For the past few years I’ve made it a gentle goal to gradually make myself as sustainable as possible, most specifically with my purchases, or abstention from purchases: Choices I have enjoyed in order to make incremental sustainable shifts in my lifestyle. Of course the main contributors to the climate crisis are big corporations. (We’ve got to tackle that too.) But for me, making these shifts has been a good feeling, not just an alleviation of guilt for being a contributor to our planet’s CO2 levels as a car-driving (and car-loving) American, but as a passion project that has brought me joy.
- My favorite purchase: THIS ^ shampoo bar is lovely! No plastic bottle, no plastic wrapping. And it makes my bathroom smell fresh. (I still am using a conditioner in a bottle. Yeah, I’m not perfect.)
- I abstain from using Q-tips.
- Always bring a water bottle to work and a mug to my local coffee shop.
- I take my empty soap bottles once and a while to a place called Off the Bottle, a store with bulk cleaning products that I can use to refill my soap containers.
- I just recently bought the refillable LEAF razor. I just used it today to shave my legs and I LOVE it! A little pricy, but it’s high quality and the idea is it’ll last forever. No plastic.
5. I bought a scooter! It was relatively affordable ($399) and hopefully it’ll save me some gas money in the long run. And, it is HELLA fun. I use that to scoot scoot to the climbing gym I like to frequent. I call it my motorcycle, which it clearly is not, so it cracks me up. I’m hoping to take it to work soon too, at least once and a while. After doing research, my brand-of-choice was HiBoy.
6. Instead of paper towels or tissues, I have these recycled fabric cloths I bought from a local shop in Denver. Some people find it super hippy, I find it super soft and a nice, money-saving option over time! Some of these I fold up into tissue boxes, and others I leave out as paper towels. You can find something similar on Etsy. Or I use rags for cleaning from old clothes that I can then toss in the wash later.
7. Instead of plastic trash bags, I use the paper bags I get at the grocery store. (This makes for the need to wash out my trashcan more frequently, but eh, it’s worth it.) Yes, I could use those compostable trash bags, but… paper bags are free, and I usually forget my reusable ones for the grocery store anyway.
8. Powdered dishwasher detergent that is encased in cardboard, instead of plastic and laundry detergent encased in cardboard.
9. Thrift shopping, baby!
10.Trader Joe’s expandable sponges made from natural vegetable cellulose, not plastic. There’s 12 in one small little package.
My big goal which perhaps is the biggest one, (and hardest one) is to take my money out of the Big Banks, which are enormous corporate investors in fossil fuels, and to put it into a better bank. But this has proven tough and scary! Hard to make the leap, I don’t know why. SO, maybe, the goal will be to write a letter to the bank to push them to divest from fossil fuels? I don’t know, again, I’m not perfect.
So there you have it! A not-so-giant list of things I have enjoyed in making myself a little more sustainable.
One of the Solar Punk social media people I follow on Instagram, who is an environmental engineer, mentioned there is one major psychological phenomena that behavioral psychology has shown us is one of the biggest ways to influence change towards environmental well-being: Want to take a guess? It’s not more education, or feeling bad about climate change, or throwing more money at it (although those are good things too) but actually SELF EFFICACY: The feeling that you as a person matter, and can make a difference. This leads to personal changes and well-being and conversations between peers. Which can also affect policy. Who’da thought huh?
Also, if you don’t know about the Solar Punk movement, check it out. Google it. It’s inspiring. In order to create a better world, we need creatives to show us ideas and images of what is possible as an outcome, and then we can all devise road maps to get there.
Which one is your favorite sustainable option? Anything not on this list you love to use?