After Tuesday’s election, with some solid progress in many key areas and some disappointing losses in others, I’m more determined than ever to keep doing my in small, daily ways to keep our country moving forwards. It’s so easy to get trapped in the mindset that as individuals we are powerless—I struggle with those thoughts every day—but the truth is that nothing ever changed the world except the constant, committed work of people just like you and me. That goes for every arena too: our communities, our political landscape, and our environment! So I thought I’d share with you guys three small, very easy changes to help the planet that we recently made at home, to inspire you to find the little improvements you can make yourself. Together we can steer this ship in the right direction!
In the Bathroom: I love a good wet wipe in the bathroom. One wipe can do the job of several handfuls of toilet paper when it comes to, ahem, personal cleanup! But most of the wipes on the market are made from hardwood tree fibers and sometimes even plastic fibers, making them not very sustainable for the environment. Rather than give up my wipes altogether, we made the switch to using Bumboosa bamboo wet wipes! Bamboo’s high annual yield (that’s another way of saying it grows really fast!) makes it an ideal replacement for trees in paper products. I’ve also toyed with the idea of buying bamboo toilet paper too, but it’s quite a bit pricier so until it goes mainstream and becomes more affordable, we’re sticking to our recycled toilet paper for now. But those bamboo wipes…? Mmmm, they make me feel so fresh, clean, and green!
In the Kitchen: When I was growing up, we never had paper towels at our house because my mother and father—both botany professors—deemed them environmentally unacceptable. I longed for the days when I had my own house and could buy as many rolls of paper towels as I darn well pleased, and ever since I left home I’ve been on the paper towel bandwagon. They’re just so darn convenient, you know? But every time I ripped a towel from the roll, I heard the earth cry a little. So two months ago I took the very painful step of admitting that my parents were right (sob!), and we stopped buying paper towels. And you know what? It’s been totally fine! I don’t miss them at all. We use tea towels for kitchen cleanup and cloth napkins at the dinner table. Ivan balked when I first suggested this move, but now he doesn’t give it a second thought either. Oh, and another bonus, in case saving the planet isn’t incentive enough, is that not having paper towels means you have one less thing to clutter up your kitchen!
At the Gym: I don’t know about you, but I sweat like a hog when I’m working out. My clothes are always especially soaked after an intense cardio session like a SoulCycle ride, so much so that the thought of putting them directly into my gym bag with my other belongings is seriously unappealing. SoulCycle and many other fitness studios offer plastic baggies for sweaty workout clothes, and for a while I’d grab one after each class without giving it a second thought. But those bags add up fast, don’t they? After a bit of searching, I found these reusable wet/dry bags that are perfect for keeping in my gym tote! They’re marketed as being for dirty diapers or wet swimsuits, but they work perfectly well for my sweaty leggings and tanks, and what’s more, they protect my car from that sweaty smell until I can get home and throw everything in the wash!
While I still have a few more adjustments on my radar, like breaking our plastic produce bag and paper coffee cup habits, I’m super proud of us for doing these small things. I also find that for each little change I make, I’m that much more aware of the others I can implement too. It’s a self-reinforcing behavior that feels pretty darn gratifying—no cupcake reward required! So tell me, got any other juicy go-green tips I should try out?