Back when I was kid growing up in recycle-happy, smoothie-loving Palo Alto, California–Earth Day was a big deal. This was the holiday where we got to plant a tree at school, take a nature hike, adopt an acre of rainforest or race rafts that we made from recycled plastic bottles. Now as an adult Earth Day bares less significance, instead I try my best to maintain the values of conscious living year round. It’s a lifestyle; emphasis on both life and style. NOT a passing fad.
Besides the obvious: recycling, conserving water and carpooling–there are a ton of small changes that can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint. Even if that footprint looks less like a Birkenstock and more like a super cool chunky heel.
Check out 10 specific ways that I try to respect Mama Nature without sacrificing style. I’ll always be a “hippie in heels” after all… even if I do love my white Birkenstocks.
Use bar soap
8 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year. Wow. Bar soap not only looks cute on your sink or in your shower, it also saves between 3 and 12 bottles of product per bar! That’s a lot of waste (and money!) saved. Ethique is a New Zealand based brand I recently discovered, that takes bar products to the next level (think shampoo, lotions, even self-tanner!) Color me interested.
Don’t toss your lipstick! There are loads of ways to recycle your makeup some that even earn you brand new products (like MAC’s Back-To-Mac campaign)! For exceptionally cute lip gloss pots, I’ve even cleaned them out for use as a pillbox or travel sized container for other products.
Use cloth napkins and hand towels
Not only are they better for the environment, they’re way prettier at your dinner table. Toss cloth napkins in the washer over and over and they’re good as new. When cleaning house, I favor sponges over paper towels and almost always use kitchen hand towels. Again, so much cuter and more convenient than paper too!
Save (and use!) food scraps
I don’t compost in my current house but I DO collect and freeze my veggie scraps in a plastic Ziplock. When the bag fills up, I boil the contents along with beef bones (purchased from Whole Foods) or chicken bones (saved from a roast chicken) to make homemade bone broth. The veggies add great flavor and more nutrients to the stock, which is one of the healthiest things you should be eating on the regular.
Ditch the bottled water
Need I state that statistic again? 8 million tons. Not to mention, plastic bottles are full of scary toxins that can cause health risks (even if they’re BPA-free). I drink from filtered water at home, and use reusable aluminum bottles on the go. When I need my bubble fix, I buy sparkling water in glass bottles like Pellegrino or Mountain Valley. Then I reuse the bottle to store extra bone broth (see #_____) in the fridge or freezer!
Shop sustainable brands
Duh, sustainable style is what Natty Style is founded on! I have dozens of brands I love for this reason, I recently found Proud Mary, Jess Kamm and Bembien and I’m unabashedly addicted to The Reformation (their semi-annual sale is where closets are made). But it takes constant awareness to try and shop sustainably. Here are some tips for knowing which brands are doing good things when you’re shopping around.
When you want to go a step further than shopping sustainably, why not try re-working something you already own? Or taking a vintage piece and giving it new life with some personalized alterations? My wanderlust-inspired craft hobby turned clothing brand, Vagablonde, will soon to be for sale here!
Seek sustainable materials
Cotton may seem all sweet and innocent, but what that snuggly bear won’t tell you is that it’s one of the most wasteful crops on the planet. It takes 20,000 liters of water to produce just one pair of jeans! Shopping sustainable fabrics like bamboo and hemp can help. Although they may sound scratchy, they’re often even softer and more durable than cotton. Case in point, these sheets by Ettitude that make me feel like I’m sleeping in a weightless silk cloud. Obsessed.
Always be prepared to shop
Not only are canvas tote bags helpful in reducing waste, but they’re SO much easier for hauling groceries home! Yes your grocery store sells them and you can find cute ones on Etsy, but I’ll bet you’ve gotten one (or dozens) along the way at clothing stores, weddings or other events. I usually carry a small tote wadded up in my purse just in case I buy something along the way. That goes for anything–not just groceries!
Use Lift-Line and Uber-Pool
Anyone who knows me knows that walking is my preferred method of transpo. I’ve been known to walk 45 minutes rather than hopping on a subway if I have the time. When a car is necessary, I try to combine trips with friends or if I'm not in a rush, I'll use the ride-share options on Lyft and Uber. Better for the environment AND cheaper? Win-win! Not to mention you never know who you’ll meet. I’ve had great conversations and even made useful work contacts while stuck in traffic with strangers!