My 30s started with a move back to the US with my partner for his new job and that came with a new house and my fulfilling my long awaited dream of having puppies! More on the puppies in another post, but moving to a new house from another country meant I left a lot of things behind and had a clean slate on how I wanted my lifestyle to be. One of the changes I wanted to make was to be more sustainable in my everyday life. Some of these changes I made a long time ago more for convenience and comfort than anything else and some are new. By no means have I gone zero waste, but I am on a slow journey to a more toxic-free and sustainable lifestyle.
Here are some of changes I’ve made so far that I love:
- Reusable cotton pads
- Making my own home cleaners
- Buying in bulk
- Shopping second-hand
- Menstrual cup and period underwear
1. Reusable cotton pads
As a beauty junkie, my skincare routine is extensive and essences and toners are steps that both require using cotton pads, which means I go through probably 3 to 4 pads a day, which means I go through one plastic bag of 100 disposable cotton pads in less than a month.
I purchased a pack of 20 organic bamboo cotton reusable cotton pads for $14.59. These are both larger and thicker than a standard bag of basic cotton rounds, which from Target is $1.99. Assuming I used to use a bag a month, these pay themselves back after 7.5 months.
I just toss the mesh bag with all my used ones in the laundry every week and I’ve got a fresh supply.
2. Making my own home cleaners
Both a more sustainable and non-toxic change I’ve made is to mix my own cleaning products. Most the recipes I use come from Live Simply and generally use some combination of water, Castile soap, vinegar, baking soda and some essential oils. All the ingredients are bought in bulk and are things I probably would have already owned anyways. On top of that, if I run out, the amount of time it would take me to go out and buy the cleaners is the more than it would take me to mix a new batch of them.
The few things I still buy are glass stovetop cleaners to get rid of stuff thats burned onto the stovetop and toilet bleach. Maybe it’s just mental, but I just find the toilet cleaner if it’s been cleaned with bleach… If you have any good home recipes to try, comment below!
I find myself cleaning more now mainly because of the pups, but it’s good to know they are not licking up all the potentially toxic ingredients in normal cleaners.
3. Buying in Bulk
Besides buying my cleaning ingredients and things like rice and any cooking liquids (oils, soy sauce, etc.) in bulk, I’ve made a more conscious effort to buy food from the supermarket bulk section as well for grains, nuts and spices. You can skip the packaging by bringing your own containers (I use mason jars) and also only purchase what you need and not have a stash of ingredients you used for that one recipe that one time.
4. Shopping second hand
Having to re-buy all the things when you move is EXPENSIVE! So where we could, we purchased second hand from goodwill or facebook marketplace. I won’t lie, I did still purchase many things new in a style I was looking for like a full set of plates and glassware or things I find more hygienic to purchase new like a mattress and bedding. However, we did purchase a lot of extra kitchenware from goodwill for prepping food and when we host at home. We even picked up a bread machine from facebook marketplace and when my partner came home with it, we realised the whole machine was in Japanese…haha
5. Menstrual cup and period underwear
I made the switch to a menstrual cup about 3 or 4 years ago now and to period underwear about 2 years ago and I will never go back. I talked about both in previous posts (menstrual cup post | period underwear post), so I won’t go into too much detail about them. The switch was made more for comfort rather than sustainability, but I highly recommend both switches for my fellow females looking for more sustainable ways to deal with our monthly visit from mother nature. I have yet to replace my cup and only recently purchased some additional thinx underwear to avoid the panic of suddenly running out while still on my period.
Like I said, I’m new to this whole journey and I know I have a long way to go until I am even remotely close to zero waste. On that note, do you guys have some “easy” sustainable or non-toxic swaps I can easily incorporate into my daily life?