Spring has sprung and I've created a new list of sustainable swaps. This will be my last seasonal swap post as I've done one for every other season so far. To be honest it was a little tricky coming up with easy swaps to make. A lot of the swaps I suggested below are about mindfulness and being more aware of your day to day habits and how they effect you and the environment. By no means are we all perfect, and I don't think we should be. By becoming aware of our own impacts is a good start towards bettering our planet. I hope in the near future we will continue to see more and more business take responsibility for their environmental footprint too, I believe this is crucial for the survival of our planet, our home.
Now that the weather is warming up, time to whip out that clothesline and skip the dryer. Dryers use a lot of energy, therefore have a heavy carbon footprint. When I traveled to Europe almost all of my airbnb's had washers only, and no dryer. There was something special about the act of hanging your clothes to dry out on clothesline above a sunny street in Barcelona. Living in NYC, I don't have that opportunity unless I literally run a clothesline through my tiny apartment. If you can, skip the dryer and save money! Plus you'll lessen your environmental impact.
This is an oldie but goodie. Carpool with friends when you can, take the subway if you live in city with local transportation, orrr invest in a bike and get a workout in too. At the end of the day, we all travel, and it's really unavoidable. If you're a mom with kids - a car is much more practical. I also don't believe we should be "banning flying", traveling can be very enriching and is an experience I hope everyone get the opportunity to do. As far as airplanes, public transportation, and even automobiles- I hope to see more innovative technology from the businesses to offer better travel options that don't have such a large impact on the environment negatively.
Most candles we buy are made from paraffin wax, which is derived from oil. So burning a paraffin wax candle, you can probably assume they don't have the best benefits for you orrr for the environment. Not only are we supporting the destructive oil industry but the fumes from the candle release carcinogens into the air. Luckily there are alternatives that you can swap out at all different price points. A diffuser is a great swap with additional health benefits depending on what type of essential oil you use. Peppermint can help with mental focus, air freshener, and joint health. Tea tree is good for skin care, deodorizing and purifying. Lavender can be calming, aid allergies, and digestion. I have mine going as I'm typing this with a lavender and peppermint combo. If you're not ready to give up candles and enjoy the ambiance they bring - opt for a natural wax alternative like soy or bees wax candle.
I just came across this information recently but "fragrance" has a lot of negative benefits to your health. Not just in perfume, but anything we use day to day with "fragrance". I learned that fragrances are made up of chemicals, "chemicals used to make fragrances are classified as allergens, hormone disruptors, asthma triggers, neurotoxins & carcinogens". To keep it simple, try to avoid chemical based fragrance when using lotions, perfumes, or anything that can be applied directly to your skin. Click here to view a list of non-toxic perfume companies.
If you are in need of new sandals this summer, I always recommend doing a little bit of research before you purchase. Where the product is made, what the product is made of, does it have any certifications, how long will this product last, what is it's purpose, etc. ABLE is a reputable brand that has some great timeless and trendy sandal styles. TIDAL, a NY based company, makes flip flops out of renewable materials and is innovating new ways to reduce their environmental impact. They are also a certified B corp and provide a ton of insight on their supply chain on their site.
Another oldie but goodie. Be more conscious of water usage - turning the tap off when you're not using the water like when you're brushing your teeth or washing your face. Once again this is about being more mindful, and see where unnecessary water is being used or wasted and can be re-used. I started washing my hair less which shortens my showers and water usage but also has been beneficial for my hair.
Swap out regular garbage bags for recycled garbage bags. You also need to make sure you're using the proper type of garbage bag for your recycling bin, which are the blue bags. By not using the proper type of recycled bag, it can disrupt the entire recycling process. I don't use a bag in my recycle bin, and I dump out my recyclables directly into the main bin outside of my building. I'd recommend one large bag for your garbage bin that you leave out to pick up and then skip the bag for your indoor recycling bin, you'll use less bags + save some money!
Flowers for plants
Swap out purchasing flowers for plants, which will live indefinitely (if you take proper care). You'll save money in the long run too. You can propagate plants too so you can multiply them for free - or get some of your friends together and have a plant swap party. I asked for plants for my birthday and a friend of mine gave me cutting's of all his plants and it was one of the best birthday gifts! I suggest starting with easy house plants that need low level care and work your way up as you feel more comfortable. Plants are good for the air, the environment, and make great decorations - they come in all different shapes and sizes!
This is currently on my to-swap list. I am they type of person that only reads a book once and then adds it to my book shelf. I like reading books and having the experience of slipping the pages and watching the bookmark move closer and closer to the end of the book. So I do want to try using a kindle, everyone that I know who has made this transition has had nothing but positive things to say. Books are cheaper, you can swap and trade books with others, and there isn't any waste - unless the kindle breaks beyond repair. If any of you have a kindle or ebook reader let me know your thoughts or any tips you may have!
That concludes my sustainable swap series! I have linked my previous posts below for reference.