Wowie, what a year it has been. At this time of the year I always find myself feeling overly reflective and introspective. I find myself seeking out both the highs and the lows of the previous year in its entirety. This year, while it was a total political dumpster fire, was actually a really positive year for me and A. I plan to go into a little extra depth regarding our favorite points of the year, but mostly I wanted to talk today about how proud I am of our success in going green this year! These are the eight biggest successes we have had this year on our eco-friendly journey.
1. Updated my menstrual products
This year I switched to the Diva Cup, you can read all about it in my post here, and it has been awesome! No longer is my trash can filled up with plastic applicators and packaging. No longer am I wasting copious amounts of cotton on my monthly cycle. I am so excited to have only one piece of silicon that I have to deal with. I even bought a second one for our travel bag!
2. Started composting
One of the best parts about having your own home is that you have your own spaces to do whatever you please with, that includes a backyard for us now! Though our neighborhood does not yet compost (don’t worry I am petitioning and campaigning for that to be updated since Austin has joined the bandwagon) we personally have a backyard to do our own composting. This one took a lot of trial and error (more on that later), but finally we settled on getting a mini odor-free compost bin for our kitchen that we can change out about every four days. I then take the compostable bag out of the mini bin and toss it in our large outdoor bin that we stir every few days. We are currently saving up all of this nutrient rich soil, to use for our vegetable garden that we will be planting this spring!
3. Switched to a paper free kitchen
This one was probably the hardest and to be 100% honest, we still have one roll of paper towels left, but we did it! I bought a boatload of painter’s rags from Home Depot for virtually no money – I think $20 for 60+ rags?.The painter’s rags are great for scrubbing the kitchen counters and cleaning up spills, and there are so many of them I can just toss them into the laundry bin and wait for them to pile up. On top of that we cut up some old sheets and have been using those as our cloth napkins. I even dyed them and hemmed some of them in neon colors to look super cute.
4. Bought a reusable lunch box
Not that I was buying a to-go lunch everyday or anything like that, but I have noticed that having my Planetbox has made me much less tempted to get fast food. I try my best to always have it stocked and with me, even when I am just running errands! It is a great lunch box and I am thankful to have it with me all the time.
5. Made my own cleaning products
This one is actually more of a time and money saver than I thought it would be! We bought bulk supplies (baking soda, castile soap, white vinegar etc) to make our cleaning supplies out of and then we had a day where we made all of the cleaning supplies we needed. It only took about an hour shockingly and it made enough to last us for almost the whole year! I am talking goo gone, muli-purpose cleaner, shower scrub, laundry detergent, dryer sheets you name it!
6. Started buying second hand clothing almost exclusively
In the fall of last year I was working at a second hand store called Clothes Mentor. Since I had an employee discount and we were saving up for our first house, I bought all of my clothes there! I now own a boatload of Ann Taylor, Gap, Madewell and even Balenciaga, Gucci, and Ralph Lauren! All at no cost to the environment and virtually no cost to my wallet. I seriously don’t know why I ever shopped any other way. I spend less than I would at a garbage dump like Forever21 and I get more items that are infinitely higher quality.
7. Made my own deodorant, lotion, toothpaste and mouthwash
And finally, we didn’t just start making our own cleaning products, but also our own personal care products. Most of these products contain tons of unnatural chemicals and waste a lot of plastic with their packaging. This way, we are not only saving on all the packaging waste, we are also creating chemical free products that will be safe to put in or on our bodies.