I did not grow up in a sustainably driven home. We were a midwestern family with Costco culture: buy bulk, clean cheap, and gather around the family table for a meat and potatoes meal. This is not a negative depiction. My childhood was absolutely fantastic. Among everything my parents provided my siblings and I, they showered us in love, a big family home, huge wardrobes, and autonomy to grow into our individual selves. In 2007, my family moved to northern California. We started recycling more, limiting our soda/plastic water bottle use and living a little more “green.” In college, I learned about the power of living sustainably. Compost cans live in every business and on almost every corner in Berkeley, California. The overall culture of sustainability is focused on limiting personal waste, water usage, and making smart purchases.
In June 2016, I moved to Denver. Shocked that the city is not as “green” as one might hype it up to be (where are the compost cans, Mile High City?!), I made a few personal changes. Below are six changes I’ve made in the past year with the goal of living a greener life.
(1) Limiting Paper Towel Use. I’m not going to lie. This one is tough and requires you to quit cold-turkey! When I moved to Denver, I gave up paper towels for the six months that I lived alone. When I moved in with my boyfriend, Alex, and we adopted Holly, a somewhat potty trained pup. My proud sans paper towel accomplishment was quickly countered by the need to clean up puppy accidents. Now that Holly is potty trained, we haven’t purchased paper towel in a few weeks. To get the job done more sustainably, I recommend keeping old dish towels/wash clothes around for cleaning and accidents. For napkins, I purchased a few reusable cloth napkins from World Market. And get this?! For less than buying a six pack of paper towel. The bottom line is that you can’t recycle paper towel, and this little change can be meaningful for a sustainable planet. Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics.
(2) Eating Less Meat. In April 2016, I became a vegetarian. Vegetarianism and minimizing mass meat production is proven to be more sustainable for our mother earth. Of course, one person’s change in diet isn’t going to save the world, but in aggregate, minimizing mass-produced meat processing, might. To give you a hint, some other fruitful benefits are: (1) I’m a faster runner; (2) My skin is finally clear; (3) I lost ten pounds. Can’t give up meat? Try to buy organic and local as much as possible.
(3) Washing ONLY Full Loads of Laundry. For perfectionists and people who constantly change outfits (ahem, me) this one isn’t easy…but makes so much sense. I wait to wash my clothes until I can do so without wasting too much water. Full loads not only save money – in water $ if you have in-house laundry or in quarters if you live in a shared laundry unit – but also conserves water usage. Double whammy!
(4) Making Coffee. In college, I bought a cup of coffee (or two…or three) every single day. This habit is definitely convenient (unless you’re waiting in long lines) but the habit is also: EXPENSIVE ($$) and WASTEFUL. If you can’t stop supporting your local coffee joints, try both of these things: (1) don’t forget your reusable cup and (2) choose one day of the week to #treatyourself with premium coffee. I personally love a good cappuccino, so I buy one on Saturdays and french press my coffee the rest of the week. So far this year, I’ve saved around $400. This budget saver let’s me do number (5) and (6) on my list.
(5) Supporting Do-Good Companies. From cosmetics and sunscreen, to cleaning supplies, food, and clothes, whenever I can, I support companies that are doing good things for the world. When given the option, I will purchase local, green-friendly, and/or socially-driven products over those without a sustainable mission. A few of my favorite brands are: Goddess Garden, Ecos Dish Soap, prAna, and Newman’s. Knowing that your dollars are going towards a greater good is not only personally fulfilling but also (often) good for our planet. The same goes for poorly run companies, I make an effort to not purchase from or support discriminatory or contaminating companies, like Walmart and Exxon. Where you spend your dollars truly matters.
Interested in trying out my favorite sustainable sunscreen? Use the discount code “SweatPink” for 20% off of Goddess Garden until March 20.
(6) Purchasing Organic Clothing. Now, I admit, this is not always something I can do, financially. As a law student, I’m on a tight budget; however, I know that forming good habits now will help my spending dollars go further in the future. Choosing organic clothing means less impact on the environment, farmers, and factory workers. As someone with a very active lifestyle, I need clothes that take me from running, to school, yoga, the dog park, and work, and do it all over again the next day. Over the past four years, I’ve purchased my activewear and “regular people” clothes from prAna: a leading apparel company with a social and sustainable mission. prAna clothes are (1) comfortable and functional; (2) doing good for the world; (3) extremely cute. Through Fit Approach’s partnership with prAna, I received both the Calypsa Top and Lizbeth Skirt and AM IN LOVE.
Interested in supporting prAna and purchasing a few new spring items?
Use the discount code “S4PFAC” for 15% off your entire purchase. Valid until March 28.
These six tips were my main changes in 2016 and beginning of 2017.
How do you live a sustainable life? Any additional tips? Comment below!
Happy Hump Day!
DISCLAIMER: Through my affiliation with Fit Approach (d/b/a Sweat Pink) Influencer Community, I received prAna clothing in exchange for a blog post. As always, opinions are my own!