Convenience and consumption are easy. Living greener often means going against the grain. Here are some swaps I’ve made to make a greener life as natural as possible. This post contains affiliate links!
It’s not easy being green
Living a greener, more sustainable life has been important to me for years. But it isn’t always the easy or natural choice. Often the living greener choice comes with either a little more time or a little more money (at least upfront, but the long-term cost might be less).
But we all know how important both sustainability and low-tox living are. To make these front of mind when we’re going about daily life, we have to remember the WHY at every step of the way.
What’s easy: tossing things in the trash, single use, works really well because potentially toxic chemicals are the first ingredient.
What’s better: investing in one higher quality reusable thing, finding the balance between natural and what works, paying more for something with a good conscience.
“Doing the right thing” needs to be part of who we are.
Ways I’m living greener
Silicone food storage bags
We were storing our frozen bananas, occasional bagels, etc. in big Zip Lock gallon bags. These bags were getting re-used, but they weren’t very dirty and ended up the trash just because they had taken a beating.
So we invested in some silicone food storage bags, particularly for using as freezer storage. Stasher bags are the top of the market cool (I need the Mega bag that stands up on its own for bananas) but we ended up with a starter set of these instead at a lower cost.
Low Tox Cleaning Products
My cleaning products were all over the place, some of them conventional, some of them pure, and some of them greenwashed brands (I’m learning more about greenwashing). I have found that one of the keys to making living greener easier for me to pick a brand and jump all in. (Like I did with Beautycounter). Any way I can simplify my life is a step towards sustainability.
So after reading lots of rave reviews, I switched over to Branch Basics cleaning supplies. I have dabbled with concentrates before when I used Shaklee for a while. I stopped using Shaklee because I was dazzled by some of the brands at Target. But I was always running out of those brands and the waste from the bottles was driving me nuts. So back to a concentrate it was.
Branch Basics uses plant and mineral based ingredients with no fragrance. I add a few drops of peppermint essential oil for a nice scent – because a clean scent is still very important to me! I’ve checked out the surfactants they use, and feel good about the ingredient lists, which are free of fragrance, parabens, bleach, dyes and more.
I recently discovered the Made Safe site, which has a large list of banned ingredients (like Beautycounter’s Never List). It’s a good place to check against your household products.
You can use the code KATHEATS for 10% off of the Branch Basics starter sets.
Taking a reusable water bottle
I do pride myself in carting around a reusable water bottle. It pains me to buy or drink bottled water, even if I’m at an event where its provided. (Not lately!)
For the longest time I was carting around a giant 32 ounce Hydroflask that wouldn’t fit in any cupholders – the car, the bike, the side of my gym bag. I got a smaller bottle for everyday (and save my huge one for soccer days) and the everyday cup-holder size has been LIFE CHANGING!!!! It’s by Thermoflask and is at a much better price too. #strawlidforlife
Moral of the story: find a reusable bottle that is easy to carry around.
We have also cut back on the Gatorade plastic bottle consumption (which was not so much me but the boys/men of the house) but getting a variety of Nuun Sport tablet flavors.
Another change I’ve been slowly working towards is our cookware. It’s not cheap or reasonable to replace everything all at once, especially since we have some very nice cookware, but I wanted to swap in one everyday, all purpose pan for primary use.
Our Place sent me one of their nontoxic ceramic pans – the Always pan – and I’ve been loving it. Not only is it gorgeous enough to leave on the stovetop, but the ceramic interior is truly nonstick. The material is made without potentially toxic materials like PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals, and nanoparticles.
You can fry an egg without minimal butter, and we have literally crusted char into the bottom that came out with a sponge and soap.
It’s also shaped so there are so many uses – fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. My only complaint is that the exterior of the pan, which is coated aluminum, is showing food stains that I haven’t quite figured out how to get off!
If you want to replace just one of your everyday cookware pots, this would be the one to get.
I’ve mentioned Scout + Cellar a few times before. It’s a clean wine company that focuses on wine free from synthetic pesticides, chemical additives, added sugar.
While every bottle of wine I drink isn’t going to be organic from here onward, I did think it was important for my everyday “house” wines to be as pure as possible. So I’m trying to do better here by supporting a brand who is doing the right thing.
Fun fact: they also just came out with a non-alcoholic Piquette Spritzer if you’re doing dry January. I haven’t tried it but will include in my next order.
Supporting B corps
My favorite way to live greener is to vote with my dollars. Some of my favorite brands are B corporations:
- Allbirds(I just ordered their running shoes!)
- Bombas (they just introduced underwear!)
- Seventh Generation for laundry and dishwasher
I find it satisfying and simple to choose brands to support and shop within them.
Other Sustainable/Greener Favorites we use
- Who Gives a Crap toilet paper and paper towels (100% recycled)
- Seventh Generation Ultra Concentrated Laundry Detergent (I’ve been loving this kind, but I confess I really miss those strong scented Tide Pods)
- Seventh Gen Dishwasher Pods
- Our garden. Hoping to expand it a little more this year now that Birch is older.