The start of a new year is the best time to revisit the basics and remind ourselves which foundational habits are important to maintain. Our daily commitment to impactful actions is what creates real change over the course of months and years. So, let's talk about sustainability essentials!
This one is obvious to us but you’d be surprised how many paper and plastic bags are still being distributed daily. Urban Market Bags make it easy to remember your reusable bags whenever you leave the house with a smart, compact solution. We’ve also stocked up on bags for the produce aisle and love Five Two cotton reusable produce bags because they come in a solid and mesh weave for all sorts of goods.
One for water and one for coffee...and maybe one for wine! These three sizes should get you through an entire year without the need for plastic bottles and coffee lids. Covid has made reusables a bit more tricky but we do the best we can to cut back and support our favorite local shops. If you can’t go reusable, look for sustainably minded businesses to support. For some favorite reusable bottle options, try Hydroflask, Yeti, and Purist.
Reusable Kitchen Items
This is the year we stop using plastic wrap, there are so many great alternatives. Bee’s Wrap is a hit and comes in all sizes for bread, cookies or the last bite of cheese. Most importantly it will cover any dish that needs protection in the fridge and is washable, reusable and compostable. We are also loving our food huggers which fit over different veggies or containers and are also dishwasher safe. Our paper towel usage has decreased over time but we are committed to finding more reusable options like cloth napkins appropriately named unpaper towels or these flannel notpaper towels that are sure to handle any kitchen spill.
Bulk Food Shopping
Bulk food shopping requires a system. First you need to find a store that supports bulk shopping, then you need to have the right containers for transportation and storage. Once the system is in place you don’t have to think about it anymore and it becomes second nature. The key thing to take into consideration is weight. Most bulk stores will let you deduct the weight of a container but some may not. Do the research to find what’s available in your area. Even if you don’t have bulk shopping options in your neighborhood you can make smart decisions at the store. Opt for less packaging, eco-friendly packaging, larger quantities, avoid single-use plastics and shop fresh and local whenever you can.
Sustainable Household & Personal Care Products
The global shift toward sustainability means there are more options in every household category. Most emerging brands are focused on refilllables like Blueland for the home and byHumankind for personal care. Dropps fulfills all your laundry and kitchen needs and if you want to shop a full range of sustainable home products, Earth Hero is a certified B Corp with strict standards; only support brands that are moving us forward in eco-friendly consumption.
Buy Local & Compost
Shop for goods that are grown close to home. Not only will this provide the best nutritional content when it comes to your produce, it also supports your local growers to ensure they can continue to farm. In addition, freshly picked or harvested, ripe fruits and vegetables will outperform their distant, out-of-season siblings any day. Many times, you can find heirloom or local varieties at farmer’s markets that are not typically sold in stores. Consider signing up for a CSA box from local farms if it’s available in your area. Compost is another great habit to start this year. To avoid any smell in the kitchen, we simply toss our food waste in a freezer bin until we’re ready to toss it in the weekly collection bin. This can also be helpful if you’ve achieved a composting bin on your property so you don’t have to make as many trips.
Need more resources? Here are some shops and sites to inspire you to take another step towards sustainability in 2021.
And our favorite zero waste instagrammer is @zerowastehome for some major 2021 goals.