This blog post is a special collaboration with iHerb in honor of Earth Day
Happy Earth Day!
While Earth Day is a great time to do something kind for Mother Earth, to truly make an impact and do our part to protect the planet we need to make green living part of our daily lives. Because our seemingly small actions everyday have a very big impact! Especially day in and day out, and when you multiply them by the billions of other people we share this planet with.
And guess what? Going green is really darn simple! Nope, it doesn’t require you to go off the grid. It can be as simple as using reusable bags and making smarter shopping choices by buying eco-friendly products.
10 Ways to Be More Eco-Friendly this Earth Day & Beyond
1. Just say “no” to plastic bags!
Plastic pollution is a growing problem. With around 160,000 plastic bags used around the world every second, it’s easy to understand why! So just say “no” to plastic bags and use reusable shopping bags and produce bags instead.
And reusable bags aren’t just for the grocery store — be sure to bring yours to the mall, home improvement store, or wherever else your shopping list may take you!
2. Create a paperless kitchen.
Instead of paper napkins, invest in a set of sturdy cloth napkins. And instead of paper towels, choose fabric dishtowels and microfiber cleaning cloths instead. Tip: dark and patterned towels are less likely to show stains.
3. Switch to green cleaning products
Most conventional cleaning products are filled with unhealthy chemicals that not only pollute our homes, but the environment as well — when they go down the drain or toilet, they make their way to the nearby waterways where they can cause algae blooms and poison aquatic life.
4. Switch to green personal care products
Like cleaning products, most personal care products contain unhealthy chemicals that impact our personal health as well as the health of the planet. These chemicals make their way into the environment mostly way by way of the sink and tub, either where we use them (as with soap) or are washing them off (as with body lotion).
5. Look for products with minimal or recycled packaging.
Pretty much everything we buy nowadays comes packaged in some way. And unfortunately, packaging is most often made of plastic. So whenever possible, opt for products with minimal packaging or recycled packaging (that is, it’s made out of recycled plastic).
6. Use glass food storage containers instead of cling wrap or aluminum foil.
Besides reducing waste, glass food storage containers also keep leftovers fresher for longer and minimize exposure to unhealthy plasticizers.
7. Turn the hot water heater down to 120ºF.
Not only does this simple change reduce the risk of scalding and mineral build-up in pipes, it also cuts decreases the energy used to heat water by up to 22% annually.
8. Switch to compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs.
Fluorescent light bulbs use 25% of the electricity and last 10 times as long as incandescent light bulbs. According to the Sierra Club, if every American household switched just 5 light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent, the energy savings would be equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road! And though a little more expensive, LED bulbs use 75% less energy and last 2-5 times longer than fluorescent lighting! Though an upfront investment, these bulbs pay for themselves multiple times over during their lifetime.
9. Go paperless with all of your bills.
Not only will you have less mail cluttering your kitchen counters, but you’ll be helping to save quite a bit of paper too!
10. Opt for a water filter and reusable water bottle instead of bottled water.
Fresh, clean water is a healthy must-have. But all of those plastic bottles? Not very healthy for the planet. So instead, invest in a water filter and reusable (I suggest glass or stainless steel) water bottle. The upfront costs will pay for themselves in no time.
There are so many great products to help you go green.
As I mentioned earlier, simply choosing more eco-friendly products can help you reduce your environmental footprint. These include green cleaning products (tip #3), green personal care products (tip #4), and products with minimal or recycled packaging (tip #5).
One of my new favorite stores for friendly products is iHerb. Not only do they have a huge selection of products (over 35,000!) they also have seriously amazing prices – most of the products are much cheaper than you find at your local grocery or health food store. And they make it super easily find eco-friendly products with filters like “biodegradable” and “eco-friendly packaging”.
iHerb is also a company with a conscience, which you know matters a lot to me. They have several different eco-friendly initiatives: iHerb uses 100% post-consumer recycled paper for 90% of its shipping boxes. Their bubble wrap is 40% recyclable, and they recycle virtually all packing materials received from manufacturers.
iHerb’s also a Google Trusted store (which means you get free protection on your order), ships to 160 countries, and offers customer service in 10 different languages.
Using the filters, I picked up some fantastic eco-friendly products.
Green cleaning products
- Planet Inc. Ultra Dishwashing Liquid — great at cutting grease and gentle on hands! Plus no unhealthy chemicals.
- Ecover Zero Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Powder and Dishwasher Tablets — seriously just the best. A lot of other natural automatic dishwasher options leave white spots or don’t cut through caked-on food, but these leave dishes sparkling clean.
Green personal care products
- Clean Well, All-Natural Antibacterial Foaming Handsoap in Orange Vanilla and Ginger Bergamot — keep hands germ-free naturally
- J.R. Liggett’s Old Fashion Shampoo Bar in Coconut & Argan Oil and Tea Tree & Hemp Oil — these shampoo bars have just a few simple ingredients and leave hair super shiny and clean
- Kiss My Face Green Tea & Lime Whenever Conditioner and Shampoo — great everyday haircare options without the unhealthy chemicals
- Out of Africa Pure Shea Butter Bar Soap in Lavender and Unscented — I love these! They leave skin so soft and smooth.
Products with minimal packaging
- J.R. Liggett’s Old Fashion Shampoo Bar in Coconut & Argan Oil and Tea Tree & Hemp Oil — no plastic shampoo bottle with these shampoo bars, which come in a paper wrapping
- Out of Africa Pure Shea Butter Bar Soap in Lavender and Unscented — these soaps come in a simple cardboard box
- Just a Leaf Organic Tea Hibiscus Lemon and Rooibos Superior Loose Leaf Tea — soooo delicious! Loose tea really cuts down on waste since most typical bagged tea has the bag (obviously!), the string, the little staple, the little paper tag at the end of the string, the paper or plastic sleeve each individual bag is placed in, the box, and the plastic wrapping around the box! Seems like an excessive amount of packaging, doesn’t it?
- iHerb Stainless Steel Tea Infuser — a must-have for loose tea! Plus sturdy stainless steel should last for years and years.
- Organyc Organic Cotton Wool Buds — not only do these come in a paper box, but they’re also made with organic cotton and have a paper stick rather than plastic. These are a perfect example of a simple eco-friendly swap.
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On top of iHerb’s already great prices, get an extra $5 off your first order of $30 or more when you shop through this link!