Taking care of our planet is more important now than ever before. No matter your political views, we all can see the detriment modern life has had on our planet if we just take a moment to look around- more pollution, trash, single use plastics, lack of recycling, rainforests getting smaller, ocean ecosystems dying off faster than ever before, the list goes on and on.
Not many of you know this since Stu is in Real Estate now, but my husband studied environmental science and sustainability during his undergrad. His knowledge and practical application of taking care of the earth was something I vividly remember observing when we first started dating. He would take things I had thrown out and separate them into the correct receptacles, shut off water when I had it mindlessly running in the kitchen sink, skip using plastic bags any time he could, never used plastic water bottles, and the list goes on.
I remember the first time I visited Stu’s parents in Michigan on their 5 acre plot of land, blown away by their massive organic garden and intentionality with how they consumed anything and everything. My mother and father in-law will probably laugh reading this blog post- but I was in awe of their way of living on that first visit. They had and still have multiple different trash cans for recycling/trash/styrofoam, repurposed plastic lettuce containers from the store that they fill with their own organic grown lettuce, reusable jars, reusable water bottles, virtually no single-use plastic, big compost piles outside and a bin in the kitchen for collecting, sustainable towels and wash rags instead of paper towels, eco-friendly soaps and house cleaners, windows and doors open as much as possible, plenty of natural sunlight in the home, and so much more earth-loving products and habits. It was a big eye-opener for me to see people live so effortlessly sustainable. I had never seen anything like it before- truthfully.
I grew up on the opposite side of the spectrum- consuming things pretty mindlessly if I’m being totally honest. We threw out a ton of food that went bad or we didn’t eat on our plates, bought tons of plastic water bottles for friends coming over in the summertime when the pool was open, recycled occasionally but not intentionally, let water run mindlessly in the kitchen, used plenty of plastic bags grocery shopping for produce and for hauling items home… and this is what most of us are used to!
It’s not that my family didn’t care, we just didn’t really know what else to do and didn’t really understand the impact our daily choices had on our health and the health of the planet. The only thing I ever learned in school was to recycle, and even then it wasn’t until I was 20 years old dating Stu that I found out just how much you can actually recycle.
I share this little anecdote because I think a lot of us are aware of the challenges our planet is facing, but we’re not really sure where to start- I definitely didn’t until I saw sustainable living in action- so I want to share with you some simple tips and tricks you can adopt for a sustainable future in your every day life!
10 No-Brainer sustainable habits to adopt
- Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store. According to earthday.org, “About one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually across the globe. That’s nearly 2 million every minute.” HOW INSANE IS THAT?! One thing I LOVE about my local grocery store, Natural Grocers, is they ditched plastic shopping bags 10 years ago and offer free reused boxes to carry out purchases, or customers can buy reusable shopping bags. Natty G’s (what I like to call it) will always donate 5 cents to local foodbanks, but is donating 10 cents per bag in April. (So far this year as of March 31st, Natty G’s has donated $1 Million to local foodbanks!!!)
- Skip the plastic produce bags in store. I like to just throw produce into my cart and onto the checkout counter and wash my produce at home- no bag necessary! Another option is to buy reusable mesh vegetable bags.
- Buy Stasherbags from Natty G’s and skip the single-use Zip-lock bags. Stasherbags are silicone bags that look identical to zip-lock bags but are much more sustainable and longer lasting. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors!
- Keep lights off during the day. How many times do you turn lights on in the house and it BARELY makes any difference? Get in the habit of enjoying the natural sunlight to brighten your space during the daytime instead of instinctively turning lights on.
- Be intentional with recycling. It often depends on your state or county, but most places are able to recycle bottles and cans, boxes, paper, and plastics. To learn more about what your area recycles, check out this website. Buy some extra trash cans to stay organized and get a move on it!
- Start composting! Compost is one of the most nutrient dense “foods” for our soils and our planet- and its essentially FREE! Invest in a compost bin or check out your local composting companies. If you’re in Denver, you can have a concierge composting company pick up your weekly compost.
- Bring a trash bag with you on your walks. How many times do you notice trash in the sidewalks, streets, neighborhood you live in and think, “Man, I wish someone would clean that up!”…. THAT SOMEONE IS YOU! We all remember (for the most part) to bring poop bags for our dogs, so why not bring another bag to pick up some trash?
- Buy local, organic, biodynamic products as much as possible. I love shopping at Natural Grocers because they promote sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices. Natural Grocers sell only 100% organic produce, 100% non-GMO bulk, 100% pasture-based dairy, 100% free-range eggs, 100% humanely and conscientiously raised meats, and all our meats are raised without antibiotics, hormones and other growth promoters.
- Buy non-toxic beauty products, sunscreen, and cleaning products. Not only will you avoid getting toxins into your body, but you’ll also avoid spreading them down your sinks/drains and into our water supply. It’s a win-win!
- Research some of the brands you consume on a daily basis and see what their sustainability practices are like. Make changes if necessary. Yet another reason why I love shopping at Natty G’s- they have a ton of intentional brands on their shelves like Epic Bars, Wild Planet, Seventh Generation, Tanka, Endangered Species Chocolate, Equal Exchange Coffee, Niman Ranch, Stasher Bags, and so much more! If there’s a product you’re using every day- look into their practices and consider changing brands if they’re not up to par on sustainability. You have a lot of power over the market with how you choose to spend your money!
How do you practice sustainability daily? Leave a comment below!
This post is sponsored and paid for by Natural Grocers, a local grocery store I visit frequently and truly love! All opinions are my own.