It's on the internet. People have seen my big lifestyle challenge for the New Year, now I actually have to do it! Eco Simple Challenge. Let's do this.
If you're new here, I've set a lofty challenge for myself in 2019. Each month, I'll swap out five products or habits to be more eco friendly, nontoxic and zero waste. I'll try to choose products that are easily accessible and affordable. Then at the end of each month, I'll up-cycle, repurpose or donate five times, choosing a new donation location each month. It's going to be major.
As I was brainstorming ideas for the eco side of my challenge, it seemed like it might be a lot harder than I thought. In that moment I thought, "But I'm already making so many eco friendly choices!" I knew I was kidding myself. Both as someone who prides myself as environmentally conscious and as a certified Eco Parenting Educator, I knew I was turning a blind eye to a lot. Sure, many of my product choices may appear eco friendly, but I knew they weren't that nontoxic and certainly weren't very zero waste.
So, I swallowed my pride and did some serious reflecting. I'm really going to strip down my current choices and make the right decisions. Not only will I tell you why I've chosen certain products each month, I'll also take myself to task and describe why my previous choices were pretty terrible.
Let's start by digging through my cabinets and examining some top products I'm using that will definitely be getting an overhaul in 2019!
Mrs. Meyer's Products
I'm sure many of you are looking at this and going, "But Mrs. Meyer's is so green and natural." Nah, they're fooling you. According to the Environmental Working Group's Healthy Living app, few of this brand's products actually get an "A" rating. What does that mean? Well, that you're using a product that has known carcinogens, hormone disruptors and allergens. Not. Great.
What's really embarrassing is that I knew this, yet I still chose those products. Why? It was convenient for me. I ignored that fact that "fragrance" was listed in each product because I also saw "made with essential oils." For eco newbies, "fragrance" is a dangerous ingredient in your products! In the US, brands don't have to list the multitude of ingredients that go into their fragrances, so even if your product is free of a bunch of other terrible ingredients, they still may be hidden in the fragrance.
This year I'll be looking for products that get an "A" rating from the EWG. Not only that, I'll be trying to go as package-free as possible!
Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap
We've been on the Dr. Bronner's train for a long time. The product itself is super clean and nontoxic, but just take a look at that big bottle. So much plastic waste.
Again, I'd been choosing the large bottle out of convenience. I'll be looking to minimize my waste with Dr. Bronner's products over the course of a couple swaps, so stay tuned! It's not as simple as ditching the bottle.
Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent
Much like the Dr. Bronner's, the Seventh Generation detergent is an amazing, nontoxic product, but it's the waste that bothers me. These bottles are absolutely huge. When Tess was still wearing diapers, we were going through jugs of this on a monthly basis keeping up with her cloth diapers.
Now that we're diaper free, I'd like to look for a more concentrated, waste-free solution to ring in 2019.
Not everything we're doing is a complete dumpster fire, which feels pretty good!
Reusable K Cups
When Tess was first born and I was drinking an unhealthy amount of coffee, I used the biodegradable K Cups. I still didn't feel great about it, so I finished up my wasteful one-use cups and switched over to the refillable K Cup. Not only am I not throwing things into the garbage, I'm also able to use my coffee grounds for compost. Also, this is a lot cheaper than buying a Sam's Club box of K Cups.
Could this still be better? Absolutely! I may add a bonus swap into 2019, moving from the plastic bonanza of the Keurig, to a french press or slow drip system. We shall see!
Get a reusable K Cup here.
We don't buy still water in bottles, it's just never something we've done. Now, we really need to be better about filtering out water and not losing water bottles, but nobody is perfect. We love the S'well water bottles because they keep things super cold or nice and warm. I use them for both my water and coffee.
The same thing cannot be said about my sparking water addiction. Don't worry, we'll get to that this year.
Get a S'well water bottle here.
Dr. Bronner's Toothpaste
With zero surfactants (what makes something foamy) and no added sweeteners, Dr. Bronner's is the best. We've found our niche with the cinnamon flavor and love it dearly, plus it's incredibly effective. I do know we could switch over to toothpaste tablets, but they don't fall in line with my desire to be affordable, plus, try getting a toddler to use those, not going to happen. I will try a DIY version this year as a test, but I want to feel confident I'm not whispering coffee and morning breath into a pregnant client's face.
Get Dr. Bronner's toothpaste here.
Plastic Produce Bags
I'm going on at least 10 years of not using these bad boys. To be honest, I don't even see the point. I wash every item of produce I purchase, so sticking them in the cart or a mesh bag feels just fine to me. Somehow, I still get looks from people that think it's super weird I'm not using those pointless bags, but whatevs.
I can't wait to have this adventure with you and hope you use it as a little inspiration to make some improvements in your life as well! It's going to be hard, sometimes humbling, but super fun.
You can also follow along on Instagram from more behind the scenes of the Eco Simple Challenge. You can also share your own swaps by tagging @thesownseed and using the hashtag #ecosimplechallenge.
Let me know some of your planned swaps or ask some questions below in the comments!
See you in 2019 with the first list of swaps!