Tag Archives: sustainability

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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!

meet leaf: the sustainable razor you’ll actually love

Zero wasters and minimalists rave about safety razors.

But when I bought my first safety razor, I wasn’t that into it.

Sure it gave me a close shave – but usually at the expense of scrapped up knees that left me feeling like a 13 year old shaving for the first time. I liked that I didn’t have to continuously rebuy razors…

But using a traditional butterfly safety razor is tricky. I have a whole post dedicated to how to use a traditional butterfly-style safety razor. Check that out here.

I honestly really liked my butterfly safety razor from Albatross once I got used to it. (There is a serious learning curve with safety razors.) But after I broke my second one, I thought maybe I should opt for a different style.

LEAF SHAVE

I first saw advertisements for Leaf Shave’s razor on Instagram. I saw how sleek and pretty it looked. And then I saw the bendy head and I knew I needed it.

At the time I was using Albatross, which is a great brand and makes awesome safety razors. But I was low-key hoping my razor would break (again) so I could buy a new one.

And boy was I lucky when my Albatross broke.

I bought this bad boy and I can easily say it’s one of my favorite zero-waste items I’ve ever bought. And there is no learning curve with using it, unlike the butterfly razor.

GIMME THE DEETS.

This all metal razor is plastic free. And that’s important because think about how many plastic razors you’ve used in your lifetime. Then multiple that by several million people (perhaps billion who use razors). That’s a lot of waste!

Leaf packages its razors and products entirely without plastic. They also offset their carbon footprint (they’re certified carbon neutral) and support climate action nonprofits. Pretty dope.

Now for the nitty gritty of the razor….

It has a head that bends, so you can easily shave over your knees, chin, and all the intimate areas.

It has three removable blades that can be easily removed by turning the knob on the back of the razor head a few times and lifting up the top portion of the head.

When you buy a razor kit, it comes with 50 razor blades. FIFTY! That’s insane. They’re light weight and fit nicely inside three spaces on the head of the razor.

TALK TO ME ABOUT PRICE…

Like most sustainable items that you only need to buy one of basically forever, it’s not cheap.

A Leaf Kit runs for $113. It includes a Leaf razor and stand, 50 blades and a blade recycling bin.

The razor on its own is $84.

But again, this razor will last you a long time. It ends up paying for itself after a year or so. Similarly to a menstrual cup (check out why and how I use a menstrual cup here), you only buy one for many many years. It’s an investment up front, but pays off in the end.

ANY DOWNERS?

Metal razors must be properly cleaned and stored – that’s the major bummer about using a safety razor.

I have a whole post dedicated to what you should know before using a safety razor. I wrote the post back when I used my butterfly Albatross razor, but the sentiments transfer to this razor, too. Wash it off, dry it and store it in a cool place. Metal will rust. While the Leaf is noticeably more resistant to rust than a traditional safety razor, it can still rust, so be sure to take good care of it.

Also, recycling blades is difficult. Most curbside pick up locations don’t accept blades.

But! If you mail your blades back to Leaf, they will properly recycle them for you! Just be sure to put your blades in a tin of some sort – either the one they give you or a mints container. I love companies that are proponents of a circular economy!

Also, the razor is covered by a lifetime warranty related to any defects that arise with the razor, such as the screw closure not working, the blade fillers are uneven, or the springs have broken.

Overall, I’d highly recommend investing in a Leaf. If you’re interested in a way to minimize your plastic use everyday, and can afford to hash out $113 bucks, buy a metal razor. And I’d say the Leaf is the best one on the market.

Is it the ‘REEL’ deal?

Lately I’ve been getting my toilet paper from Dollar General because it’s right down the road and when you need TP, it’s usually an emergency.

For more than two years I’ve been wanting to try out a more sustainable option, but every time I go to purchase it, we have plenty of TP. And when I need TP, I’m in dire straights and can’t wait for a batch to be shipped to my house.

But I officially tried out a sustainable brand called Reel.

WHAT’S REEL?

Reel is a sustainable toilet paper company based in California that has a business model for good.

It’s not a B-Corporation, but it’s very similar, and I’m surprised it doesn’t have a B-Corp. certification.

SUSTAINABILITY

The toilet paper is made out of bamboo, which is a pretty sustainable resource. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants. It can grow roughly 3-feet in one day.

The toilet paper is packaged in biodegradable paper wrapping and is shipped in a pack of 24.

ETHICS

Every time you order Reel, you give access to a toilet to someone else.

Reel partners with SOIL, a nonprofit that transforms waste into resources in Haiti. Through its partnership, SOIL provides toilets and removes waste from communities, which in turn prevents the spread of waterborne diseases and protects aquatic ecosystems.

The waste water is treated, turned into compost, and then sold to support agriculture and climate change mitigation efforts in Haiti. Pretty cool!

Since 2006, SOIL has been transforming waste into useful resources in Haiti.

QUALITY

I’m not too picky when it comes to toilet paper. But I can say, this toilet paper does the job and feels comfortable while doing it πŸ™‚ Since it’s 3-ply, it’s a bit thicker than your average toilet paper roll.

The TP is certifiably biodegradable and OK for septic systems!

The outer paper on the roll is a grayish tissue paper with an “r” on the outside (and it’s recyclable!). It looks sleek sitting out in your bathroom, unlike most toilet paper rolls.

The toilet paper comes with 24 rolls, which each have 300 sheets of 3-ply toilet paper.

HOW IT WORKS

Reel uses a subscription program, so you can rest assured you won’t run out of TP, or that your grocery stories will run out during a pandemic… we’ve all been there.

You don’t have to subscribe to the program though. I didn’t. Or at least, I haven’t yet, but I may decide to!

You can get it delivered to you every 4, 8 or 12 weeks, depending on how much TP you use. I’d say every 8 weeks would probably be the best bet for a two-person home. For more than two people, four weeks may be the better bet – it all just depends!

PRICE BREAK DOWN

The toilet paper isn’t cheap. For a 24-pack it runs for $29.99.

But considering it’s 3-ply, the price is pretty standard. Looking at Quilted Northern’s 3-ply option, a 24-pack of TP rolls runs for $27.50.

The 3-ply allows you to use less toilet paper for each wipe. Most 2-ply toilet paper runs for around $14 for a 20-pack.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

There are also two other brands of sustainable toilet paper that I’m aware of. The first is Who Gives A Crap, which is a B-Corp based in Australia! I’ve heard great things about their toilet paper, but decided to try out Reel. The other is Tushy, which is a bidet company that also sells sustainable toilet paper. Both brands also use bamboo in their toilet paper and are great brands to support!

I’d like to try all three and eventually do a review of which I like the best. Stay tuned πŸ™‚

In the end, I like Reel’s toilet paper. It’s not the greatest, fluffiest toilet paper I’ve ever used, but it’s far from the worst. The price is decent for the amount of toilet paper you get, and I appreciate the company’s mission. I’ll happily use my Reel TP for now πŸ™‚