Last month, I was incredibly inspired by the Youth Climate Strike–students walking out of class globally to strike and demand change and I’m currently at the edge of my seat, excited about Earth Day and Month this April. As a young student myself, I’d say the schools I attended did a fairly decent job as far as educating us about the importance of sustainability and minimizing our waste. I remember Earth Day/Month being really fun during the school year and always looking forward to it and I have since loved “celebrating” it, if you will.
So this Earth Month, I’m excited to bring you content I’ve been working on to help you live a greener life in both an accessible and approachable way. To start us off, I’ve partnered with Seventh Generation to bring you 5 Simple Swaps for an Eco Friendly Home. I’m not claiming to be the greenest, most eco and zero waste human on the planet–I’m far from that actually, but I think that I do an above average job when it comes to living sustainably. A big part of that is of course, being vegan, because animal agriculture is one of the main contributors to environmental damage, but there are also little swaps I’ve implemented into my life to live greener. These simple swaps have become second nature (pun intended), and I really only notice that they’re “different” when I’m visiting others, or have people over. I’ll be sharing little steps that will make a big impact for mama earth. Here we go!
1. Put your freezer to work
The freezer is one of my all time favourite appliances in my kitchen. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I often store leftovers from recipe testing and meal-prepped food in the freezer. This is something I started doing because I live alone, and oftentimes, I had food that would go to waste because I’m constantly cooking new recipes. This is a really easy way to cut down on potential food waste, and it also keeps food a lot fresher. Nowadays, if it’s something that can be frozen, I’ll just pop it in the freezer instead of the fridge because why not! Think of it like an extended eat by date. The freezer is also a handy place to store compost!
2. Compost + recycle (to the best of your ability)
Composting and recycling can be intimidating. Many assume that it’s time consuming, difficult to do correctly, or not applicable to their lifestyle. The truth is, you can modify both to suit your lifestyle. I always thought that composting was something I’d start doing when I lived in a home with a family (or others), but I currently live alone in a studio apartment in NYC (in other words, small kitchens), and I make composting work. It’s all about looking for ways to make it realistic for you and your lifestyle.
I compost in my freezer, by storing food scraps and the butts of veggies in a biodegradable garbage bag. Whenever I’m chopping produce, the ends that I’d usually toss into the trash go right into the garbage bag. You don’t have to worry about smells because when frozen, your food scraps won’t decompose! Once a week, or whenever the freezer gets too full, I’ll drop my compost off at a local farmer’s market. I don’t have my own compost bin, but I’m still composting and it’s an easy little step that almost anyone can take.
Fortunately, I live in an apartment building that does recycle, but if you don’t, that doesn’t mean you should forgo recycling period. Instead, consider collecting your recyclable goods, and similar to the compost routine, make routine visits to either a recycling site, or a business that recycles. For example, Whole Foods has a recycling section by their trash cans. If you live in the US, earth911.com offers an extensive list of recycle sites, and if you live elsewhere, a quick google search will usually fill you in. Some other places to keep in mind that may take your recyclable goods include your workplace, small businesses or schools. Also–ask your friends! They may live in an apartment building that offers recycling. It might be a little weird, but you could ask your friend to add to their recycling every once in a while. That’s what friends are for right? 😛
3. Paper good alternatives
In the kitchen, paper goods are one of the easiest things to swap that make a huge impact. This might sound a little odd, but I don’t use or own paper towels in my home. Instead, I’ve become accustomed to using dish rags and linens (which, by the way, are much more beautiful than boring old paper towels), which are reusable and washable. Another similar swap you can make includes napkins, which can be swapped for cloth napkins and parchment paper which can be swapped for a non-stick baking mat. If you can’t live without paper goods, however, look for a better paper option like paper towels made with recycled paper.
Now the bathroom. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you stop using toilet paper (haha) but I am going to share an easy alternative. Just like with paper towels, you can purchase toilet paper made with recycled paper. TP is not something we think about often, but it’s an easy swap to make that will make a serious impact daily. If every household in the US replaced a 4 pack of 240 sheet virgin fiber toilet paper with recycled toilet paper, we could help save over 740,000 trees! You’re probably familiar with Seventh Generation and their non-toxic household cleaning, but Seventh Generation is also the go-to brand of recycled TP in my household. Bonus: you can purchase Seventh Generation recycled TP wrapped in paper for a completely plastic-free option and they also offer recycled paper towels.
4. Clean up the bathroom
You can clean up your bathroom by swapping to non-toxic products. You don’t have to overhaul your entire bathroom cabinet, but consider replacing a product when you next use something up, with a cleaner and greener alternative. This applies to beauty products and skincare, both of which I’ve spoken about in length on my blog, but also also cleaning products. You’d think that cleaning products are, well, clean… but most conventional cleaning products are formulated with chemicals that pose potential health risks to humans and also the Earth! When we’re finished with all of the chemicals after we’ve “cleaned” with them, they sadly do not just disappear after going down the drain. So next time you run out of something, consider a non-toxic swap! I use a lot of Seventh Generation products for cleaning myself, and you can also try homemade cleaning solutions which are extremely cost effective too!
5. Eat more plants
This easy swap happens on your plate. You don’t need to go vegan, but eating more plants versus animal products is an easy way to give back to the Earth. As I mentioned earlier, animal agriculture is one of the leading contributors to environmental damage, but making a change is as simple as one single meatless meal. Yes! One meal, or one day a week, eating more plant-based is a wonderful way to eat eco-friendly.
I hope you enjoyed these simple swaps, and remember that making swaps gradually is also an important component in sustainable, long term lifestyle changes. Don’t be too hard on yourself, do your best, and stay tuned for more Earth love + green tips in a few months! Big thanks to Seventh Generation for sponsoring this Earth lovin’ blogpost.
Love & recycling,16
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BY Remy • April 8, 2019
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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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