This is Part 2 in my "100 Sustainable Swaps for a Greener Life" series.
A year and a half ago I started slowly and systematically changing my behaviors to live a less environmentally-impactful life. I'm proud to say that I now have a list of 100 sustainable swaps that I have personally implemented. Read on to see if you can apply any to your life!
Click here for parts 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
11. Use a Bike Share System like Citi Bike
Citi Bike members can visit one of their 700+ docking stations in NYC to rent a bike on the spot. Users can bike for as long as they want and simply return the bike to an empty dock near their destination. Bike shares are perfect for cities because you can get almost anywhere by bike, you save money/carbon emissions every time you use it, and you don’t have to worry about your personal bike being stolen!
12. Use a Reusable Safety Razor
Unlike disposable plastic razors, my razor is made from
stainless steel and can be reused infinitely. I just have to replace the steel blade when it gets worn down. Luckily, the razor company that I use has a blade take-back program that allows you to mail used blades back to them to be disposed of in a responsible way. Find a reusable safety razor on my products page.
13. Use a Shampoo Bar
There’s no need to buy shampoo in wasteful plastic containers when you can use a solid shampoo bar. Simply wet the bar and rub it in your hands to get some suds. You can also rub it directly in your hair. Shampoo bars work for everyday use but are also perfect for traveling (no liquid to worry about on planes and they can double as soap).
14. Borrow Books from the Library
Let’s be honest, how many of us every re-read any of the books we purchase? A more environmentally friendly option is to utilize your local library. It’s FREE and allows you to check out any book you want without increasing demand for new books.
15. Grow your Own Food
I love gardening because it allows you to get outside, get your hands dirty, and connect with nature. But there are environmental benefits too: gardening allows you to grow chemical-free, healthy, and waste-free food with practically zero carbon footprint! You can garden anywhere - I use window boxes to grow a bit of food in the middle of Brooklyn.
16. Shop at the Farmer's Market
The next best way to get your food is to buy it from a local farmer. Farmer's markets give you the opportunity to speak to a variety of farmers and learn about the practices they use to grow their food so that you can choose the most environmentally-friendly options. Additionally, locally grown food has a lower carbon footprint because it doesn’t have to travel as far to reach consumers.
17. Make Homemade Kombucha
Around the time that I started my zero-waste journey I also started drinking Kombucha. This bubbly fermented tea drink is delicious and full of healthy probiotics but it comes in individual bottles and is pretty pricey. I recently purchased my own SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast, AKA the thing that turns regular tea into kombucha) and have been brewing and bottling my own kombucha ever since.
18. Use a Reusable Straw
One study published earlier this year estimated that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world's beaches. To help minimize single-use straw demand, you could enjoy your beverage without a straw or you could invest in a reusable straw. There are SO many different types of reusable straws – bamboo, glass, or stainless steel, fat or skinny, tall or short, traditional or collapsible – you name it, they make it. Check out Earth Hero for some cool straws or find my favorite on my products page.
19. Go "Topless for the Sea"/ Eliminate Waste When you Can
I still treat myself to single-use beverages/foods occasionally but always try to eliminate as much waste as I can in the situation. One way is to ask for no plastic lid on your beverage AKA go #toplessforthesea. You can also pass on a plastic straw and add your own reusable straw to a plastic beverage cup. Or politely tell the server that although they’re wrapping up your food, you don’t need the packaged food put into a plastic bag. Every little bit helps even if you’re not being completely zero-waste.
20. Shop at Secondhand Stores
When I was younger I was constantly buying new clothes from "fast fashion" stores like Forever 21. Now I do most of my clothing shopping in thrift stores. Secondhand shopping not only helps to reduce pollution and waste from the creation of new clothes (the clothing industry is the world's second largest polluter) but it's also a fun adventure because it forces you to search for things that suit your taste and are in your size. My favorite thrift store is Buffalo Exchange.
Stay tuned for the next installment of 100 Sustainable Swaps!
Click here to continue to Part 3
Click here to read Part 1