These days, it is impossible to avoid seeing posts or announcements with respect to the plastic straw ban and other items that are non-biodegradable, causing harm to the environment. Some folk who live in Canada may say that for the majority, there are no oceans or sea turtles near by so why should they care about the impact on them. But it goes beyond the ocean and it isn’t limited to sea-turtles.
Unfortunately in 2019, we have consumed more than we need to or should. I actually think we are the generation of over-consumers. We often buy in excess, buy what we don’t need and we waste so much. I encourage you to reflect on an average day and take note of how much you use in excess and for single use- from grabbing extra plastic forks you don’t need, to taking an extra bag at the store, to the extra Starbucks cup. I catch myself doing this ALL THE TIME, even though I am trying to get better at it. As much as I try to be a minimalist, and as much as I try to do little things like carry my own metal straw, wooden utensils and Swell bottle in my bag everyday, that I try to avoid single use plastic as much as I can or buying what I know I don’t really need, the one thing I am guilty of is Tim Horton’s tea from their paper cups with the plastic lining. The tea just doesn’t taste the same and no matter how many thermoses I try, I am yet to find one that works. I am compromising by using the cup a few times (don’t judge LOL) and really making an effort in every other aspect to reduce where I can. But I too am still a work in progress and I don’t want to continue buying these cups.
Some of you may wonder what got me on this bandwagon of sustainability? Truthfully it started mainly because I am a minimalist. Ever since I can remember, stuff gives me anxiety. I get great pleasure in having less and nothing I enjoy more than going through my possessions a few times a year and downsizing. The goal is that I won’t need to do this much because I am going to really use everything I own and not purchase new items so I won’t need to reduce; instead I try to borrow or rent. Even though I was practicing some of the sustainable lifestyle traits like buying less, using more, reducing waste, my reasons weren’t for Mother nature; it had more to do with my physical environment and space. But a trip to Bali earlier this year shifted my way of thinking. I watched my environmentalist friend Aleisha (@eat.shop.travel) go snorkelling only to surface with handfuls of garbage (see link below for her account). I was disgusted. I am a traveler and I love being in nature. If we keep going the way we are going, our planet will turn into one of those Sci-Fi movies where everything is metal and life is dead with no existence of trees etc. This beach bum wasn’t about to continue to contribute to the destruction of Mother Earth.
I know it isn’t easy and some might say what difference is one person going to make. But I truly think all these small things can add up to some type of impact long term, especially if they are frequently practiced.
Here are 20 products I am currently using or plan to purchase to help contribute to living a sustainable lifestyle:
- Swell Water Bottle
This has been a staple for work and gym for me for several years now. It has a permanent home in my bag, where I am return it daily after washing. Tip- once a week I clean it with vinegar and baking soda to get rid of the smell that comes from sealing water in for hours a day.
2. Wooden Cutlery Set
I found this set on amazon (link below) and this too has a permanent home in my bag. I also include 1 metal straw. These items go with me to work and serve as my daily utensils. Also, if I end up purchasing food or drinks, I don’t have to take their straws or cutlery as I have my own.
3. Mesh produce bags
This item reminds me of Caribbean living as I often saw this used at the markets in Barbados. It is perfect for produce shopping.
4. Grocery Bag
I currently use a cloth bag I got from an event but I also recently ordered a few of these to live in my everyday bag, that way I never have to worry about using plastic bags when shopping for groceries or other items.
5. Reusable “ziplock” bags
I originally bought these to take my snacks to work, but I have diversified the use to include travel storage, receipts etc.
6. Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap
I admit I don’t use cellophane/fax paper/saran wrap as I tend to just store cut fruits/veggies in glass containers, but having a re-useable option, especially to transport dishes, is great.
7. Metal Straws
I first used metal straws on my 2017 Bali trip and became obsessed with finding them. I am so excited they have become so popular!
8. Travel size glass and bamboo jars
These are also on my wish list to purchase when I do my next Amazon order. I am slowly looking to replace my plastic items so having glass/bamboo containers for travel is perfect.
9. Travel bags and cubes (versus plastic bags and ziplocks)
These are a life-saver when it comes to maximizing travel storage. I highly recommend using travel cubes!
10. Shampoo Bar
I originally started using shampoo bars for travel to minimize my liquid content but these bars are a great way to reduce plastic use!
11. Reusable makeup remover wipes
Environmentally friendly and easy to wash, these re-usable wipes are perfect for everyday use.
12. Reusable coffee cup
This item is a struggle for me as I admit I don’t like the taste of my tea out of metal or plastic so I tend to buy my tea from Tim Horton’s using their paper cups (lined in plastic). I try to re-use them but I recently purchased the mug below in an effort to try to reduce the amount of cups I am wasting.
13. Products made from recycled/reusable materials eg LOVE hair
I have not bought these items yet but they are high on my list for my next purchase of shampoo/conditioner. Why? Because their packaging is completely eco-friendly and recyclable. Specifically, in addition to the products being organic, the bottles are made from 100% Brazilian sugar cane!
Check out products from LOVE Hair’s site below:
14. Biodegradable Waste bags eg for dog poo, garbage that can’t be composted/recycled
I admit that I sometimes use these dog poo bags as my garbage bags since they are one of the few biodegradable ones I can find on the market.
15. Recycled Toilet Paper
I know many of my guests complain that my TP is not the nicest, but it is literally for wiping poo so why does it need to be nice? HAH! Regardless, I try to now buy recyclable TP!
16. Recycled paper
As with TP, I also try to buy recycled paper. And if I need to make notes and need scrap paper, I tend to go to the fax machine at work and reuse the marketing flyers that pile up.
17. Recycled Aluminium Foil
As mentioned above, I don’t really use saran, foil etc so this lasts a long time for me. I encourage you to try using recycled aluminium foil as well.
18. LED Bulbs
LED lights are more efficient to use, even though they cost a little more to buy. But it will save you in the long run financially.
19. Glass lunch containers with bamboo covers
This is also on my next Amazon wish list as I slowly replace all my plastic tupperware.
20. Organic wool dryer balls
Wool dryer balls are functional and they can double as decor!
I am always keen to learn more, so if anyone has any other products they would like to suggest or anything to add to this post, please feel free to comment below.
Also please note this article is 100% my own recommendations. It is not sponsored in any way and all the items I have mentioned have been purchased, not gifted.