBER SIDE
OLD: SINGLE USE PLASTIC TRASH BAGS
NEW: 100% RECYCLED PLASTIC TRASH BAGS
OLD: SINGLE USE PLASTIC, VARIOUS HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS
NEW: GLASS SPRAY BOTTLES W/ CONCENTRATED SOLUTIONS. ALTERNATIVELY, I USE VINEGAR, BAKING SODA, AND/OR CITRUS PEELS
OLD: PLASTIC DOGGY BAGS
NEW: CORNSTARCH DOGGY BAGS THAT ONLY TAKE 3 MONTHS TO BREAKDOWN IN LANDFILLS
I like to believe that this blog as well as its corresponding social media accounts have had some small ripple effect that's branched out to my close friends and family. Maybe even some strangers! Paying it forward is always a nice concept :)
Moving forward in 2021, I'm very much looking forward to seeing how much more resourceful I can be! I'll be delving into an indoor herb garden, kitchen composting, and omitting more various plastic products from my normal routines, along with lots more changes I am sure. Any advice or suggestions are always welcome!