Not sure if you noticed, but I changed the header at the top of this blog and tag line from “Life & Style Blog” to “An Eco-Conscious Blog.” I wanted the focus to be about my journey of being a more thoughtful human being, thoughtful of the environment, humans and animals. This journey started when I came across the term fast fashion and all of its dirty secrets (i.e. sweatshops, toxic laden fabric) and has transformed to encompass various aspects of my life.
I didn’t realize how tainted everything was until I researched the process of how things are made and its ingredients. Learning about all of the harmful ingredients in my beauty and cleaning products changed my outlook on almost everything like packaging, disposables and plastic. Again, I researched how harmful plastic is to our well-being and the environment. Plastic has so many toxins that can cause hormone disruptions and cancer. BPA isn’t the only harmful chemical in plastic and bottles that say BPA free still have BPS and a myriad of other chemicals.
I know it seems unfair to have to think about these things, but it is unfair that we have to accept all of the chemicals in our clothes, products and food because it is cheaper for companies to do so. Why should we let companies take our health into their own hands while destroying the environment? As a consumer, we have the power to support brands that are doing their part and not using chemicals.
Change takes time, but following any of the tips below makes a bigger impact than you know.
- Know Where Your Clothes Were Made
Next time you want to buy clothes, determine what you really need, check out the brands mentioned in the ‘Where to Shop’ page in the top menu, or browse thrift stores. It has been almost a year since I stopped buying clothes from fast fashion stores such as H&M, Forever 21, Target and Zara and I don’t miss it one bit. This is coming from the girl who bought a new item at least once a month. If I can do it, you can certainly do it too.
- Read the Ingredients
You’ll start to notice the main offenders in your beauty products such as Propene Glycol, Sodium Laurate Sulfate (SLS) and Parabens. These chemicals are TOXIC along with several others that can lead to tumors, kidney damage, cancer, respiratory distress or harm the reproductive system. Why even test your fate with these chemicals? I’m going to let you in on a secret….there are natural products that can give you the same results or even better that don’t have ANY chemicals. They are also cheaper!! It is fascinating what you can do with coconut oil, essential oils and shea butter. Go to your nearest Trader Joes and buy coconut oil (it is cheaper than Amazon). Start replacing your beauty products with natural alternatives. Next week, I will share all of my beauty products and my current routine.
- Read Labels
This one is kind of a tricky one because of all the false labeling out there, but look for foods that say GMO- free, hormone free, local and organic. Everything under the Trader Joe’s label is GMO free (hooray!). If you don’t know what a GMO is, it is a term to describe genetically modified organisms. In the US, approximately 85% of all processed foods contain an organism that has a genetically engineered material. Genetically engineered crops usually use more pesticides and herbicides that we eventually eat. Do any of you guys use Round Up to kill weeds in your backyard? Well, imagine eating processed foods that contain Round Up because products with GMO’s do. Most corn and soy products in the US have GMOs. GMO OMG is a great documentary if you want to know more about GMOs.
- Consider Packaging
Almost every product you buy is packaged with plastic. It sucks that potatoes packaged in a plastic bag are a fraction of the cost if you were to buy them individually. I don’t get it. Fruit, vegetables and most beauty products are packaged in plastic that have chemicals. These chemicals seep into your foods and skin wreaking havoc on your body. Next time you are at Target or the grocery store, consider glass, bamboo or stainless steel and try to get your groceries without plastic. Stores like Whole Foods sell a lot of items in bulk so you don’t have to only buy packaged items like grains or oatmeal.
- Forget Disposables
Disposable bags, utensils, plates and napkins are EVERYWHERE. It is so hard getting away from them, but it is possible. Instead of using disposable bags, use reusable ones! I’m currently making my own produce bags and sandwich bags with fabric scraps. I take my reusable bags to every store and if I forget it, I carry my items to my car. Instead of disposable utensils, I bring my own regardless of where I am. I have a reusable bamboo utensil set that I now carry in my purse. Plates can be tricky because some restaurants only have disposable plates. I’m considering buying a stainless steel tiffin that I can use as a plate or container for my leftovers. Mason jars work great for your drinks or leftovers. I’ve taken my mason jar to restaurants so that I don’t use a disposable plastic cup. How many napkins or paper towels do you go through a day? Imagine how much easier it would be if you had a handkerchief you used the entire day! You can buy them from lifewithoutplastic.com, reuseit.com , Amazon or make some yourself with some fun fabric. For the ladies, instead of spending so much money on tampons, pads and pantyliners, buy a reusable cup that lasts up to 10 years. I bought the Diva cup and I will never go back to disposable tampons because I’m no longer polluting, I’m saving a lot of money AND I’m not putting harmful plastics in my hooha.
It can seem overwhelming at first, but try to tackle these tips one at a time. You will start noticing a difference with your energy levels and moods once you start switching to natural products. Lemons, by the way, are amazing for cleaning, your skin and health. You can clean your kitchen with lemons while making your house smell delightful. Do you have any other tips to be more eco-conscious?