Updated: Apr 29, 2019
Okay, so we are all on the sustainable path. We agree that sustainability is important. We (better) have our reusable water bottles and bring our reusable bags to the grocery stores, but here are ways that you can make an even greater impact on the health of our environment.
1. Menstrual Cups/Washable Menstrual Pads
If the average woman menstruates for forty years and uses approximately 20 tampons per cycle, having one cycle per month, she will go through 9,600 tampons in her life. There are approximately 7.69 billion people in the world. For ease, let's estimate that we have 3.5 billion women and only half of them use tampons, that equates to 16,800,000,000,000 tampons being added to our waste.
If only there was a more environmentally friendly, less toxic way to handle the demands of womanhood. Well, there is! You need to add menstrual cups to your life. You will learn more about your body and how much you actually bleed plus you will be able to detect changes in your discharge, but also you don't have to worry about toxic poisoning associated with tampons. I have been using cups since 2013. I have only gone through 2, and they are honestly a dream.
I also use washable menstrual pads sometimes when I am sleeping or worried about leaking. TMI? Well ladies, this is life, and we can do things better by communicating and bringing awareness to topics like this. :) Happy Periods!
2. Glass Container Silk Floss
Recently brought into my life has been silk floss in a reusable glass container. Floss has been one of the last things to cross my environmentally friendly mind, but if you think about the plastic string and the plastic container that will take years to decompose well glass makes sense. You buy the complete set at first, and then you just buy the silk refills that come in paper packaging. The floss is still nice and minty, but now it will decompose and be better for the environment.
3. Collapsable Cups
So many times, especially as I am traveling or at some sort of festival or fair, I am given a drink in a single use plastic cup. It makes me so upset ESPECIALLY when it as a restaurant--then it goes onto my yelp review. (get a dishwasher and some glasses please!)... Now that I have discovered these, they have been added to my environmental toolkit. They are great because they are collapsable and the twist cap lid protects them from getting dirty by whatever else ends up in your purse.
Try these ones here. (I bought two so I could always help a friend out!)
4. Tea Strainer
Tea. Tea. Tea. Tea. Tea. It is not uncommon for me to have five cups of tea per day. The amount of waste I am creating per year with the tea bags alone (if I was always buying tea that didn't come individually wrapped) is probably too difficult for me to estimate haha, but it's simply unnecessary. Which is why I am now going to be using a tea tin and strainer, and advocating for you to do the same. When you are not traveling, it is definitely easier, but that is no excuse! Carrying a tea strainer and a tin or two of your favorite tea is not only better for the environment and brings you a better cup of tea too.
This is a great tea strainer for all different sizes of pots and mugs.
I say utensils, but I really mean spork. This is another easy necessity to carry around in your purse if some restaurant only has disposable utensils (way too common these days). They are easy to pick up at your local outdoor sporting store, or you can follow the link I have below.
I like this one because it has a bottle opener and a little pouch to keep it clean.
6. Portable Water Filter
When I realized that I could still travel to new countries and not have to buy bottled water to ensure that I would not get sick, if I simply bought this item... It was in my amazon cart in 2 seconds. You can get this at your local sporting goods store as well, but it is definitely an environmentalist necessity. We tried these out for our first time in Brazil after a friend backpacking through South America had recommended them, and we didn't get any weird stomach issues.
7. Tooth Brush with Replaceable Head
Yes there are bamboo toothbrushes that are decomposable, but anytime you are using new materials and you're having to replace the entire object when you've only really use the top of it, you know that there has to be a better way. There is! These tooth brushes are made from recycled materials, and when you need new bristles, all you need to do is replace the head of it. This equates to less material being wasted and a happier you.
This is the one that I use. (also available at Whole Foods)
8. Solid Body Products
Have you ever thought about what happens to all of the plastic from your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and deoderant? What about you and everyone in your town? Your state? Your country? The world.
This is what solid looks like. I have used solid products for over two years now. You're looking at shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, massage bar, toner, face wash, leave-in hair treatment, deodorant, and 3 hot oil hair treatments. They last me about 3-4 months. And I feel lush. Fitting as that's where they come from! They're vegan, and they reduce so much plastic waste. Imagine how much plastic would be used by a years worth of these products.
This is what solid looks like. Now go find out what solid smells like!
Here are some links to Lush shampoo, conditioner, massage bars, lotion, deodorant, and bar soaps. Although they are not the only solid body product retailer, you can find them at Farmer's Markets for starters... I also recommend Dr. Bronner's solid castile soap-- it has sooo many uses (I've even used them to wash my clothes!)
9. Make Remover Pads
Not only are these better for the environment, but they simply work better. Try this with some lotion or oil (yes, even just coconut oil) and it will take off all of you crazy makeup. It moves across your skin more smoothly--not pulling as much on your eyes, and you can simply wash them in the sink and reuse them later. Too easy, win-win. You need to upgrade.
Upgrade now: here.
10. Mesh Bags
I don't often buy enough groceries that this is a necessity for me, but if you do, then you need to think about the plastic wasted on your produce bags. For a more environmentally conscious solution, bring mesh bags with you-- similar to the ones you use for your delicates laundry-- and place your produce in there. You can wash them and zip them, and they don't suffocate the produce like plastic does!
Pro-tip, try getting a different brand or color than you actually use on your delicates for everyone's peace of mind.
Find yours here.
BONUS: "KEEP GAIA WILD" Starter Kit for Beginners
I don't personally own this, but when I came across this, I just had to share! It has everything that you'll need to make an impact in your daily routine, and comes in a cute compact hemp pouch.
Borosilicate Glass Straw (I didn't mention this--but if you need straws, the OBVI bring your own :))
Flax Fiber Napkin
Produce Bags (2)
A Foldable Grocery Bag
It looks great, and you can get started with your kit here. You'll see on their website that there are also options to add items on. I am all for this kind of preparedness.
Extra BONUS: Try Using Washing Berries to Wash Your Clothes.
I first came across these in the Netherlands, and it worked great. If you want your clothes to smell nice, add some essential oils to the wash. If you want your clothes to be softer, add equal parts vinegar and baking soda... Washing berries work, and you can help make a difference.
If you are wondering how what you are doing will affect the environment, imagine if 7 billion people did the same thing.