My Journey to an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle
In my journey to living a natural lifestyle I have also started making small changes to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle and I’m so excited to be sharing with you some of my favorite products. Making an overnight switch can be difficult and expensive. I could not afford to make all these switches at once so I did it little by little. When choosing what products I am going to make the “eco-friendly switch” for I take a few things into consideration: upfront cost, the money I save (or don’t save) in the long run and impact on the environment. Along with sharing the products I use, I will also share where to find it and why I chose to buy it. I hope this helps you if you too are looking to make some eco-friendly switches!
Reusable Shopping Bags
This is nothing new. Reusable shopping bags have been around for years and they have always been affordable, usually costing about $.99 or up to a few dollars. Sure it wont save you any money now or in the long run since disposable bags are usually free when shopping, but plastic shopping bags have a huge impact on humans, animals and the environment. These bags get caught in drainage systems and block them causing floods. They also end up in the seas and oceans which is where most of the earth’s wildlife is. Imagine how many animals are at risk of injury or even death due to ingestion of or getting entangled in these plastic bags. Now I’ll admit I haven’t always been great about shopping with my reusable bags, especially in the beginning, so I use the disposable ones to line the small trash cans in my bathrooms. This saves me the money of having to buy trash bags and also helps the environment by reusing them. You can find reusable shopping bags in pretty much any supermarket you shop at. I got most of mine from Trader Joes and a few from Publix and Aldis.
Stainless Steel or Glass Water Bottles
I started buying reusable water bottles years ago mostly because I thought they were so cute, but I use to spend too much money on them. I have found that shopping the sale at target or finding them in stores like Ross and TJ Maxx you get a much better deal. I usually pay about $3-$10 for my reusable water bottles. This ends up being a huge savings in the long run. If you carry one with you then you can always refill it in a water fountain instead of paying $1 or more for one water bottle. I usually use my glass bottle at home and stainless steel ones when I go out because I am way too clumsy to carry around a glass one, I have broken many glass water bottles. Amazon sometimes has good deals as well, like this stainless steel water bottle.
As far as the impact on our environment goes hoffingtonpost.com said this:
“Water bottles are made of completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, but PETs don’t biodegrade they photodegrade, which means they break down into smaller fragments over time. Those fragments absorb toxins that pollute our waterways, contaminate our soil, and sicken animals (which we then eat).”
If you want to read the whole article, here is the link.
Wood Tooth Brush
A few months ago I decided to “splurge” on a wood toothbrush and I ordered mine from Natboo. When I purchased mine there was a special (I think 20% off but I don’t remember) and I ordered the Natboo Bundle Trio which also came with a whitening powder and tooth brush holder. It’s about that time for me to switch my tooth brush and, while I love my Natboo toothbrush, this time around i’m going to try a more affordable option. I found these on amazon and they have great reviews. The cost is not much more than the average toothbrush and I felt like it was worth the extra cost after reading about the impact that plastic tooth brushes have on the animals and our environment. I found out that about 50 million pounds of tooth brushes are added to landfills in the U.S. annually. They also end up in the seas and oceans and marine life mistake them for food. That was enough for me to decide to make the eco-friendly switch.
So there are a few different reusable straws (wood, silicone, stainless steel). I recently purchased these stainless steel straws and I love them! There are other ones on amazon that include a carrying case too like these, but I went with the cheaper option. Unless you regularly use straws at home this wouldn’t save you money in the long run but if you do, it only cost about $1- $2 per straw that you can use indefinitely. Not to mention, you can carry these around with you to avoid using straws when you are out as well. I wouldn’t consider this a necessity to living eco-friendly because you could always just refuse to drink from a straw at all, but there are certain drinks that I just enjoy drinking from a straw or that are easier to drink from a straw (frappuccinos for example). So, when I considered buying stainless steel straws I thought about how often I use straws and researched the environmental impact. I found out (from an article on get-green-now.com) that plastic straws are the 11th most found ocean trash and that each year 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic. So even if I hardly ever use plastic straws, one is enough to cause harm.
This right here is a HUGE money saver in the long run. The book Budgeting—Personal Spending and Money Management a Key to Weathering the Storm, by Denise Chambers, states: “Disposable diapers will cost you about $2,000 or more for 2 years. Cloth diapers . . . $300-500 over those same 2 years.” Not to mention that amazon sometimes has amazing deals and I have found that you can even get enough cloth diapers for less than $300! When I got pregnant right away I knew that I wanted to use cloth diapers, not only for the savings but also for the health of my baby (next weeks post will talk more about my decision and experience). Now when it comes to environmental impact there is some controversy on the matter. The New York Times reported “More than 16 billion diapers, containing an estimated 2.8 million tons of excrement and urine, are dumped each year into a dwindling number of landfills around the nation”, while other studies report that the water and electricity used to manufacture, wash and reuse cloth diapers are greater than disposable. The fact of the matter is, like with any decision we make, we have have to do our own research and come up with what we think is the best option. I decided on cloth diapers, and I’m happy to know that the garbage from my house to the landfills is greatly reduced because of it. I also avoid using fabric softeners and I use natural detergents to help reduce toxic waste. Some washing machines even have water and energy saver cycles. With all this in mind I do feel like this choice is an eco-friendly one, and that is why I have included it in my list.
I was fortunate enough to get hand me down cloth diapers from my sister-in-law (this tells you how durable they are) which saved me a lot of money, but you can find them on amazon here. I have seen a pack of 6 Charlie Banana diapers sell for as little as $69 and you only really need 3 packs, talk about savings!
Reusable Produce Bags
Here’s another one that doesn’t save money but it sure does help take care of the environment. Just like plastic shopping bags, produce bags clog drainage systems and harm marine life along with other wildlife. Reusable produce bags come out to around $1.50 a piece so I consider it worth the money. I couldn’t find the exact one I purchased from amazon but these look the same and are sold from the same company. I love my produce bags and I leave them with my reusable shopping bags in the trunk of my car to help me remember to use them.
Reusable Snack Bags
Plastic snack or storage bags end up in the same places as produce bags and shopping bags as listed above, having the same tragic outcome. However, unlike with the shopping and produce bags you do actually save money in the long run by purchasing reusable snack bags. I found mine at target on sale but here‘s a link to a cute one that’s affordable. These can be used not only for snacks but also to organize stuff in your purse or diaper bag and also for travel. You will get way more use out of these as oppose to the disposable ones which means you wont have to keep purchasing more.
I know I have a long way to go in my “eco-friendly lifestyle” journey but I am so happy that I got started and I am happy to be able to share what I have learned. As a Bible reader I believe that only God can and will truly fix all of the problems on this earth like pollution and toxic waste, but I also love and appreciate the earth and animals that He has lovingly given to us and I want to help take care of it until He steps in to clean the earth. That being said I hope you have enjoyed my post and I would love to hear what you do to be eco-friendly! Please share your tips in the comments below 🙂
My Amazon Picks: