All posts by danifitzbrown

how to shop more mindfully at target

Target is one of my favorite places to visit. Most of the time I don’t even buy anything when I go to a Target… I just like to walk around, browse the makeup and skincare, file through the planners and notebooks, and maybe grab a coffee on my way out.

Target calms me and makes me feel good. I can’t exactly put into words why that is, but maybe you feel the same way.

While there are plenty of items at Target that aren’t necessarily the most sustainable option, the store has significantly upped its sustainability game over the last year.

I thought it would be fun to walk around Target and pick out the most sustainable items I could find.

I ended up finding over 40 items I would deem either sustainable or better options if Target is your main store.

Now let me get a few disclaimers out of the way.

First, I recognize not every Target carries the same items. Your Target may have lots of sustainable options, or maybe yours hardly has any at all. I went to my local Target that I would deem pretty middle of the road. It’s not in a super wealthy area, and compared with other Targets I’ve been to, it’s a crappier quality as far as items it carries.

Second, I also recognize that not everyone has access to a Target. This post is mainly for folks who love Target but are trying to make some more sustainable options. Obviously I advocate to shop small business and support more sustainable companies, but I recognize not everyone is going to do that.

And lastly, I recognize some of the options I list in this post aren’t exactly sustainable. But I tried to find as many decent options as I could. A lot of these are more so ideas rather than recommendations for actual products –– though some are recommendations! Remember, it’s about progress and doing your best –– not perfection. 🙂

I’ve separated the items into the following categories:

Clothing
Accessories
Shoes
Electronics
Baby
Toys
Kitchen
Living room, bedroom + bathroom
Cleaning
Toiletries
Makeup
Skin/Haircare
Miscellaneous

CLOTHING

Now, Levi’s is not the most sustainable brand. I understand that. They’ve done some unethical things in the past, which should be noted. However, they recently pledged to lower their water consumption, use recycled plastic in their clothing, and they’ve even created a collection dedicated to being kinder to the planet.

Are they perfect? Nope. But they appear to be trying.

More than that, I’m using them as a larger example for two things.

First, it’s important to support businesses that are trying to do better. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about recognizing where you’ve come short and then pledging to do better. It’s OUR job as consumers to hold them to those promises and demand they happen.

Second, I think buying quality is synonymous with sustainability. If you buy an item that lasts for 10+ years, you’re saving money and resources. Levi’s are known for lasting a heck of a long time. If you’re going to buy something that’s not the most “sustainable” option, or that doesn’t come from the most sustainable company, at the very least, ensure that it is quality and will last you years down the road.

ACCESSORIES

Aim for items and articles of clothing that are made with a majority cotton, linen or wool (or other organic material). Studies show that they produce less microfibers, which end up in our waterways. While having a mixed material with 50% polyester and 50% cotton isn’t ideal, it’s been shown that mixed fiber clothing releases less microplastics than items made entirely with polyester or another plastic.

SHOES

I’m hyped about this find. Okabashi is a GREAT brand!

The material for the shoes is 100% recyclable and made in the USA. They offer 15% off your next purchase if you send your worn Okabashi shoes to the company. They’ll properly recycle them for you!

It doesn’t get much doper than that, folks.

Although I’ve never gotten a pair, they’re on my list. I need black flats and I’m definitely getting these bad boys when it gets warmer outside.

From what I’ve read, these shoes are mad comfortable and last for years.

If you don’t like Target’s options, Okabashi has plenty online to choose from. 🙂

ELECTRONICS

I didn’t find sustainable options in electronics, however I’d say the most sustainable option would be to limit the amount of electronics you use, and to buy secondhand if you can. Or, if you really need something new –– go for it. Be sure to recycle your electronics properly when the end of their life comes. You can contact your local municipality and/or recycling company for how to dispose of your electronics.

BABY

I was pleasantly surprised to see several more sustainable baby options at Target.

There are these baby food jars that come in reusable glass packaging. These jars would be great to make your own baby food at home, use to store lotion and other to-go products, to use to make a candle, and so many other options.

I also noticed there were several products that were B-Corporation brands, or that were recyclable through Terra Cycle.

Seventh Generation is a B-Corporation; so I’d recommend using their products if you’re purchasing from Target. The brand HappyBaby is also a B-Corporation. The Puracy brand comes in a nice spray bottle that you can reuse, and the CereBelly brand has a partnership with TerraCycle, making it easy to recycle its products!

