When I started to think about turning my interest in doing my part to save the planet into action, I knew I needed to do a LOT of listening, learning and understanding. I asked questions like:
“What changes in my life could make the biggest impact?”
“How can I do this in a cost effective way?”
“How will I bring my family along with me rather than doing something TO them?”
In order to get the answers to my questions, I needed to get steeped into the eco community and lean on Eco Champions that have been solving these problems for a very long time. The bottom of this post has links to some of my favorite ECO Champions that you might like!
I will not pretend to say I have even begun to answer all of these questions for my family, but that’s why we are here!!
One amazing champion I talked to recently is Jen Kattula. As a fellow Blogging Jennifer, I knew we would hit it off right away. She has a wonderful blog (We Are The Modern Homestead). She is one smart cookie and a super busy working mom. We are both relatively new to the blogging scene so I spent some time understanding what her family’s journey has been like and where she has found big wins in trying to transform the way her family lives.
Here are some fantastic takeaways from our time together:
What got her interested in an Sustainable Living and blogging? She began by trying to eliminate toxins in her home when her son was born. When you are a new mom, you are suddenly hyper aware of the chemicals in everyday products that may effect your new bundle. As she starting to find homemade alternatives to things like lotion and detergents, she realized how much waste there had been before. Once you see that, it is hard to unsee. As for blogging, this busy working mom will keep rocking and sharing with other families what has worked for her so make sure you subscribe!
What big tips did she share for other eco families out there? Making stuff at home is easier than you think! Buy in bulk, and make simple recipes that last way longer than a bottle off the shelf. Check out her post on great homemade recipes like baby lotion and face oil.
Jen and I have decided to keep eachother going and hold one another accountable along our journeys as eco mommies. The best eco champions are those who don’t judge you for doing your best and can give you ideas while keeping you inspired. Thank you Jen- you inspire me!
Here are Eco Champions You Should Follow on Instagram!
I Want To Hear From You!
Who are the Eco Champions that inspire you?
A new habit, routine or system in your life is hardest at the very beginning. There are a few people in my life that I have looked to help me get started with my sustainability journey over the last year. I call them my “sustainability guides.” No one intentionally makes purchases or life choices to harm the planet, but that is why learning and staying open to the advice of people that can guide you is so important. One of my most beloved guides is a peer of mine at work. Her name is Becca and she is a co-founder of “partners for sustainability” within my company. When I told her about the big switches I wanted to make in my life, it was met with support, encouragement and resources. She never once made me feel guilty or bad that I had not yet caught up to the rest of the eco friendly society. Her view has always been: do what you can, and let go of guilt.
The big takeaways from this amazing woman?!
- Start small! Change your napkins to reusable cloth napkins and then find little changes in your everyday.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always get it right! Play the long game and try your best when and where you can.
- Reuse, recycle, upcycle or trade clothes and jewelry! Sign up for ‘Ridwell’ or find someone who already has and share in the fun!
Becca’s favorites: “It is a tie between my reusable face wipes that I use to take off face masks like a tiny washcloth and my reusable wool dryer balls that I dab essential oils on, they make my clothes smell really good!”
If you are looking to find more resources to get started, great news! I am working on sifting through that for you. Just sit back, grab some tea, and check back weekly!
Subscription boxes are a great, cost effective way to get started. Here are some subscriptions I am currently doing recon on. I will post a new article soon with my findings!
- Conscious Box
- Kinder Beauty
- Kiwi Box
- Grove Collaborative
- Earth Love
- Kinder Beauty
- Women’s collective box
- Bold Box
Why start here? besides the fact that this title is gold, I found these three products the funnest to switch up in my life.
Let’s start with the straw- the best way to keep your lipstick from smudging and yourself hydrated fully during those sizzling months.
Those little sippers add up to a HUGE problem for our planet. We use approx. 500 straws every day (that’s enough to circle the planet 2.5 times) – sad!
I stumbled on this beauty after a few failed attempts at using metal and glass straws. Thank goodness for my best friend, Rachel, who introduced me to THE FINAL STRAW. This has been a game changer because not only is it reusable- its collapsible!
You can choose the color of the case AND of the straw to make sure it fits your mood. I opted for the Sea-Tur Teal and a Rainbow Straw. Not exaggerating, this is my favorite purchase of the year. Sorry Amazon!
Ah, the bra- nothing like wire cutting into your boobs all day or the feeling that you are being gripped around the ribs by king king. I’m a firm believer in the idea that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. As a momma, I have to figure out the situation with the girls. After hours of research I realized that not only is it super hard to find a bra that I like, but it was even harder to find one that was sustainable!
Below is a list of products I found and will try. I will definitely update this article with my findings. I will note most of these are international because let’s be real, the US isn’t yet sold on the fact that the planet and its resources are finite and important. As mommas, we know better!
The Very Good Bra (said to be the world’s first zero waste bra): theverygoodbra.com.
Proclaim: I love that this LA based company uses recycled materials and body-inclusive models!
