We’re drawing to the end of the year, which is a time usually dedicated to reflection. So we wanted to reflect on our sustainable living journey this year. We will cover our lifestyle and habit changes to our simple eco-friendly swaps. Then finish by committing to new sustainable and green living goals for next year. So here’s our truth related to our sustainability journey so far.
When people hear or think of sustainable living or green living, it’s going to mean a different thing depending on who you ask. The truth about sustainable living is that it is a series of choices someone makes everyday to consistently choose options that have a positive environmental impact.
However, there is seriously no one size fits all for sustainable living. I’ll say that again. There is no one way to live a sustainable life.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t have to do it perfectly. You just need to commit to doing it over time and keep going until it’s a habit.
We are entirely imperfect in our ways of sustainable living. We’ve used disposable diapers sometimes when we couldn’t use our cloth diapers while traveling or due to medication cream. For our projects, we buy wood from our local lumber store, which is not always sustainably sourced wood. We cave and buy the adorable dinosaur stuffed animal for our little one that’s not made from recycled materials.
But most of the time, we are doing our best to live sustainably and try to be conscious of what we are doing.
It takes time AND repetition to form a habit
We’ve found a lot of things take no time to change or swap out with an eco-friendly product. However, even those easy swaps or less easy lifestyle changes take time to embed as a habit.
For example, remembering to take your reusable bags to the grocery store. In the beginning, I’d forgotten several times due to a toddler distracting me, but now I rarely forget because it’s been ingrained as a habit. The repetition of reminding myself to take the reusable bags truly helped my mind and body form the habit.
Or another example is remembering to purchase that eco-friendly product from then on. Yes, if you’re in dire need of toilet paper now, it’s okay to buy the non-eco-friendly toilet paper. Maybe just buy only a few though to sustain you until you can get your eco-friendly toilet paper.
In the current economy, being a eco-conscious consumer requires a little planning ahead so that you don’t get stuck buying less environmentally friendly products out of last minute needs. Luckily, some big box stores are starting to provide more eco-friendly products. Or there’s online marketplaces like Earth Hero that are one-stop shops with ONLY eco-friendly products and fast carbon-neutral shipping.
So just remember, there are so many ways to change your impact on the environment without radically changing your life. So don’t be afraid to make those small changes. But also, for those who are ready, don’t be afraid to make a radical change either.
Now with all that in mind, we wanted to share about our sustainable living changes this year and our journey so far in hopes to inspire you and others to make those changes.
Our Sustainable Living Changes This Year
Some photos of our sustainable living changes/choices
To be honest, I didn’t think we had done a whole lot in 2021. However, writing out this list kind of blew my mind on what we’ve done and been able to continue doing. We definitely didn’t wake up one day saying we were going to do all of these this year! It was just our change in mindset that led us to make more sustainable choices.
I bet you if you made a list, you’d be surprised about the number of choices you made this year that are sustainable and eco-friendly changes. So here’s our list of the sustainable living choices and changes we’ve made this year to hopefully help inspire you.
General Sustainable Choices
- Continued to Reduce our Food Waste Through Platejoy’s Meal Planning Subscription
- Continuing to Reduce Waste through local Curbside Composting
- Continuing to Use & Maintain our Solar Panel System. Check out our Going Solar Series Journey
- Built a Planter & Grew Some Herbs & Tomatoes
- Regrew some produce at home – mostly green onions!
- Hosted an Eco-friendly Toddler Birthday Party
- Swapped out some of our turf lawn for native planting beds, low-maintenance groundcover, and planted 12 trees.
- Participated & Advocated for Systematic Changes related to the Environment & Climate Changes (Vote and use your voice!)
Lifestyle & Habit Changes
- Transitioned to a more Flexitarian Diet (Eating Less Meat)
- Switched our internet searches to Ecosia Search Engine instead of Google (plants trees!)
- Specific trips to recycling centers to recycle non-typical curbside recycling items (paint, metal, etc). For those in the Greater Kansas City area, recyclespot.org can help you find a location to recycle almost anything!
- Swapped disposable feminine products for reusable Menstrual Cup and Period Panties
- Went grocery shopping to reduce single-use plastic bag consumption (no more delivery/pickup). Now, only using reusable bags when grocery shopping.
- Buying in Bulk to Reduce Waste (flour, sugar, applesauce)
- Used Eco-friendly Gift Wrapping & Zero Waste Holiday Gift Tags
- Gave more Experience Gifts to Reduce Product Consumption & Support Local Businesses
- Purchased an Electric Car & Home Charger (big investment, but been so worth it for us!)
- Switched to Liquidless Detergent Sheets by Earth Breeze
- Swapped to Bamboo Toothbrushes
- Switched to a Natural Loofah
- DIY my own Dry Shampoo instead of purchasing
- Swapped Dishwasher Detergent for Eco-friendly Dropps Detergent
- Washing the plastic storage bags we have until no longer usable. Invested in Beeswax Wraps and Reusable Silicone Freezer Storage Bags
- Swapped to Solid Dish Soap, Copper Scouring Pads, & Bamboo Dish Brush
Kid Related Changes
- Swapped Disposables Wet Wipes for Cloth Baby Wipes & Tissues
- Eco-friendly and Zero Waste Crafts with the Toddler
- Consciously communicating why we are doing what we do (composting, recycling, etc).
- Consciously purchasing eco-friendly toys and less plastic like toys from our Kiwi Co Subscription
- Transitioned from Cloth Diapers to Washable Potty Training Underwear
Our biggest change by far though is how we have been intentional with telling others about our sustainable living changes and choices. We want to share our journey and changes with others, so that they can find the right way to hopefully make some eco-conscious choices too.
Sustainable Living Goals for Next Year
We definitely didn’t have all those goals set for this last year, and they were decisions we made along the way as a family. But this next year, we want to intentionally set a few goals at the beginning of the year to hold ourselves accountable. There will be other eco-friendly and sustainable choices made, but these are our main goals to achieve.
- Grow more of our own food this year. We have limited space and sun exposure, but going to find creative ways to grow what we need.
- Swap out our personal care products for eco-friendly options (shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.) We first need to finish off what we have and stored, so as not to be wasteful
- Build a rain barrel system to collect stormwater for plant irrigation.
- Stop purchasing and cooking beef all together next year. Focus on plant-based alternatives.
We are always learning and trying to make better choices! Just remember sustainable living looks very different for each of us. Some things work for one person, but not another. It’s all about building better habits, doing your best, and helping push for larger systematic changes. Lastly, the most important thing is to commit to something and take action. Small changes will lead to bigger changes and actions, so just keep moving forward.
What sustainable living choices are you going to commit to this year?
Hopefully us sharing our truth about our sustainability journey encourages you, gives you hope, and inspires you! We’re just ordinary people like you. Let us know what changes you’ve made this year and your goals for next year the comments below!
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