The time has come again, Winter has arrived and I have put together a whole new set of swaps you can make this Winter. I tried to focus this set on more at home swaps since we tend to spend more time indoors as the weather gets colder. Almost all these swaps save you $$$ in the long run too, how could you not give them a shot?
This one is easy, and I'm sure most of you already know about these. Swap out single use plastic and chemical filled dryer sheets for wool dryer balls that last up to 1,000 loads of laundry. They are biodegradable and have no chemicals or plastics, and also dry your clothes faster so you use less energy. Here's the set on my shopping list I've been wanting to buy. You can also switch from liquid detergent to a powder one, you'll get more for your money and will save water, and skip the harsh chemicals. Dropps ($.30/ea) and Blueland ($.35/ea) are two plastic and chemical free alternatives.
Switch over your lighting to LED light bulbs (Holiday lights too) - LED lights last 50,000 hours when incandescent only last 1,200. LED lights consume less power which means less greenhouse gasses are emitted, and a lower energy bill for you. It is said that 1 LED light can reduce emissions by half a ton(!!!!!!). While they are pricier upfront, they repay themselves within 5 years, and reduce you energy bill by at least 5%. While all lightbulbs take years and years to decompose - I found anything from 10 years to a million years from a quick google search. From an environmental standpoint LED is the clear winner (next to natural light of course).
Ditch the grubby sponge and swap out with reusable dish cloths and a dish brush for the tougher scrubs. Swap out liquid dish soap with tablets, powder, or bar soap. This setup will also be a cute addition to your kitchen. The cloths and brush can be reused much longer than the average sponge. Buy a bamboo brush and natural cloths that will decompose once you can no longer use.
Skip the makeup wipes, they are single use, plastic, and don't even take off all your makeup at the end of the day. Swap out with a cleansing balm, oil, or micellar water. While most skincare still comes in plastic packaging at least you’re getting multiple uses out of it before recycling or repurposing. I used to use coconut oil to take off my makeup but it wasn't working well for my skin - it did take my makeup off but it also clogged my pores. This video by Hyram (who I recently found on youtube and have been obsessed with) talks about makeup wipe alternatives and which ones to use for your skin type.
This is my next swap I'll make, and I was a bit hesitant for awhile. But I've heard nothing but good reviews. Swap out single use tampons and pads for the period cup. I also have friends that use the period underwear and have no complaints and have also recommended to me. The period cup can last up to 12 years and you can keep in for up to 12 hours. These cups are chemical free unlike most tampons and pads which are bleached. Yes, it's more expensive than a box of tampons. But when you look at it from a yearly rate rather than a monthly rate - you're saving at least $100/year.
This one is easy, switching to at least recycled toilet paper - I ordered a subscription from Who Gives A Crap and I didn't know how much I could enjoy toilet paper until now. They don't use any inks, dyes, or glue in their TP. It's soft and sturdy, AND they donate 50% of profits to help build toilets. No plastic packaging and toilet paper is wrapped in cute paper that I love showing off in my bathroom. They also sell bamboo toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels. For those that want to take it to the next level, the most environmentally friendly option is a bidet. I've also heard nothing but great things...not quite there...yet.
Coffee is a big part of my morning routine. Every day I genuinely look forward to my first sip of coffee, so when I found out that there can be some ethical and environmental challenges behind it I was bummed. Because coffee trees are mostly grown in developing countries, many farmers can be at risk for not making enough money to even cover the production cost. Also if the farmer only grows coffee trees, the biodiversity in that area is negatively impacted. More water will be needed, because there isn't shade from other trees and plants, also more pesticides are typically needed. A few certifications you can look out for before purchasing your next bag of coffee are:
Rainforest Alliance and UTZ - which sets environmental and social standards
Fair trade - minimum price was paid upfront to farmers to ensure they are paid fairly
Bird friendly - protects biodiversity in that are, also 100% organic.