I want to start this off by saying that no one is perfect, and although I'm writing this post, I have many things I do, that could be done better in order to protect and save the planet. With that said, any change, little or small, is a necessary change with how much we are killing our planet right now.
Prior to going vegetarian or even vegan, I was really into recycling and treating mother earth, the way it should be. Some people thought I was always being ridiculous. I honestly hate people that throw things out the window, or refuse to walk all the way to a trash can, and throw things out of their car. Polluting is actually one of my biggest turn offs. You can ask my parents (moreso my mom), ask my bf, ask people I went to college with, and they'll let you know how intense I was. But at the same time, I was honestly being such a hypocrite because I didn't know all that it entails.
As I type this, I'm drinking water out of my Starbucks water tumblr that's from my Poland Spring water jugs Chris and I get delivered to our home. More about that later, but continuing with what's around me right now, I have a TON of glass bottles from skincare, to candles, to makeup, and perfumes. But I also have plastic, since most brands don't utilize glass, since it's more expensive to distribute. With that said, no one is perfect, and I want to start this post off by disclaiming that, and proving that even I have/do things that are still counterproductive.
So here are my tips, tricks, and advice on being good to mother earth!
- Stop buying plastic!
Now this may seem self explanatory and simple and easy, but it's not! Once you get into being an environmentalist and trying to save the planet, you start realizing how much stuff you are doing to actually hurt and damage it. Plastic is one of the biggest causes of killing our eco system. From plastic bottles of water, soda, nail polish remover, shampoo, skincare, body wash....the list can go on.
As much as I try to incorporate more and more glass or even refillable options into my life, some things aren't attainable with how companies work right now. One of my favorite green skincare brands actually had their face masks in plastic, and I always thought that was extremely weird, being that they source from the sea, but alas....this Earth Day, they changed them into glass bottles!
So as much as I want to tell you to stop using and buying anything plastic, you have to make sure you know what brands to support. You can easily stop using plastic straws, get a metal, biodegradable or even glass one to carry around. When it comes to getting beverages at coffee shops, if you're taking it to go, bring your own cup! And my recent discovery, which I have yet to really delve deep into, is stop buying items that comes in plastic bags, when they are available at refill stations! One of my favorite brands, Common Good, has refill stations for cleaning products, soap and detergent, all throughout NYC. And recently, Whole Foods has an Almond milk dispensary.
- Thrifting for gold!
While many people, including myself, believe that thrifting is often more money than just buying something new, the whole purpose is to reuse, re-purpose, and make sure that we aren't allowing fast fashion to continue. Trust me, I get it....I just bought a jean shirt for $3.50 at a REGULAR store, and while purchasing it, felt bad. But then I remembered 2 things: 1. I keep things for years and years and years, wear it to it's ends, 2. when and if I do stop wearing it, or I'm over the piece (I only buy things I really love), I will either donate to a woman's shelter, to VETS, or recently, sell on Poshmark/Depop.
Another thing to take note of is that with all the ethical clothing brands popping up, paying their workers a fair wage, not having slave labor, and using 100% naturally sourced cotton or using plastic bottles to create their clothing, they are a bit more pricey. And it's for good reasoning. Not only is the quality better than what you'd get at your local Forever 21, H&M, and other stores in that same extent, but they are PAYING FAIR! These are things that you have to take into consideration when it comes to helping the planet. I recommend looking into Miakoda NY, Wild Thing, Deux Lux for ethical items, and bloggers like acupofjoan, fashionveggie, and ashley_morganic.
This is why thrifting has become as big as it has. Not only can you find high end pieces at the thrift store, but because of fast fashion, you find RECENT pieces there, which can normally cost up to $50, for about $10. While yes, there are some pieces that are priced ridiculously at the thrift store, you have to remind yourself that you're doing this for the greater good of the planet. Don't over buy clothing and shoes, buy only what you love and can see yourself wearing for years and years and years, and when you're done with that piece, either reuse it for cleaning the house, a piece of artwork around the house, donate it to someone in need, or sell it to find a happy home.
- Buy and support ethically!
Continuing with the ones above, I want to elaborate on how most brands are super toxic to our environment. Not only do they use nasty ingredients in their products, but a good majority of big named brands, still test on animals. Now, I want to make sure you understand that just because something is green, doesn't mean it's cruelty free, and just because something is cruelty free, doesn't mean it's vegan. There is always so much confusion with this, and it's always a struggle trying to explain the difference, so if you want a whole post about it, I'm up for it!
