The time has come for the first swaps of 2019! If you don't already know, each month I'll be swapping out five products to make them more eco friendly, non toxic and zero waste. Welcome to the Eco Simple Challenge. You can learn more about my goals by checking out my first blog post here.
This month I started with products from all over the house, choosing a couple simple fixes and a challenge or two. Part of being eco friendly is choosing options you can buy in person, rather than online, which helps reduce your carbon footprint. That little detail made things a bit challenging, but I tried my best! I know that's not easy for everyone, so I've included where you can buy each product in person, as well as links to purchase online. Keep reading below to learn about my swaps.
We'd been using Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent for years. Then, we got lazy and chose the convenient option: Trader Joe's "Next to Godliness" dishwasher detergent. Sure, it came in a box, which cuts down on waste, but the Environmental Working Group rated it a "D." Ouch. It was full of hormone disruptors, chemicals that cause skin irritation and ingredients that contribute to asthma. I didn't just walk, I RAN back to Seventh Generation.
Seventh Generation dishwasher detergent comes in three different forms: pods, liquid and powder. The powder option has an "A" rating from EWG and it's far less wasteful than the pods and liquid. Now, not every Seventh Generation product is rated so highly, so it always pays to use the EWG Healthy Living app to double check if the product you've chosen is rated well.
I feel good knowing what's cleaning my dishes is not full of toxins, is safer for the water system and the packaging can be recycled. Seventh Generation is also much cheaper than other eco-imposters like Mrs. Meyers or Method.
You can find Seventh Generation powdered dish detergent at most grocery stores, or you can buy it here.
We're lucky enough to have a dishwasher, but I still rinse dishes before putting them in and really scrub when we've had sticky dinners. Sponges are so wasteful and can be germ traps. I'd been using the Scotch Brite natural sponges, but I didn't really feel I was doing anything less wasteful.
When choosing a dish brush, I wanted to make sure I was using something that was responsibly made, with little waste and recycled materials. There are many amazing wood, bamboo and natural bristle brushes out there, but most can only be found online and I didn't want to increase my carbon footprint just to order a sustainable dish brush. Enter the Fullcircle brand dish brush. It's made from bamboo and recycled plastic, so I felt pretty good about it. Plus, I could pick it up at Target, rather than ordering online. It was only packaged with a small, recycled paper tag, so very little package waste as well!
You can pick up a Fullcircle dish brush at Target, or order it here.
We don't use a ton of plastic wrap, but we did have it around and I hated that. To be honest, there aren't a lot of reasons to use it, so this swap was pretty simple and a slam dunk. Last year for Christmas, my mother-in-law got us a pack of Bee's Wrap, which we love, but didn't have enough of.
These wraps are perfect for wrapping cheeses or sandwiches. I even use them to cover bowls that are going into the fridge for a couple of hours rather than swapping to a tupperware.
I know I kind of crapped on Trader Joe's with the dishwasher detergent, but they were awesome enough to have packs of minimally packaged wax wraps in their stores! Again, you can't except great things from every brand, but sometimes they really pull through! I've already used these several times and am converted already.
You can pick these up at Trader Joe's or order Bee's Wrap online here.
Once again, convenience comes into play. Paper napkins, in my opinion, were one of the most wasteful choices I was making. I tried to soothe my guilt by buying napkins made from recycled paper and tree pulp, but to be honest, that wasn't going to solve anything. I was still using way too many napkins and Tess goes through napkins like crazy, because she's 3.
I was going to save this swap for a couple of months down the line, but once again, Target pulled through big time. There, shining like a beacon in the night in the dollar section, were the cutest cloth napkins. Whoever would have wanted this pattern is probably pretty pissed, because I bought all the packages they had. Like I said, my daughter goes through napkins like crazy, so three packages seemed like the right amount.
I'm already sure these will get a little dingy, but that's what DIY stain remover is for, right? And I'll feel a lot better knowing I'm not tossing more paper into the trash.
You can pick these up NOW in the Target dollar section, or order a similar print online here.
I just finished up my tube of mascara, way past the three-month recommended expiration date, and I knew it was time to start makeup case eco swaps. When I really stop to think about all the crazy things that are in mascara, the stuff that I put so close to my eyes and inevitably flakes into them, I shudder.
I had been using Soap & Glory's Thick & Fast mascara, purely because it was a gift, therefore convenient. When I checked it on the EWG app, it wasn't rated too terribly, a 4, but it wasn't great. This product contained parabens, which most people know are big no-no's. And get this: it also had an ingredient rated highly to irritate your eyes. Ummm, OK? Glad I was putting that so close to my eyes.
Swapping was made pretty easy using the EWG app, which shows products that are EWG verified. I decided to go with Mineral Fusion's lengthening mascara in graphite. There are literally zero harmful ingredients in this mascara. Big win! I also chose this because I knew I could pick it up at Whole Foods, again, lowering my carbon footprint. Even better, this mascara doesn't come in any unnecessary additional packaging, meaning no ridiculous cardboard container. As for cost, it's relatively inexpensive, especially compared to many brands you find at Sephora.
You can pick Mineral Fusion mascara at Whole Foods, or order online here.
I'm already so pumped about where this journey is going to take us over the next year!
Follow along on Instagram from more behind the scenes of the Eco Simple Challenge, including how these products are working for me. You can also share your own swaps by tagging @thesownseed and using the hashtag #ecosimplechallenge.
Let me know some of your January swaps or ask some questions below in the comments!
See you at the end of the month for the five items I'm donating and the new organization I've chosen to donate to.