Hi friends! With the endless options of sustainable living or less-waste, less-plastic swaps out there, I wanted to take the time to share a few of my favorite + affordable swaps. There are always areas in our life where we can improve for the betterment of our community, this Earth + our own personal health.
First, what is Sustainable Living?
“Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability. Sometimes that can mean not choosing to consume a product that is made using practices that don’t promote sustainability; and sometimes it means changing how you do things so that you start becoming more of an active part of the cycle of life.”
Read More Here
With that being said, this is a process y’all and it can be overwhelming and our tendency is to think that in the bigger picture, our tiny choices don’t make a difference, but they do. I encourage you to take small steps… make simple changes where you can because it all makes a difference. These swaps are better for this beautiful place we live in but also better for your bank account!
Let’s dive in!! First I’ll start with tips, and then go into my favorite Sustainable Living Swaps for Less…I say for less because we ball on a Firefighter + Yoga Instructor budget so we rarely buy expensive items.
Sustainable Living Tips:
-Unplug all electrical outlets when not using them.
-Open your blinds and use natural light before flipping the light switch.
-Use LED lightbulbs (they last longer which reduces the need to keep purchasing).
-Grow your own herbs.
-Take the stairs over the elevator.
-Carpool when available, ride your bike, or walk if in a larger city.
-Re-purpose your jars (salsa jars, pasta sauce, anything that’s glass… just soak in boiling water or use lemon essential oil to remove label and residue)–use these for meal prep, when buying in bulk, for storage (cotton swaps, bobby pins, office supplies, etc).
-Buy bulk nuts, oats + granola when possible (bring your old jars for these).
-Opt for digital bills versus paper + emailed receipts versus printed.
-Shop local when possible.
-Cook at home versus eating out.
-Make coffee at home + use a reusable mug instead of swinging into starbucks.
-Use a stainless steel water cup versus buying water bottles.
Those are just some simple swaps that literally cost NOTHING to start implementing! Now here are a few links to my favorite #LessWaste or #LessPlastic items.
Most of these items are linked to Dot + Army, a local shop in Downtown Brunswick where shipping is available, or linked to Amazon! This post may contain affiliate links, for which I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for keeping Figs + Freedom up and running!
Stainless Steel Straw Set
I love love use using my metal straw for my Yeti. I do NOT leave my house without a big bottle or cup full of water. So for me, I get tons of use out of my metal straws + it’s a super simple swap from plastic straws. I wash mine in the dishwasher and then use the brush it comes with just to ensure it washed all the way through!
This might be one of my favorite new items I’ve gotten! I keep this cute set it in my lunch box so it cuts down on the use of plastic utensils at work or just out and about. It comes in a handmade linen pouch with a wooden spoon, fork, knife, stainless steel straw and napkin. Mama’s–this is also perfect to throw into your diaper bag so you don’t have to bite grapes in half for your little… don’t judge me, we’ve all been there, lol. It also comes in clutch when you’re at that trendy restaurant that has paper straws instead of plastic… just whip out your metal straw because no body likes a soggy straw, am I right?! Don’t get me wrong, kuddos to those places because duh, this is a #LessPlastic post, buttttt paper straws are NOT the move for me.
Reusable Bowl Cover
This saves you money by not having to buy ceran wrap or aluminum foil! These are the cutest and perfect cover for salads big meals that you’ve prepped or anything you need covered. However, if it is something that will go stale–I don’t recommend this as it is not sealed. Check the option below for that 🙂
Silicone Stretch Lids–12 pack
These have been sitting in my Amazon cart for a few weeks so I don’t have a personal review yet but have hear GREAT things! I added them to this guide so that you had the option. I’ll be ordering them soon so stay tuned for my review! Again, this option will cut down on your cost of cream wrap and aluminum foil!
Reusable Produce Bags
These are quite possibly the easiest less plastic swap. Bring these cute produce bags with you to the farmers market and grocery store. The grocery store will probably always have plastic bags available near the produce but if we all make this small swap, it will decrease the amount they provide. I keep these bags in my trunk so that I don’t forget them! They also come in a mesh style of you’re buying bulk items like quinoa or nuts.
Reusable Shopping Bags
These are also one of the easiest swaps! You can usually get these free at health fairs, or with your purchase at Lululemon or Athleta. I have a variety of reusable bags that I use but I’m linking my most favorite here. It’s cute, durable and affordable! I also leave these in the trunk of my car so that I always have them! However, for full honesty, about once a month we will intentionally have them bag our groceries in plastic bags because we use them to clean up after our pup + for Char’s stinky diapers.
I LOVE my reusable, handmade scrubbies. I haven’t bought sponges since I was introduced to these last year. Once it’s been well used, just throw it in the wash machine with your towels and it’s as good as new! Also, it’s made with sustainable materials unlike most sponge options ?? This one-time purchase will save you money on your weekly or monthly grocery bill. You might not realize it, but $3-$4 adds up quickly. I have had my 5-pack of these for a year and have not even used all 5 yet. Do the math, I promise it’s worth it. PLUS, you’re supporting a small business that’s precious to my community, so why not?
Stasher Bags (Dot + Army or Amazon)
Goodbye ziplock bags, hello reusable bags! Investing in these bags will also cut down on your bill and the amount of plastic used. Not only can these be used for sandwiches and snacks but also meal prep… did you know you can use them in the freezer and some you can even bake with?!
Reusable Silicone Baking Mat
I love this mat SO much. I don’t have to spray my pan or worry about parchment paper. And seriously, nothing sticks to this bad boy. It’s life changing for roasting veggies, baking, ANYTHING!
Stainless Steel Yeti Cup
I use this thing every single day. I bring it to work, to yoga, shopping, literally EVERYWHERE. And because it’s larger, I find that I drink more water throughout the day when I have it. Stop buying water bottles and invest in a stainless steel water cup or bottle.
I make coffee at home every single morning instead of stopping by starbucks. This is my favorite tumbler to use because its skinny at the bottom so it fits perfectly into my cup holder! If it doesn’t fit into my cup holder, I will spill it everywhere! Huge plus–It’s only $6.99 at Academy.
Nut Milk Bag
I absolutely love my nut milk bag but I’ll be honest, I haven’t used it in a long time. We typically just buy almond milk for confidence. However, if you have the time to make your own milk, this bag makes it super easy. Maybe I’ll use mine this week and try out a new recipe… homemade is always the better option versus store-bought. You can find multiple recipes on their website! If you’re interested in trying one out, use my code FIGS10 to save some money!
Wool Dryer Balls
This was also a great amazon purchase of 2019. Just add a few drops of essential oils and toss them in the dryer. You’ll have static-free, super soft clothes without all the chemicals! AND you won’t be purchasing dryer sheets every month, it’s a win-win! ??
I’m not going to go into the realm of clean beauty, cleaning products or all that jazz but I do have one super simple swap that I wanted to share….
Ditch your make up remover and use coconut oil. Once you wash your face, remove excess eye make up by rubbing a small amount of coconut oil over your eyes and wipe away with a wash cloth. Easy peasy, natural and chemical-free!
I hope this guide was helpful and NOT overwhelming. Again, there is always a simple swap that you can choose to incorporate to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a race, not a marathon. As usual, if you have any questions, please reach out… I’d love to hear from you!