Free Label: I am eager to try this Canadian based company (not local but at least a bit closer than the UK). While everything looks to be sold out at the moment, I will post again when I can share a review! https://freelabel.com https://freelabel.com/products/white-thompson-reversible-bra
This is where it starts to get fun! Just kidding, it’s already fun. With a family, it’s hard to go zero impact with transportation. I found a three person tandem bike, but that might be taking it a bit too far right now. After all, it can be steps in the right direction, not perfection. Here’s where my hunt for a low emission vehicle went…
When I started to hear my old Honda CRV breathing it’s last few breaths, I knew it would be my opportunity to make a big switch to electric. As much as I persisted showing my husband the research as to why a Tesla would save us money in the long run, he wasn’t buying it. With both of us trying to save money and living in a pricy city, I would have to be more economical with my purchase. Another fun fact about living in the Pacific NW- you need AWD unless you don’t want to drive 6 months out of the year.
Right, so my criteria was that it needed to be an electric car, with AWD, that wouldn’t break the bank, that could fit my 6ft3in husband, could be big enough for a paddle board or camping and had a solid backup plan for energy in case I needed to do a road trip and there wasn’t a charging station nearby (I am good at planning but could not even begin to think of how I would navigate that one). Guess what I found?!
Back at the drawing board, I knew I would need to compromise with my criteria. There were so many electric cars PLANNED to come out in the next few years, but I couldn’t wait that long. [Enter a beautiful Lunar Rock colored suv]
After searching for hybrids, I fell in love with the TOYOTA RAV 4 HYBRID . This small SUV is EPA rated 40 mpg which is still a big improvement compared to a 28mpg vehicle it’s size. Sure, there are more efficient hybrids out there like the Prius AWD-e at 50mpg or the Corolla hybrid at 53 mpg, but nothing I found in an SUV. So, here we are- a year in and I still LOVE my Rav 4. It drives like a dream, fits the entire fam bam and does a little bit to save our planet- Win!
- The Stasher– These beautiful silicone bags will make it easy to ditch those frozen themed zip locks you have stashed for lunches. Bonus: It is a women owned company!
- BioBag – If you’ve used bio bag for your compost bin, but haven’t tried their sandwich bag- you’re in luck!
- Chico Bags– These are THE BEST! Seriously, buy 5 and thank me later.
Toys are super tough and with a birthday or holiday always looming, I am constantly dreading what will come our way. The worst offender, in my eyes, is the recently popular LOL dolls. Yes, they are awful. Not only am I not thrilled with their clothing (or lack thereof), but their biggest draw for my daughter is also my biggest issue- the plastic wrapping. Not just one or two layers of it, but on average, 10 plastic pieces for every one doll! They market the joy of opening lots of little presents to prolong the joy, but do you know who is not feeling joyful when those things are unwrapped?! ME! And the ocean that will eventually have to house that plastic! I may have lost the battle on LOLs in my house, but here are some swaps you might like during your eco shopping binge tonight.
1. SEBASTIAN THE LAMB | CUDDLE+KIND
Every kiddo needs a lovey they can cuddle up with and drag through mud puddles with. This sweet lamb is fair trade, and is hand knit from 100% cotton yarn—plus, with each doll purchase, cuddle+kind donates ten meals to children in need. They have a ton of creatures for your kiddo!
2. GARDEN IN A CAN | UNCOMMON GOODS
A friend of mine has a little girl that is wild about gardening so I am planning this sweet little tin for a christmas gift. What a fun way to learn about sustainable living and gardening while kids are stuck at home!
3. 42-PIECE SET | TEGU
I wish this was a thing when I was a kid! This magnetic block set has infinite possibilities and is built to last — I might even enjoy these too. These simple wooden blocks are made from sustainably-harvested hardwoods and contain no lead, plastic, or any other toxins (the premium lacquer finish is water-based).
4. BEEP THE ROBOT | MANHATTAN TOY COMPANY
We love toys that encourage creative exploration, and this magnetic wood robot combines puzzle elements with free play that kids will love. Stack it up as a robot, or deconstruct it and turn the pieces into whatever your imagination can come up with.
5. LABYRINTH | BRIO
The labyrinth has withstood the test of time, and is a challenging game that kids 6 and older—and adults, too—will love playing for years to come. Plus, we love that BRIO is dedicated to responsible, ethical, and sustainable toy manufacturing (this game is made from FSC-Certified wood!)
6. WOW IN THE WORLD SUBSCRIPTION
The gift that keeps on giving, this annual subscription to National Geographic Kids is the perfect gift for the curious young ones in your life. This magazine helps them discover the world around them in an accessible, cheerful way and gets kids excited about learning.
7. NAMETRAIN TOWN SET | MAPLE LANDMARK
There’s nothing quite as magical as a toy train set under the tree when you’re a young child. This set by Maple Landmark is made in the USA from New England maple, and beautifully decorated with nontoxic paint and finishes. This is a gift that will be a toy chest favorite for your kids, and their kids too.
8. PALOMINO MONO | PLAN TOYS
Another holiday classic, this beautiful rocking horse is a modern take on a timeless toy. Made from reclaimed rubber wood, this horse is sustainably made and brings a little bit of nature into your home as your child is developing.
9. Anything Melissa & Doug
From family games to doll houses and puppets, Melissa & Doug creates kids toys with the sole purpose of encouraging kids to see new possibilities. They’re affordable, easy to find at most toy stores and durable enough to pass on from sibling to sibling and beyond.
10. Green Toys
Green Toys uses recycled milk jugs to make durable, colorful plastic toys your kiddos will get hours of joy from. All Green Toys products are also packaged in 100 percent recyclable cardboard and printed with minimal color.