Munchkin brand has an option for sippy cups that are packaged in cardboard instead of plastic, so that’s cool. Target also sells glass baby bottles, which is a much more sustainable option than plastic. And plenty of Target’s baby blankets and clothing is made with partially cotton and partially recycled material, like recycled polyester. Not perfect, but not a bad option either!

TOYS

Toys are tough. Most are made of plastic that isn’t recyclable. However, there are a few more sustainable toy brands at Target now.

Green Toys is a company that sells toys through EarthHero (think of it as the eco-friendly Amazon). Their toys are made with 100% recyclable materials and their packaging is all recyclable paper/cardboard. Their toys are built to last –– and they’re super cute and functional.

I was pretty hyped to find these bad boys at Target.

KITCHEN

A few things when it comes to buying new items.

You want them to last. On my wedding registry, I went to Target and tried to find eco-friendly items. I found skillets and pots and pans that said “green” on them, so I assumed they were better for the planet, and for me. But they lasted maybe a year and then we had to replace them. My secondhand stainless steel skillet has already been a better purchase than that trendy, “green” brand I thought would be good.

Buying items that come in metal, like stainless steel, or glass, are usually better because you won’t have to replace them as often. Think about what will last the longest, and also think about how many resources had to go into the item you’re buying. Something made of entirely one material will likely (though not always) be less resource intensive than buying something that takes a million different parts from different areas of the country to import and export and then create that item.

Also, think of materials that are easily recyclable. An item made entirely of stainless steel, or aluminum, or one type of quality plastic, is most likely recyclable. According to the International Stainless Steel Forum,  an estimated 80% of stainless steel products are recycled at the end of their life. I’m not entirely sure how true that is, but I definitely would agree that people are more apt to think to recyclable a metal than they would be a plastic or even glass.

Throwing metal in the trash feels weird for some reason.

For fabrics like dish towels or table cloths, opt for 100% linen or cotton. Or, at the very least, opt for one made with a majority of cotton or linen. Like I said before, studies show mixed fiber products shed less microplastics than ones made entirely of polyester or acrylic.

While I appreciate that Target has options for composting, buckets like this aren’t entirely necessary. You can use a basic bucket to hold your food scraps. However, I have to admit, the stainless steel look is pretty chic. And, I bought one of these at the beginning of my low-waste journey, so I love mine. But again, they aren’t necessary.

I was excited to see how many paper filters for Keurig cups they had available at Target! They have several brands where you can fill up tour K-cup with the coffee grounds of your choice and have an individual cup of coffee.

For those with a Keurig, I’d highly recommend investing in one of these! It will save on a ton of waste.

LIVING ROOM, BEDROOM, BATHROOM

While I didn’t find anything overtly sustainable in the living room and bedroom sections, I would say opt for 100% linen, wool and cotton fabrics for blankets; and opt for pieces of furniture that will last a long time. Timeless, or ones you can easily paint or stain (like wood) if you want to change up the look of it a bit.

For the bathroom, again, opt for 100% cotton bath towels and rugs if possible. Another good investment is in a quality soap dispenser.

I like this one from Target that’s made with 100% recycled glass.

But what I would really recommend is finding a foaming soap pump. You can easily make your own soap using a little bit of Dr. Bronners Castile soap, water and oil, and you have a foaming hand soap. It saves you money in the long run!

CLEANING

I don’t LOVE Seventh Generation, but I definitely respect them.

They’re a certified B-Corporation, meaning they abide my some of the strictest sustainability and ethical business practices around. If you are at Target and you’re not sure what cleaning supplies to get (they have a wide range of cleaning supplies including laundry detergent, soap, diapers, and about anything else you’d need in your house), I’d recommend Seventh Generation. Again, not my favorite option of all time, but probably the best Target option 🙂

I’m also pretty excited to see these hand soaps and hand sanitizers that come in recyclable and reusable aluminum containers. They’re a little pricier than regular soap and hand sanitizer, but they look super cute in your bathroom 🙂

Now these are dope. Sponges made with a biodegradable plant-based material. And the “plastic” packaging isn’t actually plastic –– it’s compostable. If you need sponges/scrub brushes, maybe give these a try!

TOILETRIES

Native deodorant is great quality and it now comes in a paper tube! I like the Cucumber and Mint one 🙂 If you need deodorant, consider trying out Native! And if your Target doesn’t have the paper tube option just yet, the regular deodorant is great, too, and is recyclable in most curbside locations.

Another deodorant brand, and overall good brand to support, is Tom’s of Maine. They’re a B-Corporation, so again, they follow some of the strictest sustainability and ethical practices for a business. I really like their Lavender scented deodorant.

I’ve noticed that for both of these deodorants, I still have to reapply throughout the day. They don’t totally mask my BO. But, I don’t mind reapplying, and I really like the scents both of these brands carry 🙂

For toothpaste, I’d recommend using either the Tom’s brand or, if your Target carries it, the Davids brand.

The Davids brand comes in an aluminum tube that is 100% recyclable. You just have to cut the tube open once you’re finished with it, clean it out and toss it in your recycling bin (be careful of sharp edges!). They’re a great company with products made in the USA. Definitely one to support.

For period support, check out these two brands at Target! I’ve never used either of these brands for my period –– I use the Lunette. Check out my review here. But I’m encouraged that Target even has menstrual cups on its shelves! If you haven’t used a menstrual cup before, definitely check out my review. I go over all the details of what it’s like, how to insert one, and if they’re worth it. (They are!)

SKIN/HAIRCARE

It’s a pretty big deal that Target carries shampoo bars. And, these shampoo bars actually work. I tried the Tea Tree and Mint one and I loved it!

There isn’t a lot of detail about the sustainability behind the company, but I definitely would suggest trying these shampoo bars out if you’re interested in using one but aren’t sure what to buy/have limited options.

My favorite shampoo bar is my Ethique, and their products are available at many Targets around the country! However, they’re not available at my local one. I have to travel almost an hour to another Target to get the shampoo. But, if your Target carries Ethique –– DEFINITELY support them. I have an entire blog post dedicated to their products. Check it out here.

Another great brand to support for skincare, haircare and makeup is Shea Moisture. They’re a black-owned, fair trade, B-Corporation. For makeup, their products are super inclusive as far as shade range. I really love a lot of their products, and they’re a good company to support.

Pacifica is another brand I really love. They have a recycling program where you can mail back your Pacifica products and they’ll properly recycle them. Not only recycle them, but they turn them into razors and toothbrushes that can be bought on Pacifica’s website. How cool! They’re also a female-owned business, which is super cool. And their products are dope.

There isn’t a whole lot of information regarding cocokind’s sustainability practices, but they do have a foundation that gives grants to women entrepreneurs who are doing businesses for good.

According to their website, “The Cocokind Impact Foundation provides financial grants of $2,500 to $10,000 to female-identifying entrepreneurs in the health, wellness, and sustainability industries, who are focused on creating social impact through business.”

That’s pretty cool! And, most of their products come in reusable glass containers. I really like their products 🙂

Bliss is another cool company to support. They partner with TerraCycle and have a recycling program where you send back your pumps and other non-recyclables and they’ll make sure they get properly recycled. Containers that have a No. 1 or 2 on the bottom are (typically) recyclable in curbside pickups, so they encourage you to toss your clean bottles in your recycling once you’ve finished them.

Also, skincare guru Hyram from Skincare By Hyram likes a lot of Bliss’ products, so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your skin.

(He also likes a few of Shea Moisture’s products too, which are the main ones I like to personally use :)!)

I’m a pretty big Dr. Bronners fan. I like their gentle bar for my body wash, and their scented ones make some really great hand soap! Dr. Bronners is a B-Corporation and is known for its ethical practices and sustainability. 🙂 Check out why I love Dr. Bronners here.

While CeraVe isn’t technically a sustainable company, I wanted to include it because they have such an array of options and are recommended by many dermatologists, and Hyram.

It’s really important to use the products you invest in. If CeraVe is your go-to cleanser or lotion and it’s honestly the best one for you and works the best, stick with it! Again, the most sustainable option is what you already have, and a lot of time it’s about what works best for you.

So please hear me when I say, don’t go out and switch to something more “sustainable” that doesn’t actually work for your body. It’s just not worth it. Find what works for you, is good for you, and is better for the planet. Do your best!

MAKEUP

All right, so I had a really hard time suggesting any of the makeup products I found at Target. At least at my Target, it’s the pretty standard Maybelline, Revlon, CoverGirl, etc.

So I tried to find brands that have the best packaging. Packaging you can reuse once you’ve finished the bottle. Most are serums and foundations.

I thought these bottles in glass packaging could be easily up cycled once you empty the bottle! So if you currently use a foundation that comes in a glass bottle, instead of tossing it out, see if you can clean it out and maybe use it as a travel sized container, or to store lotion or hand sanitizer in in your bag!

I would recommend using whatever makeup brushes you already have before buying new. However, if you need some new ones, EcoTools isn’t a horrible option.

Their label is made from plantable seed paper; their packaging is biodegradable paper; and their products are made out of recycled aluminum and plastic.

While I couldn’t find anything on the sustainability of PiggyPaint nail polish, it’s a lot safer to use on your nails than traditional nail polish. And it’s safe for kids to use, too! I’ve never used it, but give it a try and see what you think!

MISCELLANEOUS

Klean Kanteen water bottles are excellent. They’re durable, functional, and last for years. The company is a B-Corporation, too, so you can feel good knowing you’re drinking from an overall quality water bottle. 🙂

This brand Open Story is a newer Target brand. While I can’t say it’s the most sustainable brand, I wanted to reiterate what I mentioned before about buying quality.

I appreciate that this brand has a 10-year warranty for its bags. Items with warranties are much more likely to be quality and last a longer time. While I’m not necessarily saying to support this specific company, I think you should always opt for the best quality item.

I’m a big fan of stasher bags! I use mine all of the time. They’re silicone bags you can use as an alternative to plastic baggies to stash all your goods. They have lots of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Check them out the next time you’re at Target!

Target has a decent about of paper products for wrapping, including stationery, that comes in decently sustainable packaging.

I love the “decomposition” notebooks they carry, and their cards made from recycled paper. Tissue paper and cute decorative rope come in several colors and is wrapped in paper!

Welly is a certified B-Coporation, and their bandaids are fabric! Patch‘s bandaids are made out of bamboo and are biodegradable. Oh, and they’re also a B-Corp. Plus, they’re fun for kids and adults to wear! 🙂

As a reminder, it’s about doing your best. A lot goes into sustainability –– including where you shop and what you buy. For most of us, changing our buying habits is an excellent place to start! Make small changes that you can stick with, and give yourself grace when you make a less sustainable choice.

Be kind to yourself, others and the planet. We’re all struggling out here, fam.

Grace and peace to you, my friends!

Tips for dressing more sustainably

Sustainable fashion is pricey.

If you Google “sustainable clothing,” you’ll find lots of options. T-shirts made from 100% organic cotton, leggings made from recycled plastic bottles, fair trade scarves… and so on.

But most of those items are around $100 a piece. They may be a better option for the planet, but not so much for your wallet.

If you’re looking to invest in some more sustainable options, but you’re not tryna break the bank, I gotchu. Me too.

I’ve come up with a few tips to dress more sustainably, and I’ve listed some brands I feel good about giving my dollars to.

THE MOST SUSTAINABLE OUTFIT IS THE ONE YOU ALREADY OWN

This is probably not the answer you’re looking for, but it’s true.

A study conducted by Jenny Hall, an anthropologist studying the environmental effects of fast fashion, found that for the average household in the UK, around 30% of clothing goes unworn over the course of a year.

That might seem like a high percentage, but I know for me, I have a handful of outfits I wear regularly… and the others are articles of clothing I wear on occasion, or ones I tell myself I’ll eventually have the confidence to wear. But I never actually take them off the hanger.

I think that’s probably the case for many of us. It’s the “what if there’s an occasion I’ll need it!” or “one day I’ll lose enough weight to fit into those pants again!” mentality that keeps our dressers overstuffed with outfits we haven’t worn in years.

When going through your clothes, check in with the status of some of your dusty outfits. Have you worn it in the last year? Why or why not? If it doesn’t fit, don’t keep it!

(Perhaps the topic of another article, but in my experience, keeping your “skinny” pants that you hardly fit into anymore isn’t good for you. It’s a pair of pants… it’s not your identity. Let it go and find a different pair that fit you beautifully. You’ll look like a million bucks and you’ll feel cool as heck.)

If you’re having a hard time parting with some of your clothes, put them in a bag and set them somewhere you won’t see them. Keep them there for a month. If you haven’t thought about them during that time, either donate them, give them away or try to sell them online.

We need to normalize rewearing outfits, too. I remember in high school I was petrified of wearing the same shirt more than once a week. Now, I’ve gotten rid of so many of my clothes that I rewear the same shirts in the same week all of the time. There’s nothing wrong with rewearing clothes! Pair your black T-shirt with a jean jacket one day. Then the next day wear a scarf. Maybe the day after that wear a blazer with it and tuck in your shirt. There are tons of ways to rewear your clothes while making you feel fresh with each wear.

SECONDHAND OPTIONS CAN BE CHEAP, UNIQUE, AND MORE SUSTAINABLE

Quality jeans, 100% cotton T-shirts, quirky jackets and some other general clothing staples are usually fairly easy to thrift.

If you’ve been to your local thrift stores, like Goodwill and the Salvation Army, and you swear you can’t find anything that fits your style. I get it. I’ve been there.

I’m a pretty avid thrifter. The vast majority of my clothes are thrifted, but I still leave SalVal empty handed now and again.

Here are a few tips for what to look for when you go thrifting.

  1. Know what you’re looking for. If can be really difficult to find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for. If you need a cute jacket, go to the thrift store with that in mind. Look through Pinterest for some inspiration of what you’re looking for. Keep in mind the shape of the jacket, or the general pattern, and have an open mind when you walk down the aisles.
  2. Try stuff on. I’ve grabbed a dress that I thought was hideous and then tried it on and fell in love. You never know how something will fit your body until you try it on!
  3. Step out of your comfort zone. While you can find some basics at a thrift store, sometimes the most fun is when you find the most obscure looking shirt and then when you try it on, it’s your new favorite item. You never know what you’ll find.
  4. Shop for basics. A black T-shirt, a nice pair of Levi jeans, a leather jacket… all of these things are usually easy to come by at the thrift store. You may not think to go there for a replacement to your favorite T, but give it a shot. They may have the brand you like there for half the price!

OTHER SECONDHAND OPTIONS

Here is a list of some online secondhand stores that might be easier to shop during the pandemic:

Depop
Ebay
Etsy
Goodwill online
Patagonia Worn Wear
Poshmark
ThredUp

ECO-FRIENDLY BRANDS I DIG

Full disclosure, I’ve never purchased clothing from a sustainable company. I usually go the secondhand route.

However, I’ve been trying to buy my jewelry from fair trade and sustainable companies. I like to get my jewelry from Ten Thousand Villages, Mata Traders and Made Trade.

Here is a list of companies that are quality sustainable brands. Some are more reasonably priced, while others are ridiculously expensive. I’d love to eventually purchase a few items from these shops, but I just haven’t had the money. If you do purchase something from one of these places, please let me know what you think!

This list isn’t exhaustive. There are countless sustainable brands out there. However, I wanted to list companies that I know to be quality. Again, I haven’t purchased from most of these, but I’ve heard only good things. Most of these are a bit pricey, so if price is a concern, maybe stick with secondhand stores. Or, buy one or two staples from one of these sustainable stores.

Conscious Clothing
Girlfriend Collective (super inclusive sizing for yoga/work out clothes!)
Kotn
Made Trade
Mata Traders
Pact
Patagonia
Ten Tree

OPT FOR CLOTHING YOU’LL USE ALL THE TIME

Buying clothes from a brand like Target or Walmart isn’t bad. Don’t feel shame about it! If you find an article of clothing that you really love, that fits you well, you feel confident in and you haven’t been able to find a more sustainable, inexpensive or secondhand version of, go for it.

If I’m being honest, everything I’m wearing in that photo above is secondhand –– except for my overalls!

They’re from Target. I got them several months ago when I was looking everywhere for secondhand overalls. I looked all over the place and didn’t find any that fit, or that I liked. When I went to Target and spotted these bad boys, I fell in love. They fit great and I felt really confident in them.

So I bought them. And then I felt such guilt for buying something that wasn’t “sustainable” enough.

But I told that thought to get the heck out of here, and I’ve enjoyed wearing my overalls ever since. They’re a staple in my closet that get lots of use.

Like I said before, it’s not wrong to buy something because it makes you feel good and gives you a much needed confidence boost. But when you can reasonably make a more sustainable choice, always try to go the more sustainable route.

LOOK FOR “ORGANIC” MATERIALS

*Not necessarily certified organic materials… I’m talking materials that are plastic-free and can break down more easily in nature.

100% cotton, linen, wool, hemp, silk, jute, flax, etc. are less likely to contain microplastics, which end up in our waterways. When you’re thrift shopping, or shopping anywhere, look at the tag!

THE PROBLEM WITH MICROPLASTICS

There’s been lots of research conducted regarding microplastics that come off of clothing — especially clothing made from plastic such as polyester and acrylic.

Here are a few articles talking about the problem with microplastics:

Vox wrote an article based on a few different studies, with this one looking at how fish ingest microplastics, and this one looking at how microplastics are released from clothing.

The study “Release of synthetic microplastic plastic fibres from domestic washing machines: Effects of fabric type and washing conditions” conducted by Imogen E. Napper and Richard C. Thompson found that in a typical washer, over 700,000 fibers could be released from a 6kg (or around 13 pound) load of acrylic fabric laundry. From their study, they found some microplastics can pass through water treatment plants. They believe this could be a large reason microplastics are found in aquatic habitats.

Even “organic” clothes produce microfibers in the water system. However, more natural fibers can more easily breakdown.

While there isn’t a total consensus on whether or not fiber catchers are the best option, some studies have found that they lessen the amount of microplastics and fiber that go into waterways.

There are a few different options for these fiber catchers, but the easier one to use appears to be the Cora Ball.

The Cora Ball is a laundry ball that you toss into your load of laundry. It supposedly catches the microplastics and fibers!

The GuppyFriend is a laundry bag that does the same thing. You toss your clothes in the bag, throw the bag into the wash, and the bag supposedly catches the microplastics.

I haven’t personally used a fiber catcher before, but I would like to buy one at some point to at the very least use when I wash my polyester/plastic clothing.

I’m not sure which one is better, as I haven’t used either one. But check out reviews on both and do some research to see if you think it’s worth it!

If you don’t want to get one of those fiber catchers, here are a few other options to lessen the likelihood of microplastics getting into the waterways.

  1. Wash your clothes less often. This is simple enough!
  2. Wash your clothing in cold water. Not ideal for certain articles of clothing, but could be helpful!
  3. Buy better quality clothes that are less likely to shed significant microfibers and microplastics.
  4. Buy clothes made from cotton and other natural options. While 100% natural fibers are the best route, the study conducted by Napper and Thompson showed that even fabrics with a blend of 50-50 polyester and cotton shed significantly fewer microplastics when compared to a fully polyester or acrylic option.
  5. Buy fewer clothes.

Overall, as I always say, give yourself grace. Buy sustainably when you can. Opt for secondhand when it works for you. Remember that the most sustainable outfit is the one you already own. And most important of all, be kind to yourself and to others –– we’re all doing our best out here! 🙂

Grace and peace to you, my friends.

100 ways to care for the planet, even when you’re broke

Many of us live paycheck to paycheck.

When finances are tight, the last thing on our minds is how we can make more environmentally friendly decisions.

Finding ways to support our families and ourselves while trying to do our part to help the planet isn’t always straightforward.

I’ve come up with 100 ways to be more mindful, help the planet and those around you, and do it either for free or on a budget.

Obviously you don’t have to do all of these things. And I’m sure there’s plenty of items I neglected to put on this list. But I’m hoping this gives folks some ideas that may feel less obvious, but are still beneficial to the planet, ourselves and one another.

I’ve split the 100 up into five categories:

  • Reuse/upcycle
  • Try something new
  • Make small changes
  • When ya gotta buy stuff
  • Take action

Some of these options are obvious – i.e., recycle. But others may surprise you. You may have been doing most of these all along and never realized that you’re actually helping the planet.

Windows of goodness; little bursts of truth. That’s what we need more of these days. Turning the lights off when you leave a room is helpful to the environment – and to your wallet. Working in your garden is good for your mental, physical and emotional health. And it’s great for the planet. Those little things are small joys, little wins that you should feel good about.

Instead of looking at all the ways you’re lacking, recognize that within you an orchard is growing. Water it and keep it healthy. In keeping ourselves healthy – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually – we can lend fruit from that orchard to our neighbors that need it most.

Take care of yourself, and in doing so, you’ll become a better advocate for your friends, family, and the Earth.

We’re all in this together 🙂


REUSE/UP-CYCLE

  1. Use a reusable water bottle
  2. Repurpose old containers
    I usually reuse glass jars like sauce jars, pickle jars and salsa jars.
  3. Reuse your cardboard to make Christmas decorations or other decorations
    There are some awesome Pinterest tutorials on how to make Christmas trees out of recycled cardboard!
  4. Bring a reusable thermos when you go to a coffee shop
  5. Keep packaging from shipments to use for later wrapping
  6. Keep your gift bags and other wrapping from gifts
    Instead of throwing away gift bags and tissue paper, keep it!
  7. Up-cycle jars as propagation stations
    I like to use glass dressing jars that have a slimmer neck
  8. Up-cycle your plastic by making ornaments and other decor items
    Instead of throwing away or recycling a plastic cup, consider cutting it and painting or decorating it. Poke a hole in it and hang it on your tree as an ornament, or make earrings out of it!
  9. Reuse newspaper to wrap presents, line trash cans, etc. 

TRY SOMETHING NEW

  1. Learn to sew
  2. Make a small garden
    Plant easy to take care of veggies like tomatoes and peppers
  3. Mend your clothing
    Or if you personally can’t mend your clothes, send them to a tailor!
  4. Make plant-based meals once a week
  5. Compost
  6. Start a local trade/swap club of books, clothing, movies, etc.
  7. Get a library card
  8. Learn to knit or crochet
  9. Make your own cleaning products using vinegar and baking soda
  10. Instead of going out to dinner with friends, host a few friends at your home for dinner
  11. Minimize your wardrobe
  12. Instead of donating to thrift stores, consider selling or gifting items you no longer want
    Thrift stores are overwhelmed by donations. Most of the donations we give don’t actually make it to the shelves at Goodwill anyway… many end up in the landfill.
  13. Propagate your plants

    Plants are good for your mental health and for the air. A good mental state and healthy air allows you to make better choices.
  14. Recycle at work, and if your company doesn’t, talk to your HR department about starting a recycling program
  15. Teach your children about sustainability through educational books and videos
    Check out EarthHero and Uncommon Goods for some great books!
  16. Listen to audiobooks
    If you don’t want to support Audible (AKA Amazon), there are plenty of apps that connect to your library card, allowing you to listen to free audiobooks. Hoopla is one option.
  17. Send e-invites instead of physical invitations, or if you use physical paper invites, opt for recycled paper and then ask your friends/family to recycle once they’re done
    This year, we used Paper Culture to create our holiday cards. They’re a great company and use recycled paper!
  18. Minimize areas of excess
    Skincare products and electronics are two areas that promote serious consumerism. Consider minimizing your routine/what you have.
  19. Declutter your home to make room for more life-giving products
  20. Tie dye your clothes using food scraps
    I’ve never done this, but Pinterest has some awesome tips!
  21. Use a menstrual cup instead of pads or tampons
    Check out my post here about why I love my menstrual cup.
  22. Make a list of what you throw away each day/week and see if you can find plastic-free alternatives
  23. Invest in red wigglers, which are worms that basically act as an all-natural garbage disposal
    This has been on my to-do list for a few years now! Perhaps I’ll write a post about this one day. But if you’re not into composting, maybe red wigglers are a good option for you!
  24. Give an experience gift instead of a physical gift 
    Memberships to the museum or zoo, concert tickets, etc. make great gifts.

MAKE SMALL CHANGES

  1. Recycle
  2. Use your pens until they’re completely out of ink
  3. Minimize how much tape you use, or use paper tape
  4. Adjust your heat and a/c when you’re out of town
  5. Opt for aluminum
    Aluminum is a super recyclable material. If you have to choose between plastic or aluminum, definitely go for aluminum and then recycle it!
  6. Don’t litter
  7. Use up all your paper before buying a new notebook
  8. Turn off your lights when you’re not in a room
  9. Avoid palm oil unless you know it’s sustainably sourced. Read food labels.
    Palm oil is largely unethically and unsustainably harvested. I’ll write a post on this in the coming months.
  10. Pop your own popcorn over the stove instead of using microwave bags
  11. Opt for refillable products whenever possible.
  12. Recycle your contact lenses properly using a TerraCycle location nearest you
    Check out my post here about how I recycle my contact lenses and blister packs.
  13. Use a safety razor or an all-metal razor like one from Leaf Shave
  14. Say, ‘No, thanks!’ to straws at a restaurant
  15. Don’t take a receipt unless you really need one, or have it emailed to you
  16. Go paperless for your paychecks and bills
  17. Bring your own reusable bags when out shopping
    I try to keep some reusable/cotton bags in my car so I don’t forget to bring them with me.
  18. Check with your local homeless shelter and other similar agencies to donate items you don’t use enough
  19. Instead of paraffin wax candles, consider diffusing essential oils or make/buy your own candles
    Opt for more sustainable and environmentally friendly options like sustainably sourced soy and beeswax. This article talks about paraffin wax a bit.
  20. Limit airplane use 
  21. Use bar soap as opposed to liquids, as they tend to come with less packaging
  22. Use a French press or traditional coffee maker
    Opt for biodegradable filters. Keurigs are pretty wasteful. But if you already have one, use it! Try to find refillable coffee pods instead of disposable ones.
  23. Check with your local recycling company to make sure you are recycling the right items and that you’re properly cleaning them out and removing the label
  24. Bring nature indoors and use fallen branches, pinecones, etc. for home decor

