I’m so excited about today’s post because I’m sharing really some really easy ways to live a more sustainable life and reduce your carbon footprint. I was inspired by my friend Jess’s #cleanswapchallenge to share the clean swaps that my family and I are making at home. These swaps have been great for us and haven’t made us feel like we had to give anything up.
My hope is that each of you can commit to making at least one of these swaps in your own homes!
Use reusable bags for shopping… always. My town (Stamford, CT) recently banned the use of plastic bags in retail stores, and I’m so proud of everyone locally who pushed for that. It made me realize that although I always bring reusable bags to the grocery store, I had never even thought to bring them in for CVS or Target runs which, in hindsight, is so silly! I keep a bunch of totes in my car and one of these foldable bags in my purse just in case I forget.
Cut down on paper towels. A few months back I did an Instagram collaboration with a brand called Full Circle and fell in love with their squeeze sponge cloths. I’ve since learned that you can also buy them on Amazon and at Trader Joe’s. I still use paper towels to clean up after cutting or working with meat, but most of the time, the cloths work even better than the paper. You can wash them in the dishwasher once or twice but they do get kind of gross after that, so you have to replace each cloth every 2-3 weeks. Kind of like a sponge. But that’s still better than using paper daily!
Switch to non-toxic diapers. We switched Amalia from Pampers Swaddlers, which we have used since she was born, to Brandless diapers which are both non-toxic and affordable. I’m here to tell you that they actually work! We still use Pampers Baby-Dry for overnight diapers, because they’re the only ones that seem to keep her from leaking at night, but I’m ok with that because it’s only one diaper/night.
Update your make-up routine. I’ve been using my new 5-minute Beautycounter make-up routine for the last few weeks, although I added in bronzer every day and eyeliner when I go out. But the fact that my make-up routine is 80% natural is a win in my book.
Buy your own produce bags. Just last week I switched to reusable produce bags because I realize how ridiculous it was to use plastic bags for all of our produce shopping. I found these by looking up Good Housekeeping’s top picks (this is the full list if you’re interested) and that was that. I like them because they’re see-through, come in multiple sizes, and they have a lifetime warranty.
Wash your clothes with cleaner detergent. This has historically been a hard swap for me because none of the natural laundry detergents work for us. I like my whites white and my brights bright! But we’ve switched from Tide to Tide Free & Clear and it does a really good job cleaning our clothes. It isn’t the cleanest product out there but it’s free of dyes and perfumes and better than what we were using before. If anyone has a recommendation for something even more natural, I’m open to it. I’ve already tried Method, Seventh Generation, Caldrea, and EOS. We also started using a guppyfriend for washing synthetic fabrics.
Ditch the Ziplocks. And use reusable silicone food bags instead. Yes, I sometimes still reach for a Ziplock, but I was often using them to store half of a lemon in the fridge or to tote around snacks for Amalia. The reusable bags are leak-proof and dishwasher-safe. There is literally no reason not to jump on board.
Always bring a reusable water bottle. I always keep my water bottle on me. I switched from my trusty S’Well bottle to a Simple Modern bottle because I like being able to easily flip up the straw on-the-go or while I’m driving. It still keeps your water cold for hours too so it’s good for the beach.
Use natural sunscreens. I shared my list of favorites (for kids and grown-ups) here.
Make smarter donations. I wrote all about that here.
What are your favorite clean swaps? Share them below, but don’t forget to also share them on Instagram with the hashtag #cleanswapchallenge to support Jess’s amazing idea and spread the word.
Photo by Julia Dags.