April is the perfect month to focus on the Earth and what actions we can take to protect it. Not only does Earth Day fall in April, but it's also when spring is in full swing, and we can see the beauty of nature. I'm always thinking of ways I can do better to help our environment. Consumers' actions are not the actions that need to be done in the grand scheme of things, but it is a start. So, I'm going to share with you actions I take to leave less of a carbon footprint as a consumer.
I want to start by saying there will be many suggestions here, and they can seem overwhelming at first. If you are taking the time to read this blog, you are interested in changing your habits to make a difference. Start with what you can. This list is not the end all be all, I'm likely to miss something, but these are the actions I take. Adjust, add, and adapt these suggestions to fit into your own life.
Plastic reduction is a big one for me. We recycle all that we can, but I prefer to reduce the amount of plastic I use as a consumer. Below are ways I either avoid plastic or use a plastic alternative.
-Cloth or canvas reusable grocery and produce bags. I also will not use a bag if I only have a couple of items. I never put my produce in plastic bags. I instead use a canvas tote in my cart.
-Reusable food storage bags, as opposed to single-use Ziplocs. These can typically be found in the same aisle as Ziplocs. They are durable and can be washed after each use.
-Say no to plastic straws and cutlery. If you are a straw person, carry a metal one with you. I keep a bamboo cutlery set in my purse for those instances when I have to grab a meal on the go.
-Refillable water bottles. We always have our water bottles with us. We also switched from buying carbonated water in bottles and cans to a Sodastream system. This is also an excellent option for soda drinkers.
-Shampoo bars and bar soap. There are some great shampoo bar products out there. Give them a try. You may be surprised by the result.
We avoid toxic chemicals in our skincare, cleaning supplies, and yard products. We run an all-natural skincare company because we believe harsh chemicals don't have a place on our bodies. We feel the same way about products in our home.
-Avoid parabens, aluminum, and other harsh chemicals in all of your skincare products. This includes deodorant, hand soaps, shampoo, lotions, makeup, and any other item your put on your skin.
-Harsh chemicals that we use to clean our homes end up on our skin and go down our drains. It isn't easy to trace where the chemicals go from there. There are likely options for a natural cleaning product in the cleaning section. It just takes a little looking.
Yard sprays, including pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer, runoff into our rivers and lakes, affecting the local ecosystem. If it requires you to keep your children and pets off until it dries, it's likely not safe for the environment. We recommend taking the time to pull the weeds, allowing the bugs to be there, and shifting the idea about having a "perfect" lawn. We strongly discourage the use of these products even more if you grow a vegetable garden. What you put on your food stays there.
Reduce, reuse, recycle is a good phrase to follow. We recommend following it in the order it's in. Instead of thinking, "this can be recycled," try to see if there is an eco-friendly alternative or if you can go without it. Reuse items, even if it's unconventional. Absolutely recycle if that's an option. As I said, this list is not fully comprehensive. It's a good starting point. Adapt where you need to, start sustainably, and know it does make a difference. We left a lot of this list, but there is likely a lot we haven't added to our routine. Let us know the ways you approach the consumer world with an eco-conscious mindset.