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Reduce, Repurpose, Recycle | 5 Easy Tips for Eco-Friendly Living

Ways to live more sustainably. Reusable tote bags. Stainless steel straws. Tongue Scraper. Re-fillable Stainless Steel Straight Razor KnicoleStyle.com

I love seeing those memes online that say “There is no planet B” because it’s so true. We only have one planet, so why not care for it the way it cares for us?

I’ll be the first to tell you that I am in no way perfect at living a sustainable lifestyle, but at least I am aware and I am trying to change. The first step is admitting there’s a problem right? I am slowly adapting to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle while also trying to help the people around me do the same.

After living a certain way for so many years, and accumulating so many items, altering my lifestyle is not going to happen overnight. But I have found a few ways to live more sustainably.

Ways to Live More Eco-Friendly

1. Support businesses that help the people and the planet.

  • Fair Trade: Paying workers a fair, livable wage. Most “fast fashion” companies do not, making it easier to charge little-to-nothing for clothing, shoes, and accessories. Supporting brands that value their workers and source sustainable materials is always a better option.
    • Since many of these items are of better quality, they do cost a little more upfront. However, in the long run, you’ll be saving more since you’ll have to repurchase these items less frequently.
    • Another affordable option is to shop second hand at Thrift Stores, online, or clothing swaps.
    • I also recommend watching The True Cost on Netflix, it’s a real eye-opener.

2. Swap out single-use plastic.

  • Easy Swaps!
    • Single-use Plastic– Instead of plastic straws and utensils, use stainless steel and bamboo. Many of these come in cute carrying cases for on-the-go as well, like this Bambaw Cutlery Set that I take with me everywhere now. In addition, I have also switched my toothbrush for a bamboo alternative because, besides straws, toothbrushes also take decades+ to break down and could contain harmful materials like BPA and PVC. I have also swapped my disposable razors for a Stainless Steel Safety Razor. It’s heavy duty, easy to use and will last forever, my mom even has one that’s probably older than me! All you have to do is change out the blades.
    • Water bottles– Did you know that most plastic water bottles contain tap water in fancy packaging, and many bottles leak toxic chemicals into the water we’re drinking! I love carrying around reusable water bottles but if you’re anything like me, you don’t just drink water from anywhere. Especially with all the chemicals in our tap water, it’s important for me to have a water bottle that has a filter so at least I know it’s getting some form of clean through. A great resource for a detailed look at your locations tap water quality is https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/. There is SO much information on this site I highly recommend taking the time to look through the articles. I have yet to find a filter for my home and on-the-go. I do try to bring a water bottle with me everywhere just in case I’m at work or a restaurant and can fill it up.  If you have any recommendations on filtered water bottles please let me know! In the meantime, I found a regular 32oz Stainless Steel bottle at Marshall’s that I’m loving! It helps me reach my daily drinking goal faster and keeps the water cool for a long time.
    • Grocery bags– This one is my favorite. Over the years I have accumulated so many cloth and canvas bags, and I love that now there are more opportunities to get them for free! I’ve gone to several events or shows and have gotten tons over time. They are a great way to cut down on plastic grocery bags that just end up in landfills and our oceans. I always keep them in my car and one or two folded up in my purse so I don’t forget.
    • Buy in bulk/package free: My favorite store to get bulk dried goods is Lucky’s Market. It’s affordable and if you download the app, you can get great discounts. I am also finding other ways to use package-free items. For example, shampoo bars are also a great alternative and sometimes last just as long, if not longer than regular shampoo. Here’s a tip: look for bars that contain moisturizing ingredients and no sulfates or harsh chemicals. My current favorite is from the brand Auromere which I also found at Marshall’s.
    • Glass over plastic– Opt for glass containers when you can, they can be reused over and over again and if need be, they recycle better than most plastics do. Whenever I buy groceries, I look for glass and when I’m done I clean them and store any and everything I can in them. You can also find great glassware at Thrift Stores and Dollar Stores believe it or not!

3. Repurpose or donate old clothes

  • Sell through Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange- Keep in mind though, these places tend to give you little to nothing for your items, but it is a way to get extra cash. Other alternatives include online platforms like Poshmark, but they just may not get sold as quickly.
  • Donate to family/friends, shelters, etc- I love donating to the Vietnam Veterans of America because they pick up the items from my house, all I have to do i bag them up and set them outside.
  • Transform them into new pieces- For all my creatives out there, experiment with new styles and have fun with turning your old clothes into ones you’ll love again. And if you don’t think you’re creative, ask a friend to help!

4. Go electronic whenever you can, save the trees!

  • E-receipts
  • Online banking
  • E-books
    • This one is hard even for me to do. There’s just something about feeling a physical book in my hands. I’ll still try to download books on my devices as much as I can, but this is also an option to consider. It’s also great for traveling!

5. Reduce Waste

  • Buy less, save more; it’s better for the planet and our pockets!
  • Use fewer paper towels and substitute with cloth instead- Just remember to rotate them frequently to prevent bacteria.
  • Try everything mentioned above.

That wasn’t too bad right?! I hope this gave you an idea on easy ways to be better to our planet. In a perfect world, we would be able to switch to all eco-friendly products, live zero waste and consume less, but for now these are small ways that make a big impact.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorites, what you already do, or what you’ll start trying!

xo,

Kristen

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