As summer starts to come to an end, most of us are getting into the fall spirit and ready to whip out all the candles, sweaters, and blankets, while sipping a pumpkin spice latte. My summer sustainable swaps post was quite popular, so I figured I would create another list for fall. Fall is my favorite season, you still get to do fun outdoor activities without continuously overheating and applying sunscreen. Fall to me brings more relaxation at home, spending quality time with friends and family, and just an overall peaceful but productive vibe.
During this transition from summer to fall, here are a few swaps you can easily make at home.
Morning coffee, matcha, tea, etc
Not only will you save SO much money by making your drinks at home before heading to work or leaving the house, but you will also be saving lots of plastic and waste! In college I almost always had to buy a morning coffee before class, now I enjoy making it myself in the morning. Having the smell of coffee fill up my apartment makes my mornings so much better. I (used to) enjoy it on my morning commute (that no longer exists thanks to Covid). If you are a specialty drink lover, there are so many easy to follow recipes to make your favorite drink at home. If you're a latte fan like me, investing in a frother, some instant espresso, and some flavored non-dairy creamer is life changing.
Here's an easy PSL recipe for 2 people:
- 2 cups of milk of choice
- 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin puree (or more for a stronger pumpkin flavor)
- 1 -2 Tablespoons of sugar based on sweetness preference
- 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of strong black coffee or 2 shots of espresso
- Whipped cream for topping (optional)
1. Mix milk, pumpkin puree, and sugar to a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Heat until hot, do not boil.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and the coffee or espresso.
4. Split mixture between two mugs.
5. Top with whipped cream
We all love getting into the holiday spirit and decorating our homes accordingly. Try to buy decorations that can transition to different seasons. Think blankets, wall hangings, kitchen towels, throw pillow covers, etc. Only buy things that you absolutely love and won't get sick of next fall. Seasonal plants, fruits, and veggies also make great and edible decorations that won't go to waste. Etsy is a great place to look for seasonal long lasting decorations.
Composting is a great way to divert waste from a landfill, but also for those who like to garden or have plants at home. For those of you who don't have an outdoor space to store a compost bin, some store in the freezer at home and then drop off to a local compost collection site. Some collection sites have closed temporarily due to Covid, but a quick google search should help you find a drop off location near you. Here is a quick read on how to get started with composting at home for beginners!
Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables
Supporting local famers market's or any local produce suppliers is better for you, the farmers, and the environment. They will also taste better because they are in season! Apples, pears, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, eggplant, figs, cranberries, green beans, grapes, kale, peppers, pumpkin, and sweet potato are a few of many that are in season throughout fall. Go apple picking with friends instead of going out for drinks and dinner and make dinner together at home!
It's recommended to swap our your toothbrush every 3-4 months, switching to a bamboo toothbrush is a great plastic free, biodegradable swap. This article is super helpful for selecting the best bamboo toothbrush for you, your kids, and even pets! Bamboo toothbrushes are offered in all different types of styles, colors, and features like with charcoal for additional teeth whitening.
During a time when we are all washing our hands more often, and probably going through hand soap and sanitizer a lot quicker; consider switching to a plastic free hand soap. For those of you that prefer liquid - Blueland offers a plastic free foaming hand soap with tablets that you mix with water to refill. Grove also offers bulk liquid hand soap and reusable glass pumps.
If you haven't already - swapping out single use face masks for appropriate cotton reusable face masks are a great swap and will match your outfits better. Almost every clothing brand is now making them. You just need to make sure the masks will still protect you and not just act as an added accessory. For example, when you exhale you should not be able to feel your breath come through the other side of the mask. Buy a pack of 3-5 and hand wash in the sink and air dry. Pro-tip - I was told adding a few drops of peppermint oil on the inside of your mask makes it feel easier to breath and doesn't get so stuffy.
This has been one of my latest ah-ha moments. I recently questioned why I was still buying them, because kitchen towels and rags do the same job, if not better. So throughout the week I challenged myself to not use my current roll of paper towels and I didn't miss them one bit! Make it a fun swap and invest in some cute kitchen towels and rags that you'll want to reach for instead of a paper towel. Old t-shirts can be cut up and used to clean the extra dirty stuff that may stain the towel. I have two piles under my sink, my nice and pretty towels and my stained rags for the messier cleaning jobs.
I hope this post inspired you to want to make some changes at home and share with others! Share with me any swaps you'll be making this fall in your home.