Sustainable Who? Sustainable You!

By: Crystal Alba

This month we have been focusing on ways that we can be more sustainable. 

Before we dive in deep in our journey for this month, we should probably clarify what sustainability means to us.

We learned that being sustainable means making more conscious decisions towards the environment. This means using less plastic, using more reusable products, cleaning with less harsh chemicals that pollute the earth, finding more ways to compost, essentially having less waste, and even making conscious decisions on purchases from companies that are also putting in effort into being kind to the earth.

I think my intention apart from being environmentally friendly is to impose healthy habits for my daughter to follow. I would like to influence her to save the earth just as much as the next person, but if I can get her to implement some of these sustainable habits, I’ll take it as a sign that the future is bright!

Facts that we learned:

  • it takes about 2,700 liters of water to make just one t-shirt , which is enough water for one person to drink for 900 days.
  • In the United States, more than 40 percent of municipal solid waste is paper — about 71.8 tons a year.
  • Recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to run a TV for three hours.
  • On average, ONE supermarket goes through 60,500,000 paper bags per year! Bring a reusable bag instead!

Our sustainable lifestyle:

  • We have created a compost bucket/pile at home. It’s not the most glamorous thing to look at but knowing that we are contributing to the earth by making soil is worth it! Save your banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, paper bags, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps and put it in the bucket with some carbon and nitrogen (grass clippings, twigs, leaves)

  • Making my own cleaning products with vinegar, baking soda, essential oils. Vinegar is great for making dressings and preserving food but it is also a great way to kill bacteria in the home. It can be stinky so I use essential oils to cut the smell. Essential oils are also proven to kill bacteria as well. The best part? It’s not harmful to you or the earth like chemicals that are found in stores.

  • Save your jars and reuse for new things! I have saved my jars for storage for vegetables I harvest, cotton ball containers, qtip containers, making salsa and giving it to friends and family…
  • Switching to a vegan diet. It can be hard at first but looking up recipes and finding alternatives to foods I had already been consuming( such as eggs and cheese) is helpful.
    • *Agricultural emissions could be reduced by as much as 70% by adopting a vegan diet 
  • For my birthday, my husband gifted me a masterclass pass for a year and I learned about gardening through Ron Finley. He showed ways that you can propagate your left overs like onions, carrots, garlic, and potatoes. If you don’t compost it, you can replant it to make more food!
  • Bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, I rarely use plastic bags anymore for anything. I’m pretty adamant about bringing enough reusable bags wherever I go the store, the library, work, picnics, playdates, and my garden. 
  • This is one of my masterpieces in my home. I grabbed all the succulents in the home and placed them in this old candle holder to make a classy plant terrarium.

Making new friends!

This month, we took the time to get to know Mercedes Scherrer from Hampton, VA. Like us, Mercedes is on a sustainability journey. She took the time to tell us about her lifestyle changes and her passion in helping the earth. Mercedes took her passion to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies.

Mercedes mentioned that starting off in a sustainable journey does not have to be expensive. There seems to be a misconception of buying organic or throwing out everything you have that is harming the earth. So we asked what the best way to start a sustainable journey was, “Going Zero Waste by Katheryn Kellogg is a great resource for someone starting out.”, she said. “(Kellogg) mentioned that throwing away all the things that aren’t sustainable and making a switch to more sustainable products, is NOT sustainable.”

We won’t sugar coat it, the sustainable journey can be difficult if you’re used to buying certain products. It can be challenging to break old habits that have been part of your lifestyle for years.
So we asked if there was something that seemed to be difficult during her journey. 

“The hardest change would be trying to find items in stores with minimal to no-plastic.”, she explained. “Mostly everything comes in a plastic container or in a plastic bag inside of cardboard boxes. I’m still working on that one.”

So far Mercedes has helped family members make more sustainable changes in their everyday life by simply suggesting new swaps that aren’t big changes. One of the simple things she suggested to swap that we absolutely LOVE is gift giving- regifting unused items or making potpourri with dried oranges! We will definitely be making this swap for upcoming special events!

Some more swap tips from Mercedes:

  • Reuse the glass jars your food/candles comes in
  • Use stasher bags or paper baggies
  • Bar soap over bottled soap
  • Lotion bars over bottled lotion

Follow her on instagram to get some more tips! @mersopolis

Shops that help the earth!

We love shopping as much as you do! But we have decided to be better in our buying habits as we purchase from shops that are sustainable with their products.

Pact

Pact is probably one of my new favorite stores to shop for myself, my husband and my girls. I’ve been looking for clothes that can still preserve their innocence, are fun to wear and easy for them to put on. Their clothes have cute prints and the best part- they are so soft because they’re made with organic cotton!

Sidenote: My oldest daughter has eczema so this part had me sold. She complains about clothes making her itch and I’ve noticed it’s with clothes that are not made with cotton. 

They use organic cotton, which is awesome because that means they are being conscious in the production of their clothes as they conserve water. They also don’t use toxic chemicals in their production, so there’s no pollution being done!

Apart from the eco-friendly production, Pact partners with Fair Trade factories. Which means their workers are not being exploited and they are provided safe working conditions.

Fun fact: They have maternity clothes available! If you’re anything like me- comfortable clothes with a belly is a must!

Colored Organics

Here’s another great find during my sustainable journey. My youngest daughter has been growing so fast, I feel like I’m constantly swapping out clothes. Luckily, I came across Colored Organics and I instantly fell in love with their style for babies! One of my favorites from their store is probably the Kimono Body Wrap. It’s cute, practical and easy to get her out of her shirt after a messy meal.

I felt a connection to the owner of the Colored Organics because -well, she’s a mom! She gets the struggle! Amanda started the company to make a difference in the clothing industry. She has been able to use organic cotton in her production as well as ensure factories are ethically ran and there is no child labor…ever. 

They have made it part of their mission to give back with every purchase. In October, they partnered with Newborns in Need, an organization that provides care necessities to agencies and hospitals serving babies in the NICU. CO donated over 100 bodysuits for newborns in need. 

Shop Plant Seeds

Mama has to treat herself right?

I have been keeping my eye on a few pieces of jewelry but I have also been conscious about the products I use and what shops I buy from. Does the shop provide anything for the environment?

Fortunately, I came across Shop Plant Seeds! The jewelry in the shop is so authentic and beautiful as it comes from different countries around the world! 

We also got to know Padgy Soltis, the founder of the shop. We like to call her a super woman with the many hats that she wears- Marine, Mom, Author, Entrepreneur. 

We originally sat down with her to talk about her new children’s book Volvere De Nuevo/ I Will Come Back but we found out that her jewelry business also helps the environment! 

Every item sold will plant seven trees!

Padgy’s online jewelry shop has started has provided jobs for artisans around the world, which helps break the marginalized global poverty in the fashion industry. 

Check out our chat on youtube! 

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to our Youtube channel and stay up to date on some fun chats in the future!

Cheers to that!

There are multiple ways to live a sustainable life. We may not get to all of them on our journey but implementing a few swaps in our daily life contributes to our children’s future and lifestyle.

If you have more helpful tips on swapping or want to share your journey, comment down below!

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