Earth Day is a great kickstart to get all of us to be more mindful of our individual and the collective impact we have on this planet we share. But babes, seriously, one day out of the year ain’t gonna cut it!! Each of us has a responsibility to care for the planet; just as we care for our own personal space. I’m not talking about everyone going to zero waste. I’m suggesting making small attainable changes that over time will have a positive lasting impact. If you go to my Insta profile it reads, ‘Effortless Sustainable Living’. Emphasis on EFFORTLESS!! LOL!!
Over the last decade I have modified my way of living to include more “sustainable” practices. Like eating a plant based diet, remodeling our home with reclaimed and salvage architectural finds, and loads of other changes can be found throughout our home & lives. Now babes, I am by no means perfect. I FOR SURE fall short, but the key is I am making intentional efforts. I would LOVE for anyone reading this to walk away with actionable, easy ways that you too can modify your everyday life to be more sustainable.
Some easy changes we have made in our household:
If you’re not yet recycling, let’s make this your first sustainable living effort. So much of what we buy and consume comes in packaging. It is as simple as getting a 2nd trash bin that is dedicated to recyclables. California or Los Angeles County provides homes with blue trash cans that the city comes by to collect making that final step super easy on residents. So then all we have to do is be conscientious about placing any recyclables in the blue trash. When I redesigned our kitchen I added a built-in recycling bin and we keep a huge one in the laundry room because who the hell wants to walk outside every time!! The key to being successful at recycling is to make it convenient and accessible.
- Line Dry: Many of you are probably doing some line drying already. I LOVE line drying! I pretty much line dry all of my clothes except my towels (no one wants crusty towels LOL). The beautiful thing about line drying is that it’s far better for the life of your clothes while also conserving energy. A win win!! These drying racks are great!
- Plant Based Laundry Detergent: I am here to tell you that plant based laundry soap actually WORKS!! Let’s think about this…we care about the chemicals we put in our body, on our skin, yet we don’t pay attention to what chemicals are in the soap that wash our clothes and linens?! Not to mention those chemicals are not good for the earth either. They touch your skin all day and you be rubbing your body in them sheets all night! LOL!! Make the change babes!! Your body and the earth will thank you for it!
- Recycling Gray Water: I will say reusing your gray water is not gonna be something that EVERYONE can nor will do. However, if you are in the position to plumb any gray water in your house to the benefit of the surrounding landscape then do it!!! On our property we have dozens and dozens of trees and plants. So Mike had our washer plumbed to a 50 gallon drum receptacle that has a pump in it. Attached to that pump is a hose. When the drum is full, we simply turn on the pump and water the surrounding landscape. Naturally, if you are thinking about doing this you MUST use an earth friendly laundry detergent, no bleach, and certainly no fabric softener!! In place of bleach there are brands that make clothing brighteners or you can do like me and use baking soda and peroxide. As for fabric softener, try wooly balls in your dryer.
- LED light Bulbs: Our entire home is lit by LED bulbs, even our TV’s. They use a fraction of the energy of traditional bulbs and last exponentially longer!! And babes you can shop for them very easily. If cost is a concern do it over time. Go room by room until all of the bulbs in your home have been swapped out :)))
- Solar Panels: The latest earth-wise modification in our home are the 40 or so solar panels that we have on our car barn. Here in California they offered rebates for installing solar panels. I KNOW the cost is significant, but once they get going in collecting energy your electric costs could go down to zero.
- No More Bottled Water (Water Filter, Fridge Filter, etc.): Water filtration systems are super affordable. The one I had installed in my office was like $120 bucks plus the labor for the plumbing. In our main home we have a reverse osmosis system which is great!!! There are even water companies that can make your entire home reverse osmosis, so all the water that flows through into the home is drinkable!! Now that’s what I’m talking about!! Please please lovies, find a way to eliminate single use water bottles. Transition to a Brita, use the water on the door of your fridge or if it’s possible have filtered water installed in your kitchen.
- Reusable Straws: Are you a straw user like me?? Then yep, get yourself some reusable straws.
PLANT BASED DIET
I fully transitioned to a plant based diet at age 36 but the process of eliminating meat from my diet started in my early 20’s (read my fully journey here). The reason I converted to a plant based diet was purely for health reasons but as a side benefit, it also is more sustainable because it is less taxing on the environment compared to a diet with meat products. Now, I realize that the decision to eat or not eat meat is very personal BUT I would encourage you to consider avoiding meat one or two days per week for both health and environmental benefits.
- Bamboo Brushes: I made the switch from sponges a couple years ago. I was like WHY am I still using icky bacteria filled sponges?? My family and I love the bristle brushes to clean dishes. All I do is replace the head attachment when the bristles get bent and cringy.
- Peroxide + Baking Soda + Vinegar: The dynamic cleaning trio is hands down peroxide, baking soda, and vinegar!! There ain’t nothin that they can’t clean. I do allow my housekeepers clean the toilets with bleach. Ya know, it’s gotta be sanitized.
- Murphy’s Oil Soap: The only floor cleaner we use is Murphy’s Oil Soap, 99% natural ingredients. We have real wood floors but we also use it on the concrete tile floor too.
ORGANIC WASTE COLLECTION
I lied earlier, our most recent efforts come in the form of collecting our organic plant waste in the kitchen i.e. fruit and veggie scraps. Only recently as of Jan 2022, LA County implemented a Household Food Waste law, created to lower greenhouse emissions. So now we have a small compost bin on the counter for convenience where we toss cuttings, rinds, peels and anything organic. Once it is filled we empty it into the green trash bin provided by LA County.
Did you know that fashion is the 3rd leading cause of pollution on the planet?? More is just MORE when it comes to clothes. It is very crucial that each of us endeavor to donate clothes, shop with intention, and try to buy clothes made with biodegradable fabrics. I am guilty of the occasional trendy buy here and there, but on the whole my wardrobe consists of a lot of old shit!! LOL!! Over 50% of my wardrobe is either thrifted or vintage. I wear the same pieces year after year. Anything I am no longer into I donate. AND yes babes, I do have a job that compels me to refresh my wardrobe on a regular basis, but I still try my best to add pieces that I will love and wear forever.
How can I talk about sustainability and not talk about the world of beauty! I literally recycle EVERYTHING!!! Well sometimes we simply reuse the packing in some way. I TRY to be diligent with each and every bottle jar, tube I use. There are always gonna be a few here and there that I cannot recycle which actually pains me, but do what I can with the ones that ARE recyclable. I do my best to support brands that are making efforts to be more sustainable by either making recyclable products, refillable containers, and zero waste. Some beauty brands I love that are doing their part to be more sustainable include REN Skincare, Necessaire, Rose Inc., KLUR, Tata Harper, KORA Organics, Cocokind, Ilia, Kjaer Weiss, and Kate McLeod.
When it comes to beauty products, I also do my best to avoid single use products, like wipes or cotton rounds. I opt for a wash cloth in lieu of facial wipes and I use reusable cotton rounds everyday. Here are a few of my favorites:
Click the photos below to shop some of my favorite sustainable Amazon finds. Disclosure: When you shop the links on this page, my small business may earn a small commission.
Babes, I hope this blog gives you some ideas that you can incorporate into your life year round. Cheers!