WHEN YA GOTTA BUY STUFF

  1. Shop local/support small businesses
  2. Stop shopping from Amazon, or only buy from Amazon when it’s absolutely necessary
  3. Buy secondhand electronics
  4. Buy secondhand books
  5. Buy secondhand clothing
  6. Invest in a Kindle or other digital book device
  7. Buy fabrics and yarn secondhand
  8. Buy sustainably packaged beauty products, like ones you can refill
    I love Elate Cosmetics and RMS Beauty for their refillable, quality makeup.
  9. Support businesses that advocate for a circular economy
  10. Buy from farmer’s markets when possible
  11. Buy meat from a local butcher/farm
  12. Purchase rechargeable batteries.
    I got mine from Amazon, but other local stores should have rechargeable batteries, too. Rechargeable batteries are a game changer. You never have to buy batteries again!
  13. Support B-Corporations and other sustainable businesses
  14. Opt for microplastic-free clothing/fabric options
    Options I like include 100% cotton, linen, wool, etc. Read the label before making a purchase. Microplastics in polyester and other fabrics shed from our clothes while in the washer and can be damaging to our aquatic ecosystems.
  15. Buy in bulk when it’s available
  16. Buy loose-leaf tea instead of bagged tea, which typically has micro plastics in it.
  17. Buy outfit staples that will last a long time
  18. Buy from brands that are known to be quality: second-hand/gently used Levi jeans, for example.
  19. Buy a sustainable phone case like Pela
    Pela phone cases are compostable! Either compost them yourself or send them back to Pela and they’ll compost them properly.
  20. Before buying something, ask yourself if you actually need this item or if you just want it
  21. Buy 100% wool socks.
    Wool is temperature regulating and it’s more sustainable.
  22. Use LED lightbulbs
  23. Buy an Etsy print from a small business and print it out yourself to hang in your house
  24. Buy wooden toys for your children instead of plastic ones
    Many can be found secondhand! Or check out Earth Hero for some great sustainable options.
  25. Buy secondhand kitchen supplies like blenders, crock pots, etc.

TAKE ACTION

  1. Volunteer at a nonprofit or agency
  2. Join local clean ups
  3. Pick up litter when you see it
  4. Take colder showers
    It saves energy and wakes you up in the morning!
  5. Go outside and get in the dirt.
    Studies show getting outside can improve our quality of life, which will encourage us to make better choices.
  6. Read at least a page of something everyday
  7. Vote in local elections
    Not just presidential elections: vote for your mayor, state representatives, school board members, etc.! Know your local leadership and talk to them about issues that are important to you.
  8. Wake up early and go for a walk
    The fresh air can do wonders for a crappy morning.
  9. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up
  10. Do stretches each day
    When you’re healthy and strong, you can be a better advocate for others.
  11. Drink less coffee and more water
  12. Walk or bike as often as you can
  13. Support your local newspaper

    Local news is integral to our democracy. Support your local paper!
  14. Use items for double purposes
    I like to use avocado oil to take off my makeup and I also cook with it! 
  15. Donate to nonprofits and other organizations you feel connected to
  16. Participate in local government meetings and let your voice be heard
  17. Listen
    Listen to people who disagree with you, listen to groups of people who are hurting, listen to the Earth.
  18. Be kind
    Most importantly, be kind to one another. We are all going through different obstacles. Some folks can easily recycle, buy bulk food, and minimize their waste. For others, they may not have as many resources available, making minimizing waste not exactly a priority. Wherever you are, and wherever your neighbor is, extend grace to each other. We need grace a little extra these days.

    And don’t forget that an orchard grows within you. Share its fruit with those you meet.

Grace and peace to you, my friends.