I’m excited to introduce our first guest blogger! Aimee Cabakoff from Sustainably Aimee is the perfect person to lead us off given our sustainability commitment at GloCabin, theCarpenter’s Cabin, and Twelve34 House. She has spent the last several years traveling the world learning and educating how as individuals we can take a number of small steps to affect big change. Here, Aimee shares her recommended easy swaps anyone can incorporate today.
It’s Earth Month! Is your inbox and social feed covered with content about protecting our planet?
That's all well and good, but when you live with the Earth in mind, EVERY month is Earth month. We focus on making changes gradually to implement better habits for the long term no matter the time of year.
If you’re on this journey with me or you are just getting started, here are a few great swaps you can look to when you’re ready to replace.
TIP* Do NOT throw things away just because they are single-use or made of plastic, reuse what you can and when you’re ready to replace for a better option, refer to this list below. And DON’T try to be perfect, you will burn out quickly and this is a long-game when it comes to creating better habits to reduce waste.
[Some of these products contain affiliate links and I do get a percentage when you purchase, however these are products I truly love, use every day and support which is why I want to have a discount code for you to try them]
Here we go!
1. Reusable Bottle This may seem obvious, but I still see so many people who don’t opt for one… Its great when traveling and on the go in your daily life. But its also healthier for you to not drink from a plastic bottle. If you get one with a handle you can attach it to your bag, take on walks and keep your drink nice and cold. (Use AIMEE10) for a discount on any products on Earth Hero.
Without fail this is one of my biggest conversation starters when I travel, and for good reason, it’s so handy! Very rarely will you be given metal cutlery when you’re in transit so this is very helpful to avoid single-use plastic. It has a little hook so it’s perfect for backpacks, (the knife is dull enough to travel with and doesn’t pose any risk in TSA) they are very easy to clean, comes in great colors AND has chopsticks! (Use AIMEE10) for a discount on any products on Earth Hero.
KITCHEN 3. All Purpose Cleaning Wipe When making changes you want the transition to be easy and not create additional work for yourself. I came across Biom, a plant-based all purpose wipe a few years ago and it has been a game changer for messes. I use them in the kitchen, bathroom, dining table; anywhere. These are better than Clorox or mainstream disinfectant wipe because:
They are not made with any plastic fibers or harmful chemicals.
Can be home and/or commercially composted.
Aesthetically pleasing to leave out on the counter.
Refillable and can sign up for a subscription so you don’t have to think about it.
(Use discount code SUSTAINABLYAIMEE to try it now).
4. Using Lemon, Baking Soda and Vinegar. Before you toss that lemon why not use it to clean your sink. Take a used lemon half with some salt on the wet side and scrub away a messy sink! No plastic needed and you can use up what you already have in the house.
Baking soda is GREAT for cleaning, here is a fantastic article on just how many ways you can use Baking soda when it comes to cleaning and avoid plastic containers altogether
And finally, Vinegar can be combined with water to clean almost any surface as well.
5. Refillable Cleaning Products Gone are the days where you are out of cleaning products and have to go to the store to buy all new containers. Try a refillable cleaner. There are SO many. I could do a blog post on this product swap alone. Some of my favorites are Branch Basics, Grove Collaborative, and Blueland; there are glass or plastic options available and when you need a refill you are only shipped the concentration/paper sachet concentrate and keep the original bottles. This reduces waste significantly and leaves the harsh chemicals out of it; you can’t go wrong.
6. Wood Brush Drop the sponge and never look back. Your sponge/sponge brush is actually dirtier than your dishes that have sat for days in the sink. Sponges are porous so they actually hold bacteria rather than clean it away. Opt for a wood scrub brush and you’ll be able to clean with ease. The materials can easily be recycled since there is no plastic and it lasts much longer because it doesn’t get trapped with dirt and bacteria like a sponge will do. (Use AIMEE10 with the link above)
To be honest, this is my favorite place to make changes because I could also write just one blog post
dedicated to this room alone. There are SO many changes you can make, for the better. You can opt for a bamboo toothbrush, switch to coconut floss (my dentist had high praise for this one), better toothpaste, and even hair care bars.
7. Metal Safety Razor However, my favorite swap in the bathroom is a metal safety razor. Because this truly is a game changer for your skin and goals to reduce waste. I’ve been using a Leafshave razor for over 4 YEARS now. Seriously – I take mine with me on trips (remove the blade first), I send back the blades for proper recycling and I love supporting this small but oh so powerful business. Perfect for men, women and everyone in between. They recently came out with an at-home dermaplaner as well and this is another great product to swap for. (Use AIMEE10 for a discount on any Leafshave products)
8. Period Panties My second favorite bathroom swap is for feminine care. Tampons were what we all started with when it came to our periods. Fast forward we now have so many other options to try to manage our flow. My favorite is a menstrual cup and a period panty. A menstrual cup is a period product if you’d like to try something more waste-free to use during your period. There are different sizes based on your personal experience and shape (i.e. if you have given birth or are just starting your bleeding journey) and a cup can last for up to 10 years when cleaned properly after each cycle. Period panties are also gaining popularity and come in many different shapes and styles. I love Awwa Periodcare out of New Zealand. They are inclusive, comfortable and use eco-friendly materials. Aaaand also come in many different silhouettes, like thongs and high-waisted.
Last but certainly not least is the laundry room. *The cleaners under Kitchen also have detergents for laundry so I’ll skip that for now* Let’s talk about an alternative to dryer sheets.
9. Wool Laundry Balls A GREAT swap and so easy to make. Wool laundry balls help cut down drying time, reduce wrinkles and static. You can even pop a few of your favorite essential oil scent on the balls to have a beautiful aroma on your drying clothes. Dryer sheets contain plastic chemicals and when heated they leach onto your clothes, this poses health risks. Skip them altogether and grab a set of woll dryer balls. (USE AIMEE10 above)
10. Dryer Rack Okay, hear me out – again, may seem like another obvious swap but not a lot of people turn to it for drying clothes, only for delicates or things that say hang-dry. But using a drying rack is a great way to preserve your clothes longer, and reduce shrinkage and drying time. It helps when you get a nice one with a lot of different levels. It doesn't have to be crazy expensive. Bonus points when its a sunny day and lighter colors can dry outdoors.
So you see, loads of ways to start reducing your waste and not break the bank. Sometimes people express that living more sustainably is too expensive. It doesn’t have to be – you can find a lot of these items at your local grocery store or even the up front cost will be returned back to you in a shorter time than it takes to replace a more disposable option. Or better yet, you can use current items you already have.
And when you make changes gradually you can start to see other areas in your life that you can swap. Opting for cleaner makeup and skincare, start a compost, support second-hand clothing, sustainable fashions or implementing better energy efficiency and the list goes. It’s not about being perfect, its about doing this imperfectly and finding what works for you and your family to reduce your waste.
I love helping and discussing this journey with people, so come find me on social media @sustainablyaimee.
Happy Earth Month, every Month