We all know the easy eco-friendly swaps (bring a tote bag to the store, bring a reusable water bottle instead of using plastic, choose sustainable transportation options) and practice those as often as we can. But this Earth Month we wanted to challenge ourselves to make sustainable changes that we hadn't yet incorporated into our lives. From sustainable beauty & wellness, to eco-friendly home & pet swaps, to financial planning & shopping sustainably, here are 16 eco-friendly swaps you can make today:
1. Meal prep to avoid food waste & reduce emissions.
Planning your meals weekly is a great way to start changing the way your diet impacts the environment, since food waste contributes to 11% of all the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system. One great resource is EarthDay.org's "Foodprints for the Future" campaign page, where you can measure your current impact, try eco-conscious recipes and find more information about plant-based diets.
2. Swap your tea bag for loose-leaf tea.
If you love teatime, an easy eco-friendly swap you can make today is to use loose leaf tea instead of tea bags. Less waste, and a cute reusable tea infuser? Making sustainable changes has never been so easy!
3. Shop with sustainable companies.
Are the businesses you shop with making sustainable, ethical choices? From apps to browser extensions, there are lots of easy ways you can research eco-conscious retailers, brands and products. Or, make the change to retailers that are openly committed to eco-friendly initiatives, like our friends at Grove Collaborative.
PS: You can learn more about Enviroscent's sustainable practices & clean ingredients here.
4. Explore a new park in your area.
How often do we get the chance to experience the beauty of our own home town? Instead of going to the usual walking trail or hiking path, make it a point to visit a park you've never been to before & really savor the sights.
5. Add a new sustainable self-care habit.
For your next self-care session, try choosing an eco-friendly activity. This could be anything from DIYing some rags out of an old t-shirt, tending to your garden or houseplants, or finding a concert from your favorite band on YouTube.
6. Learn about your local composting options.
Interested in composting, but don't have enough space in your home, or just don't want to deal with that compost smell (no judgement from us)? Look into compost pick-up or drop-off services in your area. Litterless has a list of composting services in all 50 states, and national composting organizations like CompostNow handle everything from picking up waste to delivering the completed product to you or an organization of your choosing. Another option is to contact your local garden center, community garden or environmental non-profit to ask if they will accept scraps for their own composting.
7. Switch pet food from beef-based to chicken or fish.
As is the case with human food, beef contributes to higher greenhouse gas emissions and land use than poultry or chicken. Swapping your pet's food to a chicken or fish-based meal will lessen the impact caring for your pet has on the environment. Just be sure to consult your vet first and slowly transition from the old food to the new to avoid upsetting your pet's tummy and to help monitor their reactions to the meal.
8. Host a zero-waste Zoom dinner party.
Perfect for Earth Day on April 22, plan & host a dinner party over Zoom with some of your favorite people. This is a great way to give zero-waste cooking a try, honor the Earth and have lots of fun doing it! First, decide on some party ground rules like no single-use kitchenware, avoid plastic food packaging, or even a restriction dinner dishes to vegetarian or vegan options. Then, create (or collaborate on) a list of zero-waste dinner recipes and have each party-goer pick a dish. Start up your Zoom room & enjoy! Be sure to share notes on the dishes, and any tips for keeping up the zero-waste dinner habits!
9. Find one way to reduce your travel-footprint.
Traveling is such a beautiful way to enjoy & explore nature, but it has a pretty big impact on our planet; the tourism industry contributes up to 8% of all global greenhouse emissions. Luckily, there are lots of easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint while traveling! Make a plan to do at least one of the following on your next trip:
- Pack light to reduce fuel usage during transportation.
- Fly sustainably by choosing a carbon-efficient airline, a direct flight and/or a seat in coach (economy) class instead of business.
- Live the life of a local through public transportation (when safe to do so).
- Use the "Do Not Disturb" sign in hotel rooms to decline housekeeping & minimize energy and resource usage.
- Purchase "carbon offsets" to make your travel more carbon neutral.
10. Add eco-affirmations to your daily routine.
If you're already in the habit of practicing mindfulness & positive thinking, adding an eco-friendly affirmation or two can help you set your mind to "sustainable." Here are a couple to get you started:
- I have the courage to live sustainably.
- My actions reflect my eco-conscious mindset.
- My sustainable habits leave a positive impact on the planet.
11. Request food delivery apps "opt-out" of plastic utensils.
While many food delivery apps have settings to automatically opt-out of plastic utensils in orders, including Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates, not all make it so easy to avoid extra plastic. If your favorite delivery app doesn't offer a utensil opt-out, put "Do not include napkins or utensils" in the "Special Instructions" section. You can also go the extra mile & send a note to your delivery person to ask they double check when picking up your order (don't forget to tip!).
12. Swap your air freshener for a non-toxic, eco-friendly alternative.
This one is close to our hearts (as you might expect). Most traditional air fresheners you find at the store are full of unhealthy ingredients and wasteful, plastic packaging. Make it a point this Earth Month to swap to Enviroscent's safer, sustainable air fresheners and start scenting your spaces with products you can be confident in.
13. Adopt an air-filtering houseplant.
Houseplants have so many benefits, from reducing stress to boosting productivity. But did you know some can actually remove toxins like carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and even ammonia from the air in your home? Just be sure to choose plants that are safe for pets & kids to interact with.
14. Choose a bank or credit card with eco-initiatives.
If you are in the market for a new bank or credit card, look for an organization with a green mission, or check out established banks’ environmental records. Consider affinity credit card programs, where a percentage of the transaction is donated to the organization. Not looking for a new financial provider? Give your bank a call & ask them to improve their eco-initiatives, make sure you are signed up for paperless statements, and consider donating accumulated rewards points to charities, if given the option.
15. Replace one plastic personal care item with an eco-friendly version.
It can be overwhelming to convert your entire personal & beauty routine to eco-friendly or even zero-waste alternatives. So take a look around your space today and identify one product you are running low on to research for a sustainable, clean swap you can make. Even one small change can make a large impact!
16. Choose ethically sourced wellness items.
Wellness items like crystals, smudging sticks & essential oils are fun to use, but are often sourced as a result of not-so-great practices. Crystals are not as regulated as diamonds, so instances of illegal mining & harsh labor conditions are not unheard of, while plants used for smudging, like white sage and Palo Santo, are on the verge of extinction from over-harvesting.
Essential oils can also have a huge impact on the environment: for instance, 10,000 pounds of rose petals makes only 1 pound of rose essential oil. Plus, some states will not recycle essential oil bottles as glass that previously contained flammable or hazardous materials could harm recycling plant workers. At Enviroscent, we make it a point to only use ethically sourced essential oils in our products for this very reason.
One good rule of thumb for finding your wellness products? If it's cheap, it may be unethically made, so be sure to do your research on the companies you are buying from. And make sure to choose companies who share their ingredients & are conscious of the safety of people & the planet.