Adopting a low waste lifestyle has its challenges, but these switches make it so much easier.
Hello Earthlings and happy July! In honour of plastic free July, we wanted to share some of our favourite zero waste swaps with you.
Sarah and I have been living "low waste" for about 2 years now. In all of its glory, a low waste lifestyle is rewarding, satisfying, healthier, and having a positive impact on our community and planet. On the other end of the spectrum it can be frustrating, inconvenient, disheartening (when you begin to realize how much waste is in the products we use), and sometimes seemingly pointless. BUT one thing I've learned is if you want to make a change
a) you have to start with yourself and
b) you're going to have to get uncomfortable.
Going outside of social norms or even your own lifestyle preferences can be hard and like I said, uncomfortable. Change means that your world is getting flipped around in new ways, and it's how you navigate that change that will have the biggest difference. So yes, there are days when I want to throw a tantrum in the grocery store for being so wasteful, or yell at the commercial on the TV for promoting an unsustainable product. But.... it's all part of the ride; and if I don't change, then how can I expect anyone else to.
Also, it doesn't have to be hard. Living low waste can be a gradual change. In fact, I've noticed subtle changes in the people I live with slowly becoming more and more conscious of the products they consumer and the impact that it may have on their bodies and the natural world. So, take it slow and don't overwhelm yourself. If you've been with Earthy Sisters since day one, you know that we always promote slow and gradual steps to making sustainable, life long changes.
To get you started we've picked 10 of our most favourite "zero waste" swaps that we think have not only been the most rewarding but also had the greatest impact on our ability to divert waste from the landfill. Plus, we've saved hundreds of dollars already by switching to these purchased or DIY'd products (DIY'd... you get what I mean, right?).
Here we go:
DIY Body Scrub- I'm telling you guys, this is 100% the best thing I ever started doing for myself. All you have to do is mix 1/3 cup of olive oil with 2/3 cups of sea salt (and maybe some drops of essential oil of choice) and give 'er a mix and you'll have a body wash that gently exfoliates, cleans, and leaves you so moisturized you'll never need to buy moisturizer again. Plus if you use it before you shave you don't need a shaving cream. YOU'RE WELCOME.
Safety Razor- Guys, I'm telling you this is SO worth it. Switching a safety razor is an amazing way to reduce your waste in the bathroom and you're still getting rid of any unwanted hair (if you so choose). We use the Bareaya Razor which you can buy here. If you want more information on the safety razor watch our Youtube video here!
Earth Love Body Deodorant- If you don't know by now store bought deodorants have really nasty ingredients that can cause cancer and create other problems in the body. SO, we've both tried a ton of different "body friendly" deodorants and Earth Love is our very favourite. Not only is it zero waste (it comes in a compostable package) but it also keeps us smelling fresh- although I do sometimes reapply it if I'm having a really sweaty day.
Growing our Own Veggies- You guys already know this one. It doesn't get more local than your own kitchen or backyard + theres NO waste. Say whaaaat. If you're still debating growing a garden, check out my last blog post on whether or not growing your own food is fit for your lifestyle.
Menstrual Cup & Reusable Pads- This is NOT A TREND. I repeat, this is NOT a trend! Menstrual cups and reusable pads are the future of periods. PERIOD. It's zero waste, so much better for your body, and it's way cheaper. Did you know that most store bought tampons and pads are full of nasty chemicals like chlorine and even bleach? I don't know about you, but I definitely don't want that near my lady parts. We both use the Diva Cup, but there are TONS of options out there, and I also use menstrual pads that I found on Etsy. There are so many brands so pick the one that you support the most.
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars- The beauty industry spits out over 120.8 billion (yes billion) pieces of wasteful packaging each year (1). Let me repeat that number.. 120,800,000,000. Every. Single. Year. Is that not extremely alarming? That's just one industry alone. Switching to shampoo & conditioner bars has been a great switch for us and for our planet. Every person's hair is different, so it might take some trial and error but once you find the one that's right for you, you can have clean and healthy hair without throwing waste in the trash. We both use the Coconut Rice Cake, but there are dozens of companies to choose from. (PS- make sure you pick one that is free from Palm Oil- otherwise known as SLS as this ingredient has detrimental effects on the rainforest's ecosystems).
DIY Laundry Detergent- I have sensitive skin and most store bought detergents are full of heavily scented ingredients and tons of chemicals that I just don't trust putting on my body or into our waterways. So, this super easy DIY laundry detergent from Wellness Mama is a great alternative to buying it at the store, plus it's super cheap to make! You can buy all the ingredients in bulk so there's no waste. Wellness Mama even offers some tips on how to get out stains and odour. I would definitely recommend trying this recipe to be kinder to your skin and our planet.
DIY Oat Milk- While almond, soy, and cashew milk are (from my opinion and understanding) better for the planet than conventional cows milk, these milk alternatives are still very energy intensive and can't be grown locally- except soy (in Canada anyways). So, oat milk is THE WAY! Oats require way less water, land, and travel to get to our homes, plus they can be bought in bulk (and are way kinder to our wallets). DIY oat milk takes less than 5 minutes to make and tastes 10/10 delicious. You can learn how to make it here and try for yourself. You'll save money and waste (did you know the tetra packs that plant-based milks come in are typically not recyclable?).
Pela Case- We all know the world is facing a plastic crisis. Now think of your phone case. It is almost 100% made from plastic unless you're awesome and already have a compostable case. But for the majority of us, our phone cases are made from plastic. Now, most people only keep their phone for 18-24 months (2), but are using a case that will last on this earth for thousands of years. So be a conscious consumer and get a compostable phone case so when you switch to a new phone, you don't have to worry about your phone case ending up in the ocean. Plus, they're buy one get one free right now! Perfect timing I might add ;). Get it here.
DIY All-Purpose Cleaner- I don't know about you guys, but life keeps getting more and more and more and more expensive. Although I do consider myself a "frugal low-waster" it can still be expensive to constantly be thinking of which product is more ethical, especially when the more ethical one is typically more expensive. But something I've learned over the last few years is t it's not what you spend, it's how you spend it. In learning that, I've been able to save hundreds of dollars each year by making my own products and switching to reusable items. And the DIY all-purpose cleaner is definitely one place where I have saved tons of money by making it myself. I mean green cleaners are EXPENSIVE and a girl is on a budget. So make this recipe yourself and you can hop on the money saving train with me, plus your house will be sparkly clean without the use of chemicals. WOOHOO. Watch our Youtube video to learn how to make it.
I'm telling you guys, these swaps are worth it. Not only will you save a ton of money in the long run, but you'll also be kinder to your body and to our planet, 2 things that we cherish very deeply here at Earthy Sisters. I know that DIYs take some time, but seriously, if you had all of the ingredients to make everything I listed here, actually making the recipes all together would take you less than 25 minutes. Being low/zero waste takes some effort, but like I said, if you want to make change you have to get uncomfortable and you have to start with yourself. So, hop on board and get going with these swaps. All in all, your start up costs of the actual products would be less than $100 and will save you money over time. Start with one item and move on when you can afford it. And hey, if you can't afford it, there are so many other alternatives we can talk about to get you started. You got this.
If you have any questions please comment below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.