Life

Small Sustainable Changes

Hi, friends! In the last couple of years, I have been making some changes in my life to reduce waste, and I wanted to share with you what I have been doing. I want to continue to take more steps to live sustainably so if you have some recommendations (my problems are listed at the end), please send them my way!

A photo of me all ready to go to the bathroom, equipped with some toilet paper and soap!

CompostNow – I first learned about CompostNow on RDU Baton Instagram account my first year out of college. CompostNow provides compost pickup service. In North Carolina, CompostNow service is available in Asheville, the Triangle, Morganton, andWilmington. I have been using it since 2017 and diverted approximately 415 lbs of food scraps since then! I also love not having stinky leftovers in the trashcan. You can request to receive compost from your food scraps and/or choose to donate to local farm(s).

Fillaree – Is it just me or was everyone’s first exposure to Fillaree in Cocoa Cinnamon bathroom?! Anyways, I have been wanting to get Fillaree soap for home, and it has finally happened! Earlier this year, I backed their kickstarter for condensed soap and picked up my reward soap! I also got a bottle of their Soap & Suds hand soap in my Durham Box last month and have been loving it (smells SO good).

Period Cup & Period Underwear – Shoutout to my sister Jiyoung for getting me on board with using a period cup! I was a little skeptical so I went for a very cheap option (two for a little over $15 on Amazon). It definitely took a few cycles to get comfortable, but it’s been wonderful not having to buy disposable period products. Paired with some period underwear, my period has been waste free for over two years now!

Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper – After seeing it on Cup of Jo, I gifted a box of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper to Alex for a housewarming gift when he bought his townhome a couple of years ago (I was living with roommates and didn’t want to get “nice” TP). Their toilet paper is made of recycled materials, and they donate 50% of their profits to “help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.” We were gifted with Costco toilet paper by my mom when we were running low on TP and Who Gives a Crap was completely sold out earlier during quarantine (lol remember that time), but I am eyeing the bamboo TP!

Reusable Grocery Bags and Ziplock Bags – Over the years, I have accumulated a ton of grocery bags of all different sizes. Pre-COVID, I made a conscious effort to carry some in my car and to remember to bring them with me whenever I went grocery shopping. Things are a little weird now, but I hope the habit returns when things get better. On a similar note, I was gifted some reusable ziplock bags by my brother. I actually use reusable containers mostly, but the ziplock bags have definitely gotten some use!

Reusable Water Bottles – Hands down one of my best habits, I am one of those people that bring a water bottle everywhere. I hate being dehydrated and need to drink water at all times. From random water bottles in high school to Nalgenes throughout college and now Alex’s work bottle (it’s insulated like a Hydroflask but it was free!), my reusable water bottle game continues.

Shampoo and Conditioner Bars – These were another purchase influenced by Cup of Jo and are pretty new to me still. Using shampoo and conditioner bars seemed like an easy way to reduce plastic usage (this is probably the biggest thing for me along with paper towels), and so far so good! If you have any specific recommendations, please let me know. I know Fillaree has shampoo and conditioner as well so I might look into those as well.

Now onto changes I want to make:

Clothes – I do not buy a ton of clothes (I believe in buying greyscale clothes so everything matches), but a lot of my wardrobe is from J.Crew/J.Crew Factory/Loft/Old Navy, and I want to make effort to shop sustainable fashion and buy second-hand. At the beginning of quarantine, I did make a first purchase from Everlane, so I have taken my first baby step!

Coffee Filters – We’re good about not getting disposable to-go coffee cups because we mostly drink coffee at home. We do compost the coffee filters Alex uses to make pour over coffee. However, reusing/reducing is still better than composting. If you use one of those reusable coffee filters or make coffee differently, I’d love to know!

Paper Towels – I wouldn’t say the amount of paper towels we go through is abnormal (it is probably below average, but it definitely makes me feel uncomfortable. My family never used paper towels in Korea (I don’t think those were a thing) so I know I can live without paper towels…I just have to do it. If you found a good solution to the paper towel problem, please share with me!

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