The last few months with this new pregnancy, I’ve been hyper-aware of what I’m putting in and on my body and what products I’m using in my home. It’s been on my mind to create a better world, starting with my home and even my body. A bunch of people I follow on Instagram* have also been sharing about their clean, environmentally-friendly, low plastic lifestyle so I decided to give it a try myself. And wow — so much good came from these small changes! Good for the earth, good for my body and family, and good for my soul (and wallet).
Here’s what I tried, what I learned, and what next steps you can take right now if you’re interested in living a cleaner, lower-waste, almost plastic-free lifestyle, too.
How It Started
So when I went into this a year and a half ago, I didn’t have super drastic or high expectations. I just felt that I could make smarter and healthier choices, and I wanted to feel really good about the decisions I was making for myself and for my baby.
I decided to take it one step at a time. We started with plastic, which seemed like a huge culprit in my mind of what was damaging to the earth and that I could easily swap. Those changes drastically reduced the amount of plastic that I bought and upped my reusing before recycling (it’s the washing out every single glass jar for me 😂). We even started composting and using biodegradable packaging — anything to keep me from taking the lid off the trash to throw something away so often.
Making swaps of my basic home items and beauty products was easy, like my deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and even my razor. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many natural, low-waste products really do work just as well (sometimes better) than their traditional, chemical-based, plastic counterparts. That was always a hang-up from making these swaps before (will they really work?) but I’m sold now!
How It’s Going
I do have a list of non-negotiable items that I haven’t found an eco-friendly option yet, like my face wash and moisturizer. Because I have very acne-prone skin, especially while pregnant, I’m sticking to my favorite face wash and moisturizer that I’ve been loving for the past year or so. Some other non-negotiables I have are my protein powder and collagen (I have a protein shake with frozen fruit and spinach almost every morning), vitamins (especially while pregnant), and snacks.
To combat buying these things online with lots of plastic wrapping and bubble wrap, I buy in bulk. So I aim to buy a 6-month supply of things I know I will use up within 6 months, like protein powder, vitamins and face wash, to save on shipping costs, less trips to my house, and less plastic wrapping. I then use the cardboard boxes in my compost pile, or I will use them in my vegetable garden or flower beds to keep weeds out from growing under the mulch. What’s a non-negotiable item you can’t live without?
It took serious discipline, more than I expected, to be intentional about using my money and purchasing power for good, even if it was less convenient or more expensive. I’ve already seen major results in my skin and in my mood. I’ll be keeping up this push for a cleaner, lower-waste lifestyle. It’s 100% worth the effort for the effect it’s having on my life and the world.
What about you? Are you looking to clean up and pare down your lifestyle?
Here are some of the products I swapped for:
(Below I’ve linked to products that I’ve been using and loving! Most of them are from Amazon, which I get a very, very, very small (if any) kickback from, but I’ve also included links and discount codes to other websites. These are not my discount codes, they belong to those who have made a positive influence on me and will benefit from your purchases for their efforts of finding and promoting sustainable, eco-friendly, reusable, daily products.)
Other Areas of the Home
Resources that changed my perspective on plastic and waste:
Shops I Love
- The Eco Warrior
- Happy Earth
- Eco Roots – use code 10D5P3SRLX to save
- Seed and Sprout Co.
- Last Object
- Package Free Shop
- The Earthling Co.
- Brush with bamboo – use code MERMAID to save
Not ready to purchase new items?
Totally get it. Here are some things I stopped doing that had just as powerful an impact, I felt:
- Reuse cloth bags from trade shows or conferences (you can use them anywhere, not just at the grocery store!) and keep them in your car or one in your purse so you never forget them.
- Refill your water bottles, I always have one with me at all times!
- Make/grow/hunt your own food and shop local farmers markets – you’ll save so much money and be helping out your community at the same time.
- Start a compost pile – you can buy or build your own!
- Purchase food in bulk – like rice, oats, and dry beans that you eat often, and anything online in bulk for less packaging waste.
- Opt for glass containers instead of Tupperware, always.
- Ask for no receipts, no straws, and no lids while dining out – these will stay on the planet for longer than you live!
- Get cute reusable decorations and gift wrapping instead of one-time-use wrapping paper. You can also save the bubble wrap from shipping packages for gift-giving instead of throwing it away.
- Repair clothes instead of buying new ones, such an easy and cheap fix!
- Purchase E-books and magazines instead of printed copies.
- Never cook in plastic or eat/drink hot out of plastics – the heat from the warm food and liquids melts plastic and you’re consuming those toxic chemicals without knowing it.
- Buy cute soap dispensers for your kitchen and bathroom and refill them.
- Keep a lunch box in your car with silverware, straws, and condiments from home so you don’t need to ask for them while eating on the go.
- If you’re comfortable with it, bring your own glass containers to restaurants to put your leftover food in.
- Go home and read ALL the ingredients on all the products you use. Not only are most products in single-use plastic packaging (you throw the containers away after use, right?) that will take 1,000 years to break down, but most body and beauty products are UNREGULATED. This means they most likely contain toxic ingredients that might make your hair shiny but are poisoning the ecosystems downstream as well as infiltrating your body. More info << here >>
Let me know what you do to support a clean, low-waste, almost plastic-free lifestyle. I’m always looking for the next thing to help me learn and grow in this area, especially with motherhood!
Want to learn more about my pregnancy journey, beyond these lifestyle changes? Read about my first pregnancy and experience with my first trimester << here >>.
*Shout out to these lovely people of Instagram who influenced my choices to go lower-waste and clean and will benefit from the use of their affiliate codes: @thegirlgonegreen, @thezerowasteguide, @plasticfreemermaid, @plasticfreejuly, @lifewithoutplastic, @the.eco.warrior, @elanaloo, @thetrashycollection, @reyannemustafa