I admittedly have a long way to go when it comes to living the fully sustainable lifestyle of my dreams. We do the basics; recycle, use a water filter at home and carry around reusable water bottles, bring our tote bags to buy groceries, try to shop in a environmentally conscious way. But I still feel like the trash we accumulate monthly is far too great. I hope to cut down on this amount moving forward. Part of my plan involves tackling two areas I previously tried....and failed, composting and the diva (or Luna) cup. We attempted composting a few years ago but ended up with what looked more like food potpourri than fertile soil. I plan to pick a better location in my yard, do my research and make sure to maintain a carbon to nitrogen ratio this time. As far as the latter, my first attempt involved a rather traumatic experience in a campsite bathroom. Darn you quarter run showers, is it mandatory for them to run out at the worst possible time? I wasn't sure I could give this one a second go but after reading this article I think I might be ready to....I think.
For those of you in the same boat, trying to make sustainable living work one step at a time, these are a couple of my favorite tools/tips. One of my first switches was home and beauty products, I have found essential oils extremely useful in both categories. But two of my favorite uses for them are, a room "mist" for the loo and a Windex alternative for cleaning. Both insanely easy and affordable options, because with essential oils a little goes a long way! Not to mention you skip out on all the toxins in these standard products and the waste from plastic bottles.
- For the room spray I reuse a glass bottle that once housed a facial mist. This works great because it isn't a heavy spray and doesn't leave excess moisture around. You can find similar bottles here if you aren't a facial mist addict like myself. I use a 4oz bottle and blend 5-7 drops each of ylang ylang, peppermint, lavender and wintergreen with a full bottle of water. Give a little shake before you spray and enjoy. Don't like any of these smells? No problem, part of the beauty is that you can customize your own scents. I have a random assortment of essential oils from different brands but the ones I use the most are Mountain Rose Herbs and Aura Cacia.
- For window cleaner, this is the easiest thing ever! I use a 16oz spray bottle, similar here and mix in about half a teaspoon of lemon essential oil. That's it! Shake before you spray and wipe with a clean cloth. For heavy duty grime you might need to repeat but this always works excellent for me and my windows fall victim to one messy toddler and two messy dogs (lots of greasy, slimy hand, paw and nose prints). Extra bonus the smell is so wonderful and fresh, unlike chemical window cleaners.
- Third simple solution/addition to your home, a plastic bag drying rack. We haven't managed to cut plastic bags out of our lives completely yet, but we at least try to conserve and reuse. We have been using this same model for years, it's made in Canada using wood re-purposed from old furniture. The rack can also be used for other drying purposes like small bottles and reusable snack bags. This is a handy solution for storing clean bags after.
A few other easy Eco-friendly ideas that I am excited to try.
- Bees Wrap reusable Saran wrap substitute.
Additionally if you don't have some already these are great produce bags and shopping totes. Or if you prefer something a little fancier I love these options from Makr and Doug Johnston. I hope this post has given you some ideas or encouraged you to take some more sustainable steps of your own. Would love to hear some of your Eco tips in the comments.
*Not all of these products are USA made but they are all sustainable options.