With that said, lots of green brands do focus on being green all around. From the way they source their ingredients, to the way they package and sell their products. A recent discovery that I'm obsessed with is Seed Phytonutrients. Not only are their products cruelty free and vegan, but their package is unlike any I've seen, it's recyclable paper bottles! YYAASS!! This is what we need more of from brands, especially those that are green and praise to be helping the planet, but tend to contradict themselves. One brand I'm not throwing shade to, but I'm dissapointed in is Acure Organics, as they used to have glass products (like their toner), and they recently repackaged and now have everything in plastic. WWHHHYY?
I digress, there is only so much complaining I can do about brands, so instead of complaining, I just don't buy from them anymore, and choose to buy from brands that stand behind my views. I mentioned on Earth Day that a good majority of the soaps I buy are often wrapped in plastic, so I've been buying more and more from brands that don't wrap their soaps, or even go to local handmade stores, or the Whole Foods soap bar section! Not only are you helping the planet by cutting back on unnecessary package, but you're supporting local artisans.
- Grocery shopping!
One thing I continue to struggle with, and I know a lot of you will bring up, so let's just get it out of the way now.....groceries! I want to just start off by saying that I actually bring my own totes to grocery stores, I keep them in my car at all times, and so does Chris. I have also incorporated mesh bags for my produce. And if my bags aren't enough, I use the paper bags instead of plastic. Now, I still use plastic bags, as I use them for the garbage in the bathroom, and we use the Litter Genie for Tumbles litter.
Now that that's out of the way, I know how hard it is. And here on the east coast, we have seasons, which means we can't go to a farmers market in the middle of a snow storm, to prevent from buying in plastic. I will say that the more I get into not using plastic, the more I find myself just picking up from produce that's loose. Even if it's $0.20 more than buying it in packaged form. But, I can't do that with all things. Unfortunately, spinach seems to only come in plastic bags or plastic bins, strawberries come in plastic, blueberries, even if you get them from the farmers market, still have a plastic crate....I can keep going. While it's easy to grab oranges, avocados, peppers, and all these loose items, there are some things you can't help.
Which brings me to Live Planted, which I've mentioned A LOT lately, and it's for a seriously amazing reason. She is constantly sharing tips, tricks, and lots of advice on how to go zero waste at the grocery store. And while she herself is not perfect, she explains everything in such an elegant manner and truly makes you understand and believe that you are making a difference. My favorite is when she showcases and explains the nuts section. She brings her own jars, in order to create her own mix of items she needs in her bulk cabinets. I highly recommend and suggest incorporating in this slowly. I am just a beginner, so that's why I recommend Alyssa.
- Go animal less!
I'm sure you knew this was coming and I saved it for last. I'm not the type of vegan to push or enforce veganism, but the more and more I educate people on it, and emphasize how it's actually killing our planet, the more people are interested. Now I will say, it's not easy. For me, it was and the reasoning was because I wasn't too much into meat to begin with. My mom remembers me vividly refusing to eat meat countless times. Honestly, I'm surprised I didn't go vegan sooner than I did.
Regardless, here I am, and here we are. With endangered animals dying and disappearing one at a time, in a very very high speed. It's a sad and unnecessary awakening to most, but it seems like this is only beginning to scratch the surface with most. The more and more I share videos on social media about how animals are dying, and how we are completely destroying their livelihood, the more people I help in making smarter and better decisions for mother earth.
There are 2 things in particular I want to emphasize on, 1. because of all the plastic that we utilize, we are drowning, chocking, and killing so many animals in the sea, or even though around the sea. 2. it takes SO much water and land to create and sell meat products. This isn't me just making this up, this is known and proven facts. Because of these two major issues, so many people are taking Meatless Monday's into consideration. By not eating meat 1 day out of your week, you are saving the planet at a rapid amount. I'm not telling you to go vegan, I'm telling you that your choices are killing our home. Try the Beyond Meat burgers and new Italian sausages, they are amazing! I also love Dr. Praegers.
Many of you are reading this because you want to make the change, and you're ready to implement new things, and others are just reading it because you're curious on what I had to say. Regardless, I want you to know that every little decision you make, makes a HUGE difference. It all matters in the long run.
I want to end this by sharing some of the things I recommend the most, when it comes to going zero waste, and helping the planet thrive.
Are you ready to be a part of the change, or continue to be a part of the demise?