This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Tetra Pak for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Did you guys know that April is Earth Month?! In honor of this important time of year Tetra Pak is reminding us to protect what’s good. From our family and friends, to our own health and wellness, to good old Mother Earth!
Now, I know most of you are busy working women in cities… so the thought of actively doing things to protect the environmentsounds nice, but it’s also really intimidating! When you’re trying to juggle it all, who has time to add MORE to the to-do list?! I hear you. But this is exactly why I was excited to write this post. Yes, these are technically eco-friendly habits for Earth Month, but I promise that they’re also easy enough to sustain long after April! And once you start incorporating them into your routine, they’ll feel like second nature in no time.
I had a few ideas of my own for this list, but I wanted to go straight to an expert, too. Luckily, Ashlee Piper agreed to contribute a few tips – and they are GOOD! For those of you who don’t know Ashlee, she’s an eco-lifestyle journalist, TV personality and author. She’s a regular contributor to Refinery29, Women’s Health, ABC, Glamour, and more. She also happens to be a Chicago gal!! And if all of that isn’t cool enough, she’s also releasing her first book in June! Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet.is a fun guide all about simple swaps to make any life more sustainable. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon, and I literally cannot WAIT to read it. Clearly, she was a good person to ask, right?! So let’s get to it.
…products, that is! According to the United Nations and institutions like the University of Oxford, animal agriculture is the most prominent polluter of our planet, being responsible for anywhere from 14.5% to a staggering 51% of greenhouse gas emissions (not to mention worker exploitation, animal suffering (duh on that one), and a host of other issues). Lessening your reliance on animal products, especially meat, is one of the simplest things you can do for your health and the health of the planet. And here’s something to feel really good about: Eating planty for just one day, it’s estimated one can save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30-square-feet of deforested land, 20 pounds of CO2, and one animal’s life. Not ready to go whole hog the veg way? Even tapered meat consumption can cut emissions by 29%. High five!
Action Item: Check out some of the great veg options in your town. Apps like Happy Cow make it easy to find delish food while navigating lessening your meaty ways. Then gaze deeply into your dog’s eyes and say, “I’m doing better every day, friend.”
Lauren’s Thoughts: As you guys already know, I’ve been limiting my meat intake for years, so I’m ALL about this tip! I think the biggest thing people forget is that they don’t have to go completely vegetarian or vegan in order to make a difference. Plus, if you’re anything like me, your bod will thank you for cutting back on animal products, too!
2. No excuse for single use.
The average American creates 4.1 pounds of trash per day (that’s like shlepping almost 30 extra pounds around each week!) and 167 disposable water bottles alone each year. The most common reason we well-intentioned folks contribute to this trashy epidemic is because we don’t have our reusables handy. So, I recommend creating a portable, reusable arsenal for your purse so you’re always prepared when you need to say “nah” to the wasteful straws, disposable cups, bottles, and cutlery, and store packaging.
Action Item:Build a reusable arsenal today. And then build another and gift it to someone. Even before you build your own arsenal, think of ways you can cut down on the disposables you use (could you enjoy your coffee in the shop? have the cashier at the bakery just put the cookie in your hand? tell the gal at Sephora not to wrap your purchase in tissue?). The options for improvement are endless (and easy)!
Lauren’s Thoughts: I always use a reusable bag when I go to the grocery store. My water bottle comes everywhere with me. And I usually make/drink coffee at home each morning instead of throwing a to-go cup away every day. These are all good things… but as I read this, I realized that I can definitely be a little more thoughtful about everything else I throw away on the regular.
3. Secondhand first.
Shopping is truly fun, but fast fashion, second only to animal agriculture, is literally thrashing the planet (not to mention the attendant worker and animal exploitation that happens when we miraculously buy a $12 pair of jeans). Americans discard 14 BILLION pounds of textiles per year, 85 percent of which end up in landfills. And that’s just clothing. The US Department of Interior estimates that Americans throw away 300 MILLION pairs of shoes each year – and those bad boys never biodegrade. So, go easy on the planet whilst still looking baller by shopping with the ethos of secondhand first. With so many stylish and plentiful secondhand options it’s guaranteed that: 1) you’ll never wear the same thing as your frenemy and 2) you won’t look like a sister wife.
Action Item:Research and hit up your local consignment, secondhand, and thrift stores (Chicagoans, PM me on IG for my favs!), hold a clothing swap, and/or check out online outlets like Poshmark and ThredUp, whether you’re in the market for something new or trying to offload your castoffs.
Lauren’s Thoughts: This one is obviously a little tough for me because you guys want to see new clothes on me pretty often! That being said, if you’ve messaged me about something I’m wearing on insta-stories, I often say “I’m sorry,it’s old!” And that’s really because I believe in investing in clothes that have staying power in your closet. I rewear things that I bought years ago every single week – that’s just real life! At the same time, I’m definitely no saint. I shop a decent amount and I get gifted a lot of clothes. I try to pay attention to eco-friendly brands (Reformation and Amour Vert!) and instead of simply throwing old clothes away when I’m done with them, I always donate or sell what I don’t want anymore. I actually just packed up a few bags of clothes to sell on Poshmark, so stay tuned for details on that soon!
And since I promised 6 tips…
…here are 3 more from me! You’ll be able to tell that I’m not nearly as much of an expert as Ashlee is (how great are those action items?!), but they’re still helpful tips! Let’s dive in…
4. Unplug outlets you aren’t using.
I know you’ve heard this before, and I know it seems tedious… but honestly, it takes such little effort. Seriously, do it for one week and it will all of a sudden become second nature. Done with your curling iron? Don’t just turn it off, unplug it! Steamer? Blow dryer? Computer? You get the picture.
5. Look for sustainable packaging.
Yes, I could tell you to avoid all packaged items, especially individually packaged items. But I get it! When you’re busy, having these items ready to throw in your bag is really really helpful. Luckily, there are super cool companies like Tetra Pak creating sustainable packaging. That’s right, convenient and focused on food safetyand sustainability! Their cartons are made of renewable materials that have been sustainably sourced to help reduce climate impact and protect our natural resources. Oh, and after they’ve been recycled, cartons can be turned into tissues, paper products and green building materials. How cool is that?
6. Don’t buy too much at the grocery store.
My Mom always taught me not to waste food, so it makes me cringe whenever I hear statistics about the amount of food waste in America. Especially because it can so easily be avoided! The next time you go grocery shopping, grab your reusable bag (?) and make a list based on what you need and recipes you actually have time to make over the next few days. And you know yourself better than anyone else- if there’s a chance you won’t cook it, don’t buy it yet! You can always swing by the grocery store (or have Insta-Cart deliver) more food later in the week. Right?!
Will you try out any of these Eco-Friendly Habits for Earth Month?
And do you think you can keep any of them up even after April ends?! Let’s chat about it!
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