How I Went Green in 2018—And Beyond

Since the start of 2018, I’ve made a goal for myself to gradually become more environmentally conscious and make smarter decisions on the products I used and brands I supported. I’m not big on “resolutions,” but this one felt less like a forced resolution and more like a natural progression for me – and let’s be honest, setting goals can be fun sometimes, it’s all about your perspective and non-judgemental  approach.

I’d been toying with the idea of switching to more eco-friendly products for some time, but truthfully it felt daunting. Thinking through all the products I used and having to make the plunge felt costly and overwhelming. So next to my “be more eco-friendly this year” resolution I put an asterisk. The asterisk essentially meant “be more eco-friendly this year… in a gradual, non-overwhelming way.” I made it a year-long goal, not one to be achieved in the first month. Somehow, this bite-sized transition made it easier and do-able.

My belief is that as a consumer, I have the personal responsibility to use my buying power to purchase goods from business that align with my values. Change will occur on a grand scale if we collectively considered this whenever buying products. Now, I do want to make it clear that while making individual changes to our lifestyles is critical for the future of our planet, the real change needs to come from the top. Real impact will happen at a quicker rate if proper funding and legislation are passed, but that’s another topic for another day…

My sole purpose for this post is to first encourage you! Change is hard, but sometimes necessary if you’re feeling compelled. Take time and first identify products you could make an easy switch. Are you running low on shampoo? Consider finding a brand that uses limited plastic containers. Then go from there. Going about it slowly and in a practical manner will stop you from wasting your products and money.  Remember, this can be fun; I, personally, love trying new products!

I’m sharing the swaps I made and the products/brands I like. Some of my swaps will seem like no-brainers, but this will hopefully give you a launching point to start transitioning products you use to more eco-friendly options. There’s many, many choices on the internet. The products I’ll link to below have been tried and tested by me, so let me break it down for you. 

Plastic Grocery Bags
Sweet Solution: Reusable grocery bags – I think I’ve bought one, the rest were all freebies.
Product Rec: 
There’s a slew on Amazon you can buy for cheap, or wait until you get one for free like I did.

Single-Use Plastic Storage Bags
Sweet Solution: Reusable storage bags
Product Rec: E-Z Seal EXTRA THICK Reusable Storage Bags | $13.97 for 5 bags

Single-Use Plastic Straws
Sweet Solution: Stainless steel straws
Product Rec: SipWell Stainless Steel Drinking Straws | $4.99 for 4 straws

Conventional Plastic Toothbrush
Sweet Solution: Bamboo toothbrush w/biodegradable bristles; toothbrush made from recycled plastic
Product Rec: Wowe Natural Organic Bamboo Toothbrush | $10.97 for 4 toothbrushes

Bottled Shampoo & Conditioner
Sweet Solution: Shampoo and conditioner bars
Product Rec: Ethique Eco-Friendly Solid Shampoo & Conditioner | $16/bar
I have to be honest, I’m not 100% sold on this product. Once the bars were worn down, they broke apart. I give it a 6/10. 

Sunscreen with Harmful Chemicals (i.e. Oxybenzone and Octinoxate)
Sweet Solution: Sunscreen w/o those harmful chemicals
Product Rec: Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen | $7.57

Disposable Razors
Sweet Solution: Reusable razor
Product Rec: Billie Razor | $9/month delivery service
You select the frequency of your delivery. I get a shipment every three months making it highly affordable.

Harsh Chemical Cleaning Products
Sweet Solution: Using a more gentle, cleaning brand
Product Rec: Method All-Purpose Cleaner | $2.97/bottle

Standard Antiperspirant 
Sweet Solution: Toxin-free deodorant (that works!)
Product Rec: Primal Pit Paste Deodorant Stick | $6.99/stick

Something I try to remember is that these products they’re a small investment. I’ll have many of the products listed above for years, so try to keep that in mind as well. 

Here’s some other non-product related practices I picked up or used more often:

  • Buying produce/fresh goods from the grocery store → Visit your local farmers market! There’s no greater feeling than hitting up the market on a weekend morning and getting stocked full of goodies.
  • Recycling most of the time → Making a conscious effort to recycle almost everything (that can be recycled!)
  • Using single-use coffee cups → Using my reusable coffee mug. I’m not perfect here but I make a conscious effort to if I’m out for coffee.
  • Grabbing produce bags → Letting those pups (i.e. fruit/veggies) hang out loose.

Phew, that was a lot but I hope it was helpful. Let me know how you are living a more eco-conscious life and what products you’re